Friday 1 June 2018

New Shoulders to Cry On

I felt every one of my 58 years earlier this week, when telling a couple of work colleagues the name of the artist I was going to see in concert that night. 'Nils Lofgren' I said. Blank faces. 'Singer-songwriter' I added helpfully. Blank faces. 'Well he's been a member of the E-Street Band for 35 years'. Blank faces. 'Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band?' I continued, becoming a tad desperate. '...Bruce Sprig...who?' Neither of them had ever heard of Bruce Springsteen. It wasn't that they were unfamiliar with his music, or knew him but didn't like his stuff - they had literally never heard of Bruce Springsteen. How do you get into your early 20s without ever having at least heard of Bruce Springsteen? I threw a few more big names at my baffled colleagues to see if anything stuck. 'Bob Dylan?' Nope. 'Tom Petty?' Nope. 'The Clash?' Nope. I was clearly being too obscure. 'The Beatles' I boomed confidently. 'You must have heard of The Beatles?' 'Oh yes, I've heard of them,' came a reply '..but I don't think I've heard any music by them. Are they an instrumental group?' I kid you not.

It's been 40 years since I first saw Nils Lofgren in concert and around 25 years since the last time. This latest tour is a stripped back celebration of his 50th year on the road and showcases material from all stages of that long and successful career. The highlight of the night for me was 'Black Books', a song originally released on his 1995 studio LP 'Damaged Goods', though this interpretation from 1997's 'Acoustic Live' is much closer to the atmospheric version we got on Tuesday evening.

Nils Lofgren - Black Books


Charity Chic said...

FFS - what do they teach them in school these days!
I suspect that they could give you chapter and verse on Adele and Ed bloody Sheerin,

Swiss Adam said...


Brian said...


John Medd said...

It features in the Sopranos too.

I saw Lofgren supporting the Who; in his trampoline years.

The Swede said...

CC. It's a cultural vacuum out there.

SA. I didn't know whether to lol or facepalm.

Brian. Indeed.

Ramone666. Actually, I facepalmed.

John Medd. He had a trampoline at each corner of the stage the first time I saw him too. Little wonder he had a double hip replacement 10 years ago.

Swiss Adam said...

The new curriculum for secondary education doesn't really find much space for Nils Lofgren. Gove didn't see him as being a key part of the EBacc suite of qualifications. Yet another reason to hate the Tories.

The Swede said...

The lack of a working knowledge of Nils Lofgren is, I suppose, understandable. But Dylan...The Beatles? I despair.

John Medd said...

Just add it to the list:

* Can't tell the time
* Can't read a map
* Can't walk to school in the snow
* Can't boil an egg

Alyson said...

Oh my - I must admit that my daughter, who is in her early 20s, would definitely not been stumped by those names but then she had to listen to our music from an early age. She can also tell the time, read a map, walked to school in the snow and can cook. It's as if they've emerged from a cocoon at 20 perfectly formed with no cultural references. Makes you feel aged right enough.

John Medd said...

I'm so glad Alyson!

Though I wasn't kidding about the 'time' bit. Analogue clocks are to be banned in exam rooms - kids can't read 'em apparently.

Calling time on time.

TheRobster said...

There is hope. I was reading your post to the family the other night. TheDoopster and her boyfriend (who is hereafter known as TheTomster) were both present. As I got to the bit about the E-Street Band, he started removing the bandana he was wearing from around his neck. Before I'd finished the sentence about Bruce, he revealed his bandana had 'E Street Band' written across it. His dad's a fan, apparently, but he's clearly taken to Bruce at al himself. Not bad for a 19-year-old Metallica t-shirt wearing lad, eh.

Then there's 'Electric Steve', a 20-something guy I play football with. Bruce at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was his first ever show. Seen him several times since, apparently.

Hope that warms you a little...

Spence said...

I weep with you. I actually revere Nils above Springsteen, usually telling people that he ( Springsteen) isn't fit to lace Nils strings. OK so that's deliberately controversial but my wonder is why Nils subordinated his career to him. Nils' first several albums were classics in their own right. Perhaps he got writer's block? Anyway, you need to 'educate' your colleagues. Several of the bands I eventually came to love were down to being influenced by older colleagues in my first impressionable few months at work.

Rickety Rackety said...

Nobody listens to nuffin no more. Well, you know what I mean. I saw Nils back in '77 (I think). He was springing off a trampoline in Keef scarves. Bloody excellent. Not appreciated enough, methinks.

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