Martine Rolls: Livewire Springsteen still The Boss at 64

By Martine Rolls

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Bruce Springsteen proved he is still The Boss at 64.
Bruce Springsteen proved he is still The Boss at 64.

It was Te Ra O Te Tamariki, or Children's Day, on Sunday and I had planned to take my two out to the Historic Village to join in the fun.

But then on Trade Me a friend scored some last-minute tickets to see Bruce Springsteen at Mt Smart so we ended up in Auckland for the weekend instead.

While the five children we have between us had fun playing backyard cricket and going on bike rides, and were looked after by a fantastic babysitter, their two mums rocked the night away with The Boss.

Back in the 80s, I had a huge crush on Bruce Springsteen, and so did my mum.

Born In The USA was one of the first records I owned, on vinyl of course. I must have been about 11 when it was released.

Bruce and the band played it top to bottom during the concert and that was what we were hoping for.

The only slight disappointment was that he didn't play my all-time favourite song, Red Headed Woman.

Springsteen is 64, handsome as ever and fit as a fiddle. I was impressed that he treated the crowd to such a high-energy performance.

He played for three hours straight with the fabulous E Street Band without puffing once or even taking the slightest break between songs.

We were right up the front, had a great view of the action on stage, and we had the best night ever.

People may think it is strange that I didn't post any photos or footage of the concert on Facebook. That's because I decided to leave my phone in my pocket and enjoy the show.

I've been wondering why so many big bands of the 70s and 80s, and even the 60s are touring again. It is to top up their retirement fund?

Even the Rolling Stones have just started their 2014 world tour and will be in Auckland in April.

Mick Jagger is 70! Do we really need to see a bunch of geriatrics on stage?

I was discussing this on Facebook with a friend who was also at the Springsteen concert on Saturday. She mentioned how the music industry has changed with piracy, streaming and downloads and said she reckons that musicians are forced to go out and work for their money again, touring, and giving value to every ticket sold.

We agreed that this certainly sorts out the real artists out from the manufactured bands that have been in the charts in recent years, those who couldn't do a live performance in a shower let alone on a stage, she said. She mentioned that the rock bands without gimmicks were all still around and that the manufactured bands of the 90s were clearly gone.

It's fair to say that the really class acts have evolved. A man such as Bruce Springsteen can still fill a stadium to the roof and reach an audience that crosses three generations.

Technology has certainly changed the music industry. We live in an age where any man and his dog can produce a song on a computer and release it to the world by posting it on a social media site.

Rolling Stone published a detailed look at the state of the music industry and technology's part in shaping it last year.

I can't find the full article online, it is probably hidden in the archives behind a paywall, but I did see a lot of blog posts and comments about it.

Album sales are at an all-time low and most record shops have closed down, yet online music streaming platforms and apps such as Spotify are doing a roaring trade.

These sites have a vast library of music that you can listen to while you surf the net, and it doesn't cost a thing.

It looks like the old-fashioned way of making money in the music business by selling records has dropped off completely, and I guess that's why so many bands and artists are touring the world again.

I love music and do prefer to hear it live, so if this means that many more of my old favourites will hit our shores soon, you won't hear me complain.

Martine Rolls is a Tauranga writer and digital strategist - www.sweetorange.co.nz

- Bay of Plenty Times

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