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Springsteen & The Seeger Sessions Band to Begin Tour in Europe

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The first dates of Bruce Springsteen’s tour to promote his new album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions will be in Europe, according to Pollstar. Bruce Springsteen & The Seeger Sessions Band as they are billed by Pollstar have scheduled 10 dates in May beginning in Ireland and ending in Sweden.

05/05/06 Dublin, IRE
05/07/06 Manchester, UK
05/08/06 London, UK
05/10/06 Paris, FRA
05/12/06 Milan, ITA
05/13/06 Barcelona, SPA
05/16/06 Amsterdam, NET
05/17/06 Frankfurt, GER
05/20/06 Oslo, NOR
05/21/06 Stockholm, SWE

We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions is set for release on April 25. The album is a collection of covers Springsteen has done of folk artist Pete Seeger (not to be confused with Bob Seger) music. Glen Boyd suggest not everyone in SpringsteenNation is thrilled with the idea of a folk-covers album.

I tend to agree with those in SpringsteenNation who are a tad grumpy about this album. I have yet to hear a single song from it so my criticisms or concerns are about the album as an idea, not the actual album itself. I am a Springsteen fan. He has been right more often than he has been wrong. He gets the benefit of the doubt. He will get my money. I just think this is not an album I am going to enjoy as much as his past work. It may turn out to be fantastic. I will know later this month. It’s just not the record I had hoped he was going to make.

Bruce Springsteen’s greatest strength as an artist is as a songwriter. The E-Street Band is great and Bruce is a better guitarist than he is given credit for but the reason I care is because of the songs. He has written some of the best songs in rock music history. There are a lot of fine singers out there in need of quality material. They should do Seeger albums. Springsteen can supply his own material. Springsteen should provide his own material.

As for this Seeger Sessions Band … it does not roll off the tongue quite as well as The E-Street Band. In the end, that is what most of Springsteen’s fans were likely hoping for with this new album. They wanted Bruce and the E-Street Band to make a new record and tour it. Of course, most of them would then want him to play nothing from the new album instead choosing to do 57-minute versions of “Racing in the Street.”

It is the challenge most veteran artists with loyal fan bases face. Artists get scourged if they stray too far from what made them popular and get hammered if they stay the same. It is a no-win proposition. I believe I am willing to give him more latitude than some of his fans but in the end I want what I want. Just like everyone else.

This is something from an e-mail a friend sent to me. It was posted on the respected Springsteen fan site GreasyLake.

Dear Mr. Springsteen

As you prepare to embark on your next tour I would
like to share with you some feedback from your real
fans here at Greasy Lake.

Please make this a full E Street Band tour, however
keep in mind Clarence is too old, Patti sings like a
cat in heat, it is not necessary to have Steven and
Nils on the same stage, and Soozie is not a real
member of the band.

Do not just perform a greatest hits show, but all the
new songs that we haven’t even heard yet are pure
crap.

Please do not perform in small venues, amphitheatres,
arenas or stadiums

Please have something to say, as long as you just shut
up and play.

While Nebraska is a great album, Bruce acoustic sucks

Interact with the crowd, just don’t tell us stories or
tell jokes

While we don’t mind paying for the privilege of seeing
you perform live, please play enough bad songs for an
adequate number of pee breaks.

For most of us, we love your voice, your passion, your
lyrics. We are lifelong fans, but can you please try
to be a little bit more like Phil Collins.

Make the shows just like 1978

Please have a fresh and innovative show, just don’t do
anything different.

Long Time Comming and The Hitter are beautifully
written songs but no one wants recycled songs. Please
play This Hard Land instead

Make the shows just like 1983

People would love to see you perform in a small
intimate setting, just don’t sit on a stool and strum
a guitar

I am sure as we get closer to April we will have many
more ideas for the tour, what the heck stick around
here long enough and you may just decide to forget the
whole thing, and save your fans the inconvenience of a
tour altogether.

Exactly.

I still want what I want even if I should just shut up.

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About Josh Hathaway

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Lisa McKay

    I’ll tell you why you should look forward to this, DJ. You should look forward to this because it’s Bruce going back to his musical roots. His musical foundations are built on the storytelling tradition of folk music, and I just think this is him coming full circle. I’m very interested in hearing how he’s going to make this source material his own, which I’m sure he’s going to do. Reason number two why you should look forward to this – Bruce without the E Street Band is still an absolutely amazing performer – last summer’s Devils & Dust tour was a glimpse at how powerful a performer he is, even when there’s no one else on stage with him.

