Bruce Springsteen Can Go Screw Himself

Bruce Springsteen
Me an’ Wendy, we’re from Jurzee, an’ we’re gonna charge these streets for standin’ room at the show, a-whoa-whoa-whoa
Recently, a coworker—who is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan—urged me to scratch the item off my bucket list and get tickets to see him perform live. I’ve already missed the chance to see Clarence play, so why not see the remaining members of the band before they too turn to dust?

So out of morbid curiosity, I decided to go look up tickets. The cheapest ticket I could find, in the sh*tty seat section, is $119 before fees ($149 after).

Allow me to say I know I’m not unique in complaining about ticket prices for concerts. When I saw my first show, it was 1991 at the Capital Centre (Maryland), it was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and it cost something like twenty-five US dollars. And they were good seats. You can expect prices to rise with inflation, but this is ridiculous.

Outpacing Inflation

Similar to movie ticket prices, concert ticket prices have risen way out of proportion with the average rate of inflation. (Sporting event ticket prices too, for that matter.) The unfortunate thing is that this squeezes out the “average guy” who might want to go to an event, or go to events more often.

The price is galling, though. Why on earth should I pay $150 (remember the ticket fees!) to go to a concert with a bajillion other people, some of them drunk and belligerent, with a terrible view and gridlock on the way in and the way out? I’ve made the ritual pilgrimage to U2, but I have to be honest that the last time I went may have burned me out on that one for good as well. The Metro cars were so packed on the way back out that I had a panic attack and a girl almost puked on me because she couldn’t breathe. As great as the concert was, all I could think that whole time was how tired I was going to be for work in the morning and how much I didn’t want someone puking on me. I’m nearly forty and have a family, I should be past the days when I have to worry about a stranger puking on me. That’s an honor reserved for my children.

So Why Target Springsteen In Specific?

Honestly, because “The Boss” is a favorite punching bag of mine. Once he got past Tunnel of Love, he took on that quality of a “star” that rubs me the wrong way. He’s too self–aware to be a true artist. He knows how to make things that approximate art and can be accused of being art, but if you “know” it then you often try too hard and end up full of yourself. Actors do it all the time, too; they get full of themselves and act like their farts stopped stinking.

Adding to that is Springsteen’s embrace of the Occupy movement.

It’s not that I’m bothered that he supports the movement; at least not completely. (The Occupy movement is full of a bunch of ass hats who partake in chaos, rape and public urination.) But Bruuuuuuce came from a Northeastern working–class family, and I guess he feels that the movement is a reflection of that ethic somehow. It doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree with him about that part. There are plenty of artists and entertainers I think are complete dopes when it comes to those sorts of things.

What I can take umbrage with is that Springsteen, and so many other stars/rockers/actors/financial magnates like him, give a ton of lip service about “the poor” and “the average person” and then feed on them to support their own grandiose lifestyles without seeing the perverse irony, if not hypocrisy of their positions.

You know what, Mr. Springsteen? How about you don’t get paid for your performances on this tour? Haven’t you made enough money already, asking people like me to fork over $150 to see you perform from an extreme distance for the honor of saying I saw you before you died?

And don’t give me any crap about it not being practical. I saw David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, two guys who arguably needed the money more than Springsteen did or does, tour on a double–bill for about $30 a few years ago. I had a nice seat, unobstructed view, and they played all the songs I wanted to hear either one of them perform live. Even accounting for inflation, that nice ticket would cost me about $50 or so now.

So why should I pay three times that amount (more if I want a good seat) to see Springsteen? Push comes to shove, I can wait for the BluRay of the tour and then watch it in the comfort of my home for substantially less than a ticket. All with zero chance of a stranger throwing up on me.

So in short, Bruce Springsteen can go screw himself for being a hypocritical jackass who takes advantage of those who make far less than he does, just like those he criticizes.


9 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen Can Go Screw Himself

  1. Springsteen’s bullshit started after Born in the USA was released. Left-wing groups went nuts because they, like the right, thought he was some right-wing, overly-patriotic nut. (No one ever listens to the lyrics, do they?) Accordingly, his snobby behavior and marital infidelity was thrust front-and-center on the news. I recall one show divulging that he fired a staff member because there were seeds in his watermelon slice.

    Once the mainstream realized he was far left, that went away. (Before Fox News, the news media had no reason to stray anywhere from the far left.) Despite his snobbery, I bought a ticket to his tour in the late 90s because I loved his music. The fact that I wouldn’t vote for him has no bearing on whether I’d go. I was in law school at the time, so it was in Chicago. He played about 4 songs I recognized. At one point, the crowd was chanting for Jungleland, but he wouldn’t play any of the songs that made him popular enough to charge such ridiculous prices. He condescendingly played Born in the USA as an acoustic solo at one of the shows on that tour (not mine) just to shut up the crowd. He’s been a prick for quite some time, really. Celebrity does that.

