Saturday, August 29, 2009

Some Good Moments From Katrina

That first year after Katrina there was a lot of talk if the city should have a Jazz Fest. Some felt it was too soon, that it would be sending a wrong message to the rest of the world. Thankfully those people weren't listened to and we had a Jazz Fest. We needed it. It was a Jazz Fest unlike any other. One of my favorite posts and one of my favorite shows was Springsteen at the Fest. Instead of linking to it I'm re-posting it here.

It's been almost a week since the end of last week's Jazz Fest. I'm sure most of you have heard about Springsteen's appearance at the Fest. In Springsteen lore there are tales of his legendary concerts: the appearance at Bottom Line where Jan Landau came up with the future of rock and roll quote, his first London show, and others. These are the shows that his fans talk and write about, the ones that every Springsteen fan wishes he had been present at. Now you can add another one to that list.

I've seen Springsteen a few times over the years and he always gives a good concert. He puts on a good show, he knows how to play to the crowd. He doesn't stint on his time, he puts it all out there for his fans to see. But no show by Springsteen that I've seen comes close to this show. In fact I'm trying real hard to think of any show that I've seen that can compare to this one.

I talked in a previous post about the importance of this Jazz Fest to the city of New Orleans. In this one concert Springsteen shows he understands what is important and delivers on it. I'm not a religious person and I have never gotten what such a person gets from going to church, until this show. This might be the closest I have come to finding my religion. I've always thought music was the closest I've come to following a religion and today I was in church.

Springsteen opened with a rocking version of "Mary, Don't You Weep" and continued with his versions of the songs off his newest cd "The Seeger Sessions." He added "What's A Poor Man To Do", a song originally wrote in 1929 after the crash of the banks that eventually lead to the Depression. He kept the first verse, but wrote his own second and third verses to fit the destruction and aftermath of Katrina. And he dedicated it to President Bystander.

But the most moving moment came during his own song, "City in Ruins." This song started with him alone on his guitar. As he sang the lyrics it was obvious that this song could have been written for New Orleans after Katrina. And than when the band kicked in with the chorus of "Rise UP!" Hands went in the air, waving back and forth. But many of these hands kept returning to faces, to wipe away the tears. I don't know if I've ever been moved to tears at a concert, but I found myself wiping my own eyes.

Springsteen ended with his version of "When the Saints Come Marching Home." He sang it almost as a hymn. It was one of the most beautiful versions of the song I have ever heard.

This concert went from joy to despair, from laughter to tears. Springsteen made the truth of the importance of the Jazz Fest on this day.

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