It's good to be 'The Boss'
Published: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 7:42 p.m.
Next to President Obama, Bruce Springsteen may be the most hyped personality in America today. And, like the new leader of the free world, the old Boss is ready to rock. In the past two weeks, Springsteen has played the Inauguration concert, released a new album ("Working on a Dream"), announced a world tour and on Sunday night will step onto television's biggest stage: headlining the Super Bowl halftime show with the E Street Band at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Also, in case you missed it, he's on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Even in today's media-saturated entertainment world, that's unprecedented exposure for a rocker.
"Obviously he's a great talent and everything Bruce does comes from the heart but the guy is also a marketing genius," said Kevin "Crash" Davis, program director of WIND FM radio.
The Boss knows how to hustle his music and promote himself and that's part of the reason at 59 he remains one of the most creative, relevant and commercial figures in popular music.
Now the challenge for Springsteen is condensing his boundless energy and marathon concert performance down to the 12 minutes the Super Bowl allows for halftime. Like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, he's ready for the game.
"We've made three of what I think are some of our best records in a row, which is really one of the reasons we're here," Springsteen said Friday at a Super Bowl press conference in Tampa.
"And the band is playing the best it's ever played. We're still alive, the band's still kicking butt and we're having fun. So it's a good year."
"It's only fitting that Springsteen and the E Street Band perform at halftime of the Super Bowl," said Jeff Parets, who is based in Phoenix and hosts the nationally syndicated "Acoustic Storm" radio program. "Springsteen has referred to sports in songs like 'Glory Days' (baseball) and more recently the title song of Mickey Rourke's film, 'The Wrestler.' "
The Super Bowl should provide Springsteen an opportunity to showcase the title song for his new album, "Working On A Dream." The CD has received rave reviews and seems a throwback to happier, rocking times for Springsteen.
And coming in a period of bad economic times, the new album and Sunday's halftime show offers a chance for the Boss and band to put some smiles on listener's faces, to make the day seem a little brighter when the news is often otherwise, Springsteen said Friday.
"I think the main thing you have to remember is you're playing where the cheerleaders usually go," he said. "So basically, we're going to create a 12-minute party."
Maybe it has to do with Obama's election. Springsteen worked for the new president during the campaign — and turned in a well-received performance at the pre-inauguration celebration concert at the Lincoln Memorial.
"It was special for me," Springsteen said Friday about the experience. "And as far as the inauguration goes, it's a good warm-up for this," he joked.
"We will have a lot of crazy football fans, but you don't have Lincoln staring over your shoulder. That takes some of the pressure off."
After the Super Bowl, Springsteen and his band will kick off a world tour on April 1 in San Jose, Calif. Playing live gigs still generates passion in the Boss.
For now, though, the big question is what songs will Springsteen play at the Super Bowl? In the past, such artists as Tom Petty, Prince, Paul McCartney and U2 offered some new work, but mostly hits or medleys of past songs. Look for Springsteen to do the same.
Parets' prediction for a set-list is, "Working on a Dream," "Born to Run," "Born in the USA," "Blinded by the Light" and "Hungry Heart." Davis also expects a medley of Springsteen's best and is more interested in the performer than the game. "I'm really not a football fan," he said, "but I've got to see the Boss."
On Friday, the Boss didn't tip his hand. But when asked who decided what songs would make the cut, he joked and after 17 studio albums and a 35-year-plus career, left little doubt about who's Boss. "Nobody else decides!" he said animatingly and to great laughter Friday. "People suggest. They cajole. But I decide!"
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