When rock writer Jon Landau famously said, "I saw rock 'n' roll's future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen," he was right. When Time and Newsweek put Bruce on their covers the same week and declared him "the new Dylan," many thought it was just a load of hype. Fast-forward 30 years and not only has "the Boss" sold way more records than Dylan ever did; he's even rivaled the D-man in terms of cultural relevance.
To say in 2005 Springsteen is a mythical figure is an understatement. Sure, he's old enough for the senior citizen discount at Denny's, but Springsteen doesn't look that much different from the scruffy kid who greeted us from Asbury Park, New Jersey, oh so many years ago. His vision may not be in sync with every American's politics the Boss ain't no red-stater but when it comes to tapping into American culture, Springsteen remains as poignant and universal as ever. All those songs celebrating cars, girls, and youth are juxtaposed with the dark undercurrents of reality: war, domestic violence, infidelity, etc. You don't get to be Bruce Springsteen by having a funny haircut and making disco records.
This time, Springsteen is in Nebraska-esque acoustic mode, highlighting tunes from his quietly intense Devils and Dust album, as well as favorites from his by-now-voluminous catalog. Don't expect a fist-pumping rock 'n' roll show. This is mellow Springsteen. As any geek who's ever sung in a coffee shop can tell you, it's hard enough for a solitary acoustic performer to hold the attention of ten people, let alone 10,000. But if anyone can pull it off, Springsteen's that guy. There's a reason he's called the Boss.