When Arcade Fire's Neon Bible first came out, there was a lot of talk about the band's similarities to Springsteen & the E Street Band. I just couldn't hear it. Normally, I'm sort of good at that kind of thing, so every reference to this supposed sound overlap left me perplexed.
I'm sorry, I just couldn't hear it! So sue me!!
This whole Arcade Fire/Bruce Springsteen thing isn't really what I want to talk about. I want to talk about passion. It's an emotion that's not always evident in the music world anymore. With music taking a smaller slice of the entertainment pie (competing against television, movies, gaming, cell phones, and instant/text messaging) it sometimes feels like music just doesn't matter to people. Intellectually, I know this isn't completely true. It's just a vibe that I get.
I think about this when I'm attending a show and some bit of music overwhelms me, so much so that I can't contain my emotions and tears flow out of my eyes. It's a state that's so difficult to describe, probably because it's different for everybody. For me, it comes at a moment when everybody in the room, both performer(s) and audience, seem like they're celebrating the music. Yes, it's still a fairly generic description for something so complex.
Ah, but I have an answer: Arcade Fire! OK, not exactly. It's some Arcade Fire fans. I don't know their names but they were lucky enough to attend the Springsteen & the E Street Band show in Ottowa, Ontario a few days ago. In the middle of the encores, Bruce tour-premiered "State Trooper" in grand style: by bringing out Win and Régine from Arcade Fire. After that stunner, they launched into "Keep The Car Running".
There are some better quality videos on the net (at BruceSpringsteen.net, for example), but I've included two YouTube selections below for one very simple reason: listen to these fans react first as they introduce the surprise guests, and then as they begin "Keep The Car Running". Listen to those shuddering "Oh my god"'s. That is passion, and that's exactly how I feel when those emotions rule over me.
By the way, I can hear it now!!