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for the non-believers

Posted on 18 August 2003 by Caryn Rose (0)

You’ll want to read the Chicago Sun-Times review of last week’s Springsteen show. (And no, this is not an opening for a DeRogatis bitching session, since he didn’t write it.)

It’s an example of an exceptionally great review of a rock show in a daily paper, by someone who’s not a columnist (see above). It’s clear that the writer is most likely a fan, or maybe was a fan; he “gets” Bruce, but also has the critical distance necessary for a general audience piece.


The writer frankly addresses – several times, in fact – why people don’t like Springsteen, and frankly, I think he nails it. He admits what we’ve all known for years: Bruce is an idiot – but he’s our idiot. The secret is whether or not you want to let yourself go and throw yourself into the moment that he creates that night.

But the best has to be the ending, and I can’t believe he got away with it in this context:

“If a man delivers a message of hope in an industry that increasingly sells hopelessness and despair by the bucketful, is that a bad thing? In a world of Marilyn Mansons, what’s wrong with someone who declares defiantly that ‘I believe in the love that you gave me/I believe in the faith that could save me/I believe in the hope and I pray that someday it may raise me above these badlands’?

And, finally, this: Is it just posturing and contrivance if the singer and the band actually believe in what they’re saying and doing?

You tell me.

Is a dream a lie if it does come true? Or is it something better?”

For what it’s worth, in my review of the Montreal Springsteen show, I wondered much of the same thing about that very lyric. Hooey or not, it’s one of the things that’s kept me going – and surprisingly, still keeps me going – since I was 14 years old.

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