Remembering the Big Man, Clarence Clemons

Clarence ClemonsAs an adult, early childhood memories often seem like a blurry haze, but there are always a few that hang around.  When I was 3 years old I was fascinated with my parents’ turntable.  Any chance I got I would fiddle around with it, either playing their albums or one of my many Sesame Street records.  Music made me feel alive and I know my lifelong passion for it started then.

One of the albums that I literally wore out was Born to Run.  I played that over and over again, until my parents were forced to buy me my own turntable, and another unscratched copy for themselves.  I scribbled on the cover over Bruce and Clarence and memorized the lyrics, even though I was far too young to understand them.  Before I even knew why, I fell deeply in love with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, particularly the last song on Born to Run, “Jungleland.”  There was something about the song -– particularly Clemons’ outstanding sax solo -– that spoke to me.

Several years ago I told my husband that I wanted to see them live, and I did in 2003 at Giants Stadium.  The band was excellent but the seats and the crowd were awful, to the point where it took away from the show and I ultimately went home disappointed.  In 2009 I was fortunate enough to attend the show at Madison Square Garden where they played The River in its entirety, and it was magical.  I will be forever grateful for that moment when I got to share something so wonderful with a band that has been with me for as long as I can remember.

Clarence Clemons, you have made an indelible impression on my life and you will be missed.  Thank you for going to The Student Prince that night.  Thank you for making music so beautiful that it makes me cry.  Thank you for being one of the three most important people in the world.  It’s just not the same without you.

(watch Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, “Jungleland,” 9/19/1978)

Enhanced by Zemanta

In Concert: Interpol at Radio City Music Hall, 2/17/11

The first thing I noticed about Paul Banks’ voice is how very different it sounded from the last time I saw them. Not bad, just not like what I remember. There’s a richer, more developed tone in there with some subtle nuances that weren’t apparent several years ago at Madison Square Garden.

While my seats weren’t the best for visuals, sitting next to the sound board was ideal for maximum aural enjoyment. Everyone appeared to be in fine form, and even from a distance I could enjoy Daniel Kessler’s goofy dancing along with his excellent guitar work.

Since founding member and notorious man whore Carlos Dengler left Interpol shortly after the completion of their fourth album, Interpol, David Pajo filled in on bass like a ninja, managing to sink into the shadows on a fully lit stage. From the second balcony, there were times when I could have sworn he wasn’t even there.

Perhaps this was done intentionally, as Dengler was an integral part of Interpol’s writing team, and while Pajo is more than a competent musician he doesn’t have the same ownership of the music. Overall, the band felt like they’ve been working together for years; their choice of touring bassist was clearly suitable.

The strangest part of the night had nothing to do with the show itself. Towards the end of “Not Even Jail,” some woman jumped on stage, pranced over to Banks, wrapped her arms around him, and then pranced nearly off stage before the security monkeys even realized she was there. I hope the tour manager gave Radio City Music Hall a hard time about paying for their services, because lapses like that just should not ever happen.

Set list

Hands Away
Rest My Chemistry
Say Hello to the Angels
Summer Well
Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down
The Heinrich Maneuver
Memory Serves
Obstacle 1


The Lighthouse
The New
Slow Hands
Not Even Jail

Enhanced by Zemanta