Springsteen week kicks off tonight

Bruce Springsteen charges into Austin on Thursday. (Photo by Jo Lopez)

If you’re a Bruce Springsteen fan, life is very good right now. With the release of the excellent new album, Wrecking Ball, comes a bevy of appearances before the world tour begins.

Lets start with a biggie tonight. For the first time in Bruce’s 40 plus year history, he and the E Street Band will grace the stage at The Apollo Theater in Harlem. It’s part of Sirius/XM’s tenth anniversary celebration of satellite radio (once you get it, you will never go back. Trust me.).  This will be the band’s first full gig without the “Big Man” Clarence Clemons, but if the appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week are any indication, the horn section, featuring Clemons’ nephew Jake, can cover his parts nicely.

What they can’t do is replace Clemons’ massive presence, and his interaction with Bruce. That will be sorely missed. It will be interesting to see how Bruce handles the band introductions (if he does them at all) because Clarence was always “last but not least.” The show is set to start at 8 p.m EST with a pre-show featuring Springsteen biographer Dave Marsh at 6 p.m.

If you don’t have Sirius/XM, you can get a seven-day free subscription by going to their website. You can also win tickets to that last show of the U.S. leg in Newark,  by tweeting a photo of your “Springsteen Apollo Listening Party.” You can enter that contest here.

Update: Video from the Apollo show

Next Thursday, Bruce will be the keynote speaker at the SXSW Music Conference in Austin. The format of the presentation is kind of up in the air. My guess is that he will have someone interview him, then take a few questions from the audience, then pick up the acoustic guitar and play a few tunes. That scenario would be ideal, but it remains to be seen what will actually happen. We here at 30 Days Out will be there to provide complete coverage and if you want to experience it live, NPR will stream the keynote address. Check NPR’s website for the schedule.

Later that evening at a secret, intimate location in “Live Music Capital of the World,” Bruce and the band will do a private show for badge holders and media who are lucky enough to win a drawing to get in. Our guess is he will play Stubb’s BBQ, a venue that is no stranger to big acts during SXSW. Metallica played there three years ago and John Mayer and Train are set to play there on Saturday.

We are hoping for this location because if we can’t get in, we can at least listen to it “out in the street.” There is also a chance he will play the new ACL Live venue, but that seems unlikely unless they were going to tape for TV or DVD or do an Austin City Limits show, which would be great if that happens. However, if he wants to create a huge buzz, Stubb’s would be the best place to do that. Also, we bet Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine will hop on stage with the band at some point. He’ll be in town doing his own shows during the four-day weekend.

Other possible sightings around Austin might include an appearance with friend and manager-mate Alejandro Escovedo at the Austin Music Awards on Wednesday night or with his buddy, Garland Jeffries, at Antone’s on Thursday. Should we cross our fingers for a surprise acoustic set at Waterloo Records ? Not likely, but we’ve got nothing to lose.

Finally, the Wrecking Ball World Tour kicks of March 18 in Atlanta, then heads overseas and hopefully back to the states in the fall. Like I said at the top, it’s a good time to be a Springsteen fan.

Bruce Springsteen official website

Backstreets magazine

Bruce Springsteen News on Facebook


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