    And you’re right about Hagar-Roth. The only disappointment was that all signs pointed to our show being one where Michael Anthony would show up to play, but we were stuck with “scary chick” on bass.

    1. Yeah, I guess it’s really just the hypocrisy of someone who lives with limos and servants lecturing the world about “income inequality” rankles me. You don’t like the situation, don’t abdicate your responsibility to someone else; do what you can and lead by example. Otherwise, you’re just giving voice to your own guilty conscience, which is worse because it means on some level you realize your hypocrisy and are unwilling to do anything about it.

  2. While I agree with you that I’ve lost my tolerance for Bruce over the years, and that his approach to politics has typically been insufferable, I can’t help but to disagree with your assertion that Bruce is too self-aware to be a true artist.

    Artists – particularly those who peak early – have a truly tragic track record for sustaining great art over time, and often seem fated to becoming bloated, egomaniacal caractatures of themselves. (There are simply too many examples to list here). I believe that what drives this pattern all too often is the lack of hunger and the trappings of comfort.

    But to that end, if Bruce is truly angered and motivated by his political leanings…to the point that he will write, release and perfom songs with messages that are guaranteed to alienate certain fans… then I can’t help to respect his committment to his art and his ability to harness inspiration at sn age when his contemporaries have become completely risk-adverse. After all, I must ask that if he was on the Rolling Stones plan…..releasing an middling-to-average album every 7-10 years, never taking any chances or stances, and soley working to recapture the wonder of 1985….would you consider him to be a greater or a lesser artist than you do now?

    Does his music have an agenda? Yes. Does that disqualify it from being art? No.

    I’d also agree with you that the cost of his tickets represents a true disconnect with his message. But even “The Boss” works for a corporation. Yikes.

    1. Fair points all, and definitely warrants a clarification from me. I’m not drawing a line from consciously writing for a cause – folk(sy) singers are based on the notion I guess – to being an inauthentic artist. I’m just saying when someone sits down and wants to “make art happen,” the results often go awry.

      For instance, Heinlein didn’t sit down and “try” to write great literature (so far as I know). He just sat down and wrote something and when he produced something great, there it was. Same with any artist, I guess. I guess I come from the camp that subscribes to the idea that it’s too easy to overthink things. I think that Bruce overthinks things – even his great “comeback” album, The Rising, smacked of overthinking, whereas his truly great stuff had a flow that just felt more organic.

      All that said, I haven’t listened to the whole new album, so I’m kind of a jerk for not thinking he found a way to get back to that “artistic” place.

      I was mainly rankled by the ticket price.

  3. Well, I guess I see your point, thought I don’t think that either of us could accurately guess the intentions of any artists.

    And again, I have to ask: could you respect any artist who set out to make “good” art or “good enough” art or “pretty good, considering…” art vs. “great” art? perhaps that’s the difference between being a washed up Bruce and a top-of-his-game Billy Squire.

    (And at the risk of being a jackass….I’m gonna take issue with the use of the phrase “folk-sy singers” to represent all cause-related artists. What of James Brown? What of Banksy? Ani DiFranco? John Lennon? Rage Against the Machine? Public Enemy? The Clash? Basquiat? Minor Threat? Pablo Neruda?)

    The ticket price issue is a lot more befuddling to me. I keep waiting and waiting and waiting for a member of rock royalty to officially go indie, but I just don’t think it’ll ever happen in a truly independent sense (God bless the Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam for doing their best, though).

    Honestly, I have my doubts that even Bruce has the clout to tell a nation of slimy promoters “I’ve got this round; we’re rolling tickets back to 1991 prices.” If anyone could, I’d bet it would be him. But in an era of dead album sales, I’d guess the record company is leaning on those tour numbers in a whole new way these days. Those profits serve to absorb the losses they fully expect to take on One Direction’s sophomore effort.

    1. “Well, I guess I see your point, thought I don’t think that either of us could accurately guess the intentions of any artists”

      The Shadow knows. Or something. But I think my threshold is when I see a performer (musical or not) talking about their craft to tell us all how amazing their process blah blah blah. It’s like Steve Martin, who blew up his output as soon as he started giving serious interviews about comedy. Or the difference between Morrison and Manzarek: one just did their thing, the other blathered on endlessly about how awesome they were for doing it.

      I was only using “folk-sy” to box in Springsteen here too, because that’s the class of performer to which he belongs (I think) and social causes dominate their musical time more than, say, Adam Ant or Dethklok. Though I love me some Dethklok – soundtrack to my morning yesterday.

      “Those profits serve to absorb the losses they fully expect to take on One Direction’s sophomore effort.”

      What loses could they possibly expect there? If the Spice Girls Taught us anything…oh, wait. I gotcha.

      Great discussion. I appreciate you forcing me to hash out my off-handed criticisms better.

    1. Well, there’s certainly the political aspect to it. When you make your political affiliations partisan – as opposed to “original Springsteen” who was more cause-based than Party-aligned – then you definitely alienate a significant portion of your audience. Additionally you can end up turning that audience against itself.

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