    That quote from GreasyLake is absolutely spot on, too. You’re right when you say it’s a no-win proposition – personally, I’d rather see an artist do what they need to do artistically than pander to their fan base just to sell records or tickets.

    I am looking forward to US tour dates.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    Lisa, I am so glad (and not surprised) you weighed in on this. I would actually be more excited about the tour if Bruce was touring solo rather than with a ‘new’ band. He was great by himself on Storytellers and his shows with the E-Street Band are legendary.

    I am going to buy the album and am prepared to be pleasantly surprised. You are right about the roots aspect of it. I would love to have heard a new folk-based album of originals or even a re-working of his own material in this new method (similar to what he does when he tours solo acoustic). This could still be really good even if he has not been seeking my counsel.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    my prediction….the dj gets to see one of these shows…the dj is converted.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    Converted to what, Saleski? A Springsteen fan? That’s already been done. I am a believer.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    converted to believe that he can ‘work the magic’ in any context.

    i saw two shows with him and the post-E St band and despite the fact that it was very different, it was still pretty great.

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Lisa McKay

    I would submit that Bruce on a bad day or in a weird band configuration is still better than most other performers any day of the week.

    It’s gonna be a good album. Hmm, I sense a three-person review coming on…

  • Vern Halen

    I’ll buy it too, but what I really want is for Bruce to clean out the vaults & release all those great studio versions of WHATEVER he’s still got in there – studio versions of Fire & Because the Night, a stripped down Man At the Top he used to play live, and any covers he’s messed with.

  • http://www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    Speaking as a LONG-time fan of Seeger … when I heard of this project, I thought ‘cool, Bruce will drag all the jocks towards the left with this,’ but I also feared the ol’ Bruce overblast would nuke this material to smithereens. Looking at the “John Henry” clip, it’s obvious the overblast is a real problem. Also, a very conservative set list that conveys little of Seeger’s songwriting craft (even when copping melodies). Too bad.

    Is Sean Penn ever gonna do that Phil Ochs movie?

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Hey Mr. DJ,

    So you know I’ve gotta weigh in on this one.

    As you already noted in your piece, I’m less than thrilled about The Seeger Sessions.

    The main reason for this is a point you actually make very well.

    Springsteen himself has set the bar very high primarily as a songwriter. To a slightly lesser, but no less significant degree to many of us fans, he has made his reputation as a live performer…which is where his gifts as a master storyteller really come alive.

    I agree with Lisa’s observations about the Devils and Dust tour. Those we’re wonderful shows that revealed a whole other side of Bruce.

    But what really made them special was how night after night the setlists would change, and Bruce would reach deep into his considerable catalog and reinvent his work.

    For the crowds fortunate enough to witness some of those shows, they we’re often rewarded with the rediscovery of obscure and long forgotten gems like “The Promise” or “Janey Dont You Lose Heart” (I heard both last August on one night in Vancouver).

    Again, that’s HIS WORK I’m talking about.

    Not someone else’s…even if it is a folk icon like Seeger.

    While I also concur with Lisa that, at least in some ways, Bruce’s muse leading him back towards the folk side of his roots represents a full circle of sorts…I’d also suggest that Springsteen’s original roots in folk come more by way of Seeger and Woody Guthrie coming through Bob Dylan than by way of the original artists directly.

    I don’t claim to speak for all Bruce Springsteen fans. Some may find this new album a wonderful diversion.

    But based on what I’ve heard so far (snippets of every track by the way), I can tell you I’m not exactly salivating for this the same way I would for an album of new, original material.

    I’ve seen Bruce some 31 time since 1975…sometimes travelling as far as Orlando and New Jersey to do so. This may prove only that I’m in desperate need of a life.

    But like many who share my, umm…”devotion”, I first came to the party with “Born To Run”.

    Bruce set the bar very high with that record. Watch the documentary DVD from the 30th Anniversary Box if you have any doubt of this. Bruce takes his guys through take after take after take of even the smallest parts to get it right.

    It was a process, and a labor of love, that nearly killed the guys in the band…but it resulted in what is surely one of the greatest records ever made.

    It hasn’t always been easy to be a fan in the thirty years since. When Bruce fired the E Street band and hooked up with a bunch of non-descript studio musicians for two simultaneously released albums and a tour, that was a tough one for a lot of us.

    Someone here made the point that those shows we’re still better than most other performers could produce. True enough.

