Thoughts On Bruce Springsteen on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
I had written off being able to attend this taping, until I got a text at 2:50 telling me to be at 30 Rock by 3:30. I got shin splints on the way over because I was walking so fast. I am so glad I was there, because if I’d watched it on tv later I would have kicked myself for not trying to get in. You’ve seen it on TV already (or can go watch it online) so I won’t reprise the entire evening. So, just a few thoughts:
- I hated “Whip Your Hair”. He started playing it and at first I hated that we were going to waste 15 minutes to a Jimmy Fallon comedy bit. When Bruce walked out, at first I was hoping it wasn’t him but rather someone else dressed as him but within a second I realized it was him and I couldn’t believe it. I hated it. I hated everything about it. I hated that that disposable piece of garbage was elevated as though it added something to the culture. I hated that they spent all that time that could have been another song, more discussion, or PLAYING THE ENTIRE “BECAUSE THE NIGHT” INSTEAD OF CUTTING IT SHORT. I am sure Bruce was just being a good sport but it just felt like pandering to the lowest common denominator and he does not need to do that. It’s going to go viral and people who have never cared about Bruce Springsteen will be talking about it like it’s the greatest thing ever, when it has absolutely nothing at all to do with anything he’s done in his entire career. Hell, the Dancing In The Dark outtake video has more artistic merit than this did. I get that he didn’t do Fallon for people like me; he did Fallon to reach a different demographic. But reach them by playing the shit out of your material with the Roots, or allowing them to use your material for an episode of “Glee” – not by talking down to your audience.
- I was thrilled that the “OMG BRUCE GAVE JIMMY THE ESQUIRE TO USE ON THE EMMYS” rumor was officially debunked.
- I thought the interview was fantastic. I am sure Jimmy was nervous, but he managed to contrain his fanboy tendencies long enough to get a great interview out of Bruce – not the most willing interview subject – and keep him on track, which is more than even Jon Stewart was able to do. I don’t care if it was all the work of a research staff, Jimmy still had to ask the questions and keep the interview moving.
- THE ROOTS. I have been so, so excited to see them with Bruce since this was announced. I loved Bruce saying that “Wiggle Wobble” was a song that the Roots could play the heck out of, and then them turning around, finding it on the internet, and learning it in two minutes. (No joke. Questlove tweeted, “the panic of less than two minutes of cramming that “wiggle wobble” song w/o rehearsing was worth it to see the look on their face.”) The song performances were UNBELIEVABLE in the studio – one of the few times that I have seen rock and roll in a tv show taping that actually resembled the performance I saw on TV later. I personally would kill or die to see them do some shows with Bruce. Please read this amazing Tweet from Questlove after the show.
- Did you see the State of NJ on the front of Questlove’s kick drum?
- The revelation that “Fire” was, indeed, written for Elvis, FINALLY.
- BRUCE AND STEVE TOGETHER TALKING. Why hasn’t this been done before? That three minutes alone dwarfs the entire two hours on Sirius Monday night. “I wanted to call it a bunch of lost arguments.” Dear lord, this should have been ten times longer.
- There were no edits or retakes, except the last intro before “Save My Love,” Jimmy cracked up and had to redo it. There were no additional songs, except for Bruce jamming with the Roots on the music in the breaks and in the outro, which you never saw because they ran way over.
- And finally, when Bruce mentioned “It’s All For The Love Of Rock And Roll” and one person clapped – well, that was me. I yelled “CBGB’s” at him because it was the best way I could say something that would be understood given the circumstances. Honestly, I had no idea that song was that obscure and did not know I would be the only one clapping – Handsome Dick Manitoba was in the house too – it was like Tourette’s. I couldn’t help myself. Needless to say I was floored. It is a great fucking song and he SHOULD cover it. This is also where I will point out that in 2005, I presented a paper at the first Springsteen symposium entitled “Action In The Streets: Bruce Springsteen and Punk Rock”. (Frankly, I think there’s a more than a little revisionist history in the fanbase these days, because this was never a popular line of thinking before – but suddenly everyone is okay with punk rock and Bruce acknowledging his punk influences. Better late than never I guess.)
- GO ON TOUR WITH THE ROOTS. DO A CHRISTMAS SHOW WITH THE ROOTS. DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING WITH THE ROOTS. That is all.
- If all of this wasn’t enough, I was by myself and somehow got seated in the front row on the stage right side Still reeling.