Springsteen on Broadway: Review

I am in bed with a woozy influenza, making me sorry for myself and strangely dislocated. The perfect state of mind to watch Springsteen on Broadway on Netflix.

I am obsessed with Bruce Springsteen and have been my whole adult life. He has been an anchor, rudder, the reason to believe, and the core of my creative work has had him as my inspiration. I have loved others wildly and more passionately, but he has been with me for the long haul, ever since The River changed what music was and could be.

I was nervous to watch this two and a half hour long live recording of his show. I knew it was the staged expression of his autobiography, and I hadn’t loved the book as much as I felt I had ought to. Nothing could have prepared me for this immersion into Springsteen’s story, philosophy, and deep, deep humanity, along with solo and acoustic renditions of some of his iconic songs.

Following the thread of the book, starting with his childhood and weaving his family and Freehold, NJ, into their places as what has made, shaped and ‘unloosed’ him, Springsteen talks, shouts, whispers, murmurs, laughs and sings his life story into being, and it is riveting, totally emotional, ridiculously purely sentimental in the most unselfconscious and audacious way, and it is beautiful. This show presents the man, poet, guitarist, activist, rock ‘n roll hero, everyman, son, father, husband, friend, band member and clown. It is filled with memory, ghosts, religion, politics, love, and all, all heart.

Thunder Road, still my all-time favourite Springsteen song, has a new added rawness, because we are now all so much older. Born in the USA is an unaccompanied dirge that made me sob, and My Father’s House is the best and most devastating version of the song. The only other person to join Springsteen is his wife Patti Scialfa, who comes on to sing two songs with him. She is also amazing.

Every word, expression, note, strum, lighting cue builds the story here, and Springsteen is a self-titled magician, making his magic and playing his tricks.

People paid an enormous amount of money to see this intimate show, and I totally get it. It can transform you. It transformed me.

What: Springsteen on Broadway review

Where: Netflix