    But there was also a forced and unnatural quality about them. There just wasn’t that same chemistry and camraderie with Shayne Fontaine and Randy Jackson playing the roles of Bruce’s onstage foils.

    Like I said, Springsteen set the bar very high from day one. Which means that the expectations of his biggest fans are also set pretty far up there.

    But those fans (guys like me) have always been there. And for the most part at least, we have enjoyed every bit of the the ride.

    Artists of Bruce’s stature are always going to have a sort of love/hate relationship with their biggest fans. Because of the high standard set by records like Born To Run, as fans we likewise have very high expectations (which some artists, including Springsteen I’m sure, may come to see more as “demands”).

    Fair enough.

    The truth is nobody begrudges Springsteen his need to follow his muse. At least not when that muse produces such revealing, personal, and amazing work as Nebraska, Tunnel of Love, and Devils and Dust.

    As a fan, I understand and I even expect that from the truly great artists.

    Which is why I stayed with Elvis Costello when he did his record with The Brodsky Quartet and with Neil Young through vanity projects like Trans and The Shocking Pinks.

    But that is exactly what an album of covers by Pete Seeger feels like to me. It feels like a vanity project. When the standard…set by Springsteen himself…is Born To Run on one end of the artsistic spectrum, and Nebraska on the other…well, let’s just say that it’s doubtful that this particular record is going to remembered in the same way as either.

    In an ideal world, as a fan, what I’d most like right now is another album and tour with the E Street Band while the window for that remains open…and the clock on that is ticking rapidly.

    What I would settle for at this point is a new album of original material in whatever style Springsteen sees fit to record.

    As I’ve said, I’ve heard most of the new record in the snippets available out there on the web. There’s lots of fiddles, violins, and a “docey-doe” sort of folk swing vibe to it.

    If Springsteen feels, as an artist, he needs to sing “Froggy Came A Courting” and the like right now…well, then God bless him. I guess anyway.

    But as you more or less put it DJ, that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    For my mind, it’s a vanity project and it will be remembered as a vanity project.

    I’m still hopeful for one more E Street Band album and tour. But given the often methodical way Springsteen records…not to mention things like Clarence’s health issues and the rumors of Max Weinberg taking a gig as the Tonight Show’s next bandleader…I’m not as optimistic as I’d like to be.

    I don’t begrudge Springsteen for following his muse with The Seeger Sessions.

    I just think the timing could have been better.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Oh and Lisa…

    Let’s make that a “four person review” okay?

    Strictly in the interest of “balance” of course.

    -Glen

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    One last thing and I promise that I’ll shut up.

    I’ve reprinted my comments on your article, along with a link to the article itself on my blog:

    Check it out at:

    http;//theglenblog.blogspot.com

    -Glen

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Lisa McKay

    Glen, you say much here that I agree with, particularly the part about Seeger’s influence on Springsteen coming indirectly via Dylan – that’s a view I’ve long held too, but I don’t expect to see Springsteen recording an album of Dylan covers anytime soon, for obvious reasons.

    I agree that the Seeger Sessions probably won’t be evaluated in the same way as BTR or Nebraska – as far as I’m concerned, there’s very little in Bruce’s body of work that does stand shoulder to shoulder with either of those albums. That doesn’t negate the artistry of all his other work, it just means that like most very gifted artists, his albums are often a mixture of things that work brilliantly, and things that fall short of that mark.

    The challenge for a singer in using someone else’s material is of course to somehow make it one’s own; I’m sure that Springsteen has managed to infuse this work with whatever it is he brings to the table that only he can bring — and I’ve heard none of it yet, so maybe the real deal will prove me wrong. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    Glen, you might have said what I intended to say better than I said it. I agree with you almost uniformly other than I seem to be the only man in America who has yet to have the opportunity to see Bruce live in any setting.

    I think some sort of roundtable on this new album is absolutely in order.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    And Brother Saleski, I believe magic could be on this disc. I am just not sure it will be the magic. Afterall, Opie Taylor does a mean rendition of “Old Dan Tucker.”

  • http://thrashersblog.com thrasher

    The GreasyLake open letter kind of sums up the situation for many artist besides Bruce and his fans. Probably could have switchedartists names like bob Dylan, Neil Young and others and found a simialr effect.
    I’ll reserve comment on the Seeger Sessions until I hear it. But it’s interesting to see the revival of some folk heros like Woodie Guthrie by Billy Bragg, Jeff Tweedy & Jay Farrar/SonVolt. Maybe Bruce’s cover will spark a similar reappraisal?

