Thanks to the efforts of the hardest working people in show business, the international paparazzi (don’t they ever get a break?), we know that Bruce and Patti are taking some well deserved R&R on the beaches of sunny Italy. And we’re sure many longtime tramps from their native country will see the Springsteens’ choice of vacation spot as further proof that they’re THIS CLOSE to becoming full-fledged expatriates, gradually moving their base of operations to Europe, never to grace the swamps of Jersey again.
Sure, that sounds fairly extreme, but it is true that Springsteen played his last U.S. date on Dec. 6 of last year, and hasn’t had a show in the Greater Jersey Area (unless you count Hartford, Conn.) since Sept. 22. Instead, he’s spent 2013 putting on some of the longest, most surprising and well-reviewed shows of his career around Australia and Europe — the closest he’ll get to his old stomping grounds will be when he wraps up the Wrecking Ball tour next month in South America. Not exactly East Rutherford.
Not that any of us (well, most of us) begrudge the loyal Springsteen fans around the world their chance to see the E Street Band firing on all cylinders. But the fact that one of Springsteen’s longest and greatest tours never made a return stop on U.S. shores has clearly rankled some fans who recall the 10-show Madison Square Garden stand that ended the Reunion Tour, or the three dates at Shea Stadium to wrap up the Rising Tour in 2003 (not to mention the seven Giants Stadium dates that welcomed the band back from Europe a few months prior).
We’ve written here about the supposed differences between U.S. and European audiences, and how it makes sense that Springsteen might prefer the more engaged crowds that tend to greet him overseas. (No beer runs and chatter during “Drive All Night” over there.) But, as commenters to this blog and our Facebook page have pointed out, here is Where It All Started, with fans that have stood true for four decades. Why, they ask, aren’t we getting the four-hour marathon shows, the “New York City Serenade” with a string section, the rarities-filled extravaganzas, the full albums? (Although lots of people would prefer those stay in Europe — a topic for another day.)
Fast Tube by Casper
So are U.S. grumblers just experiencing a case of sour grapes, or do they have a legitimate gripe? And should Springsteen address the controversy, a la Brian Fallon’s recent blog post addressing his fans on unwanted song requests? Register your opinion in the comments.
Personally, I’d of course like to have seen the Wrecking Ball tour wind up close to home. But I also know that for years, the U.S. — and, disproportionately, the Northeast — has gotten more than its fair share of Springsteen stops. If Bruce wants to give his loyal fans around the world their due this time around, more power to him. And as I’ve always said, the Boss knows what he’s doing — if what he needs now is to recharge his batteries, concentrate on new work and come back stronger than ever, rather than perform one more Wrecking Ball victory lap on U.S. shores, I trust his judgment.
But the next tour better kick off in Jersey. I’m marking my calendar for 2014.