In the autumn of 2017 a different kind of marquees lit up Broadway. It wasn’t a musical, a play, or even a concert–it was an experience.
To those lucky enough to witness “Springsteen on Broadway,” in person at the Walter Kerr Theatre, words cannot convey how much I envy you. To those who weren’t, I have some good news — it’s on Netflix.
I’ll admit I’m a little late to the game. “Springsteen on Broadway” joined the Netflix catalog on December 16th. In my defense…Christmas, New Year’s, Golden Globes, MLK Day, and Groundhog Day? Anyways, the point is I finally watched it…and just in time for the Grammys.
At the show’s opening, Mr. Springsteen boldly states “I made it all up,” when referring to his working-man lyrics. He has after all never, in his own words — held an honest job in his entire life. What follows is a series of memories and tales that seem to both confirm and contradict that statement.
It is a journey, from his hometown in New Jersey to his road trips across America (without a license) he weaves his tale while seamlessly incorporating his music along the way. He speaks of love, loss, faith, his childhood, young adulthood, parenthood and the people he met along the way. The music doesn’t stop the stories but propels them forward, fueling them with an extra boost of nostalgia and emotion.
The music itself is stripped down. Mr. Springsteen, for the most part (sorry, no spoilers here), is a one-man band. He accompanies himself on the piano, a series of guitars, and the harmonica. Even through the small screen, you can feel the intimacy of the performance. It’s raw and real.
This honesty pervades the entire show. There’s no pretense, no false modesty. There’s just Mr. Springsteen, his instrument, his story, and the music. It’s moving, powerful, and even funny (at times). Basically, it’s everything you’d expect from the rock legend and one of the greatest storytellers of our time.
…just for fun: