In an interview with The New York Times, Bruce Springsteen has, for the first time, offered an in-depth explanation of why he chose to put together his “Springsteen on Broadway” run, and what fans can expect.
Talking to veteran rock critic Jon Pareles, The Boss said the inspiration came from a private White House concert he played for President Obama and about 250 staffers, in January.
“There was a lot of storytelling, which goes back to our early days at the Bottom Line when you were in front of a couple of hundred people,” he said. “It worked in a very, very intimate setting.”
He also compared “Springsteen on Broadway” to the “VH1 Storytellers” show he taped at the Two River Theater in Red Bank in 2005.
In a big change from what his fans have come to expect, there will be little variation in the shows from night to night.
“This is a locked-in piece of music and script that I’m going to be performing pretty much the same on a nightly basis. It’s a solidified piece of work.”
He said he looks at this as an opportunity for “renewal,” at each show, not “repetition.”
“And to do that your spirit has got to be 100 percent present. But it’s a new audience every night. There’s new faces, there’s new opportunities. Those songs have been very good to me over the years, and in return I try to be good to them. So you have a chance of renewing the emotion and the spirit in that music on a nightly basis.
“That’s the place I work to get to every night when I’m onstage. I think that if the foundation of what you’ve built is built well, you’ll be able to inhabit it on a nightly basis and your audience will come in and it will feel like they’re seeing it for the first time.”
Springsteen said he is not expecting to use the show to comment, directly, on current politics.
“There’s nothing Trump-centric about what I’m doing,” he said. “My idea was really just to present the work that I’ve done for the past 40 years or so and let it speak for itself. I didn’t feel like I needed to get on a soapbox or be real ideological about it. I wanted the night to play very naturally, and be broad enough to be about all the things I’ve written about over the years. And in that way, in the contrast, it would comment.”
He said he finished a new album, though he didn’t discuss a release date.
“Springsteen on Broadway” begins previews on Oct. 3, officially opens on Oct. 12, and runs through Feb. 3.