That’s right – everyone has one.
Yes, including me. I try to use this space wisely as our blog blew past the 7 year milestone in February and is going strong. As we attract new readership, I am increasingly aware of the responsibility to be fair and not act like a jerk.
That’s why when I read Washington Post blogger Paul Farhi’s criticism of Bruce Springsteen’s use of a teleprompter in concert (thanks, Doug Podell), it just sent me over the top.
Farhi admits that as musical transgressions go, a little visual help with lyrics is far less heinous than lip-syncing. But he sums up his problem with The Boss’ use of a teleprompter with this statement:
“And yet, Springsteen has always seemed different.
Springsteen is such an exciting performer precisely because his art has always seemed to lack artifice. He is exuberant but also sincere, and he makes his fans believe it, too. His tunes aren’t just tunes; they’re mini-anthems of hope and possibility and unrealized dreams. They’re little musical novels.”
Which is why a teleprompter tampers, ever so slightly, with the spell Springsteen has cast for nearly 40 years. If he believes as deeply as we assume he does, why the need for a cheat sheet?
He’s kidding, right? I mean, the Boss is in his early ’60s – an age where you have to cut yourself a little slack for misplacing your keys or forgetting where you parked your Range Rover. So, how can you expect him to remember the lyrics to everything from “Racing In The Street” to “Adam Raised A Cain” along with all the new stuff?
The reality, as E Street band mate Nil Lofgren points out, is that the band plays nearly 200 songs as part of the tour, shaking up the set list like no other group has in history:
“We played 192 different songs on [our last] tour. Dozens of those songs were from audience-request signs… [Bruce called] audibles that were songs unrehearsed or played in years or decades. With our collective musical memory, hand signals and teleprompter, it allows for those ambitious, ad-lib moments and an inspired, musical recklessness I believe is unique to our shows.”
So, there you have it, a critic with too much time on his hands, trying to shake things up a bit. Like a talk show host desperate for calls and ratings, you have to wonder what Farhi was thinking when he wrote this blog.
Aren’t there bigger issues in music (and the country) today than Bruce Springsteen using a teleprompter – or is everyone so hyper-critical that we have to pick apart every aspect of entertainers, athletes, and celebrities?
But everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Even ***holes.