Springsteen & I – a gentle, wonderfully different Rock Movie

The movie trailer:


Way back, even before Adam played fullback for the Arabs, I was in Melbourne and had just bought a new album. It blew me away, pure magic, fabulous rock and roll, a hell of a band and a singer / songwriter with a rock anthem voice and gutsy blue collar lyrics.

The year was 1975, the album was ‘Born to Run’, the band was the E Street Band and the singer was Bruce Springsteen. I loved it, still do. I remember writing to my mate Gordon, who was off travelling through Asia, especially to tell him he had to listen to this guy Springsteen and his music. Later, there was the dark, brooding Steinbeck-like album ‘Nebraska’, an absolute masterpiece. Springsteen tells stories of working class people, songs of hope and loss, that can make you weep, or dance for joy. One always gets me yelling along is ‘Glory Days,’ a song which has become more relevant as I’ve grown older. As a lyricist, for me he ranks alongside Cohen and Dylan and I was saddened when he didn’t make it to Perth recently, he’s the one act I desperately want to see – like Cohen, he gives everything in three to three and a half hour concerts to his audience. And in a sad note, I will now never get to see the fabulous Clarence Clemens play his wild, wonderful sax with the band, I guess it’s some recompense that his nephew has replaced him after his passing.

Anyhow, on a whim, I thought I’d pop out to the cinema on a wet winters Wednesday and watch the movie / documentary ‘Springsteen & I,’ as it’s been getting great reviews.

It’s very different and won’t suit everybody – my son Gordon walked out after half an hour, as he loves Springsteen, but thought it was going to be a concert, which it isn’t … for most of the movie.

It’s made up of Youtube ‘Selfies,’ short amateur videos people have made of themselves, talking about their love of Springsteen and his music and how it’s affected their lives. Admittedly disconcerting at first, I must admit for a while I thought it wasn’t for me either, but gradually I began to be drawn into the stories, featuring people from all over the world (none from Oz or NZ as far as I could tell). It became utterly fascinating and sometimes, so poignant tears would well in my eyes. I won’t describe the vignettes, rather if it interests you, I’d like you to experience it for yourself.

The format continues to break any rules, in that half way through, the credits role, but it’s not the finish. The screen goes briefly black then we roll in to last years concert at Hyde Park in London for 35 minutes of great concert work – that is going to be a helluva live concert DVD when it’s released! And after that there’s an Epilogue which yet again tugs at the heart strings.

For any fan of popular music, this film is a must-see, it shouldn’t work, but it does, probably for the reality that so many of us have grown up with musical heroes and music which identifies us and we identify with. Go with an open mind and heart, the emotional reward is both unexpected and soothing.

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