  • Bad Scooter UK

    Ok, I’m a bad, bad, bad man as I downloaded the track, unable to wait until the end of the month. Don’t worry Bruce, you’ll get my money when it’s released. Anyway I just wanted to say how excellent this album is, the faster songs are a rip roaring riotoud cacophony of sound. Heck I’m English and certainly did not grow up with the tradition of US folk music, but these covers are excellent. I can’t wait for May as I already have my tickets for his true spritual home – Hammersmith Odeon. Thanks Bruce; and Tramps you will love this album.

  • david girling

    Just listened to the new album on “Sneak Peeks”. Been a lifelong Boss fan since Nebraska and am wondering if he has taken leave of his senses!. Have paid £250 on e-bay for a good seat in May at Manchester and may put it back up for auction. Only hope i sell it before anyone hears the music to be put on, ot the value will be about 75p. New album reminds me of the stars of Coronation Street a few years back with the line dancing thing. Get back to the basics Bruce, you write the best songs, so get writing and singing your songs.

  • Vince

    Well we’ve all heard it now, it is a fantastic joyous party the gigs will be superb I’m going to Dublin & Manchester and will definately be watching the New Orleans Show on the Internet.
    Springsteen the american icon is shining a light on the past and highlighting the relevance of the work in todays landscapes, Bruce is loved in Europe because of his humanity and support of the underdog, in complete contrast to the Bush administration Bruce gives us hope that America will come to its senses, nobody wins …………

  • vince

    …………Unless everybody wins!

    Having read most of the above, obviously this isn’t going to suit all tastes this record, but being a fan you are naturally curious about the ‘artist’ and his next outing. I honestly believe Bruce is in the strongest position he has ever been in. If we cast our minds back to the early 90’s Bruce was full of doubt in his own ability recording Human Touch & Lucky Town because of his indecision then shelving another record in the mid 90’s, he could never have done this record then, this is a sign that Bruce is ultra confident right now, he has the songs written for the new band record, which will be next years tour, I think this is a great move highlighting some great music and keeping Bruce in the spotlight, it would have been easy for him to take a year off, but he knows the clock is ticking and fortunately he seems to be enjoying every second, good on you Bruce.

  • Macca

    Well said Scooter and Vince. Way too much negativity until you 2 Guys spoke up. Only a Dr Who tardis will get people back to ’78 and ’83. And “be more like Phil Collins”??? – well go and watch Phil Collins then!!! Bruce is Bruce and I’m glad about that. ’78 and ’83 may have been great shows but I believe that the Rising Tour was absolutely excellent too – I was at Manchester and did anyone see the Barcelona DVD? – fantastic and was obvious that all the fans thought so too – including the new stuff and the Band where really enjoying themselves…and man can Bruce slide….!
    Bruce has said that he believes the band is playing better than ever at the moment and I agree. Also I believe vocally Bruce is better than ever recently too.
    I have heard the new album on Amazon and think it is brilliant. I tried to get tickets for Manchester but the 17000 tickets where sold out in well under an hour. So plenty of interest here. In fact I heard that the European concerts have sold out at an unprecedented speed. I too am UK so maybe it is a taste or culture thing?
    The phrase “taking leave of your senses” in Mr Girlings context is somewhat subjective and I could argue that he has taken leave of his senses paying over 5 times the face value for a ticket that was billed as a seeger sessions gig of old American folk music which he seemingly doesn’t like!!
    I’ll Give you 50 quid for it Dave?!
    If Bruce feels the need to express himself this way musically for his 21st album then that is his perogative. I think its Excellent

    Well Done Bruce

  • val

    The album is great. Fun. Bruce fans should relax and let the man do what he feels he has to. Seldom does he dissapoint, plus he’s said he has a lot of new stuff in him yet. If this reinvigorates him, then let us reap the benefits. The songs are great, keep it up Bruce.

  • http://spaces.msn.com/thebluesstudio/ TheOriginalNSR

    As I have said before,elsewhere, just when you wonder what can the Boss do next, Aw heck He Does It!!!, not so much a ‘folk album’ as a celebration of ‘music for the people, by the people’ (with apologies to Ben Franklin et al ;-)), an excellent album, taking the Boss back to his blue collar and jazz oriented music of the early E Street Band days before Jon Landau, Max,Roy and Nils.