a bruce geek talks about e street radio

E Street Radio seemed, at first, to be the geekiest Bruce thing in a pantheon of geeky Bruce things. Who could possibly listen to THAT MUCH Springsteen, ever?

But then they started playing live shows.
RARE live shows. Shows that even a Bruce geek with probably 150+ shows in her house might not have. And even if she had, she might not be wanting to drag out the box with the cd’s.

And then we found out: Bruce was listening to E Street Radio.

I know, it seems like an urban legend, but he really was. He was listening to E Street Radio as he drove around the Shore one Christmas, and thought it was the greatest thing ever. He started making requests, via channels, for various shows he heard on E Street Radio. Shows he had forgotten that he had ever played. Songs that he had forgotten about performing.

E Street Radio took on a whole new significance to a lot of people.

But still, in this house we already have too much music (I could start listening now to every live show I have and I would probably not get to them all before I died). And Sirius Radio, despite the temptations of Bob Dylan and the Underground Garage… was something we worried we would pay for and never listen to, combined with the fact that we wanted XM for the baseball.

This past weekend, we went to Houston and Dallas, driving from Houston to Dallas and back again on a baseball trip. 3-4 hours each way. The middle of nowhere, Texas.

We made sure our rental car had satellite radio.

For the first half an hour, it was cool. I liked that they played stuff from Magic. I liked that the shows were this odd mix of things like Tampa from 2000 and San Diego from the last Magic run. We came out of downtown Dallas, hit 10 SAT, and were greeted with that wonderful live version of “Mountain of Love”. Listening to “Wild Billy,” studio version even, at 8 in the morning driving through the Texas countryside and singing along together was beautiful.

But the fifth time hearing “Incident” (whether live or studio) it started to wear a little thin. And “Badlands” repeatedly (I stopped counting) also got tired. The kicker had to be when I woke up out of a sound sleep to turn the dial away from a live version of “American Land” (still. hate. it.).

I don’t think there’s enough variation. I mean, maybe if they were constantly tracking Tracks and stuff like Total Darkness. And maybe, just maybe, we’re not the audience. Because both of us are geeky enough that we already have that version of “Mountain of Love” and adore it so much it resides almost permanently on our respective iPods. Maybe it’s aimed at the geek that didn’t get to collect a gazillion cd’s and just wants to listen to a little Boss while taking the kids to school in the morning and to break up the monotony of a daily commute. Most people probably aren’t going to listen to it for a few hours straight (or try to). For all its vaunted rarity-playing, I didn’t think it went that deep or got that interesting. The fidelity on a lot of the interesting stuff is probably not good enough, to be fair, but in an eight hour span, I should not have heard the repeats I did hear.

So maybe we’re not that geeky after all.

(Or maybe I just proved the point that we are.)