It seemed like the most improbable New York thing, this 3pm announcement as I come out of a meeting that U2 are performing — with Bruce Springsteen! — in Times Square a few hours from now. I text friends. I make up setlists on Twitter. I go through an executive presentation until 5:40, at which point I say, “Can we wrap this up? Bruce and U2 are playing in Times Square, I need to get a move on.”
For my second Replacements show in a week, tonight we are in Queens, the borough that gave us the Ramones and Johnny Thunders and countless others (as we were reminded by Craig Finn, in another kick-ass set from the Hold Steady that was even better than Minneapolis). We are also standing on an old tennis court, former home of the US Open, that also once upon a time hosted concerts by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and the Beatles.
Back in the early 80s, I was lost in the back alleys of Amsterdam on a dark, foggy night. I opened the door to a bar, just to find my bearings and take a break. The interior was dark and smoky and I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea or not. Then, the jukebox kicked into “Vicious” and I relaxed, knowing without a doubt that this place would be just fine.
Variations on this scene have been repeated in Germany and Boston, Tel Aviv and Atlanta, and of course, right here in New York fuckin’ City. Lou Reed on the jukebox says, we are different here. Lou Reed on the jukebox says, different is okay here. Lou Reed on the jukebox says ‘home’.
Bleecker Bob’s closed today, and like the end of CBGB’s, I find myself lamenting the end of a place I hadn’t been to in years. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need or want the Village to be turned into more of an NYU-blanded mall than it already is, and I genuinely miss the days that I could wander the streets and find odd mom and pop shops who carried interesting things.
But I always had a conflicted relationship with Bleecker Bob’s.
I am generally not a fan of festivals, mega-concerts, or gimmicky guest appearances. I try to stay away from these things. However, the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief was a confluence of too many artists I cared about for me to avoid it, and we were lucky with tickets.
Based on questions I have answered over the years, I decided to put together this list of important Springsteen-related sites in New York City. You could do this in a couple of hours. You also don’t have to do all of them. These are the top highlights I can think of as well as things I have been asked about over the years.
This is obnoxious and obscene and don’t let your kids listen to it. Or if you’re a kid listening to it, just don’t tell your parents.
This was their first single. I heard it on WNYU, which is where I first heard of the Beastie Boys. I may or may not have seen them play as a hardcore band, back in the 80s I once tried to figure it out but never could. I do know that I took my life into my hands going out to the Capitol Theater in Passaic to see them, back when they had the go-go dancers in the cages, and scalped tickets in front of the Garden when they opened for Madonna on the Like A Virgin tour. (Really, I wanted to see Madonna, but the Beasties just made it more interesting.)
Messrs Patell and Waterman kindly invited me to contribute my own NYC-themed playlist to to their blog, in honor of the publication of their 33 1/3 tomes on Some Girls and Marquee Moon (highly recommended!).
(Also of note, their appearance at my local bookstore, Word, later this month!)
Jesse Malin with guests Tommy Stinson and Billie Joe Armstrong covering Johnny Thunders, 2/19/11
Jesse Malin performed two shows at City Winery last night which featured his first album, The Fine Art of Self-Destruction, played in its entirety. Tommy Stinson opened. (I will get to that in a bit.) It’s a great record, so getting up and playing it start to finish with a great band (imo Jesse’s best band ever) has to result in an amazing show. The performances were strong, every single one of them. I do wish that he had set the record up with one key story, and then just played the thing from beginning to end with no stops. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled by the performance, but I wish there had been less chat and more music on this one night.