ah, the Super Bowl®. I watched but had other things going so did not pay full attention. it was a good game. certes, that interception at the end of the half was one of those ecstatic, improbable moments that are so beguiling. I do not know why the Steelers were allowed to add 15 blockers on the run back of the interception, nor why the Cards thought waving at Hamilton would help, but so it goes. I write, tho, because of Bruce Springsteen. I have made several failed attempts to record my impressions of Springsteen’s ridiculous performance, but the results have been unsatisfying. why did his performance bother me so?
I am not a fan of Springsteen’s music, but I am not against it either. not to my taste, but I recognize its appeal. I fumed a little at work about what I experienced of his performance, and someone said that he liked hearing those old songs again. och, I do not mean this to be about my musical taste.
the ‘show’ began with Bruce and Clarence posed in profile together. then the lights came up and, inscrutably, Bruce tossed the guitar he was holding to someone. that was disturbing. it appears that the guitar was only a prop. tossing the guitar seemed like a ceremonial detachment. curious, with an unpleasant vibration. Bruce then takes a mike and announces that the greatest rock band in the world will now take over for the next 12 minutes. and suddenly it is Wayne Newton onstage exerting himself to get a rise out of the audience. he smirks, dashes about the stage, exhorts. is irony evident? it does not matter. whether the desperation is joking or serious, it still smells. I forget which song he does 1st, but he goes thru a gamut of shticks. he drops to his knees à la James Brown. he kneels, arching his back dramatically, I guess à la Bruce Springsteen. he runs over to Clarence to mug à la every 80s hair band. oh yeah, sliding across the stage towards the camera, ugh.
the 12 minute high that Bruce offered was full of his tiresome shouty vocals, fake sincerity, over production, and sad lack of promise. it was all a straightforward attempt to move units of his latest release. yes, the agents of dystopia in charge of the show established that Bruce pretend that the claque was the world. just like last year with Tom Petty, and years before, no doubt, the formatted audience waved lit cigarette lighters, just like in the real world. silly.
despite the fakery, Tom Petty’s performance last year came across as sincere. Bruce was awkwardly content to swim the bullshit. and at a time of jitters, one would think this person who has been willing to speak would have said something to the nervous world at large. an acknowledgement that times are tough now, a note of hope about the new administration, something/anything related to the country and world now<. no, it is about those units that need to be moved.
2 of the songs, and they are both legitimately familiar ones, are songs of the frozen past: “Glory Days” and “Born to Run”. so much of Bruce's energy just bubbled in this mire of weary documentation. the anachronism is obvious. his performance was canny bullshit. once again, poetry is dead.