What did I think of Bruce?
I think you don’t try for subtlety at the Super Bowl. I think the Prince halftime show of two years ago is the only one I can remember ever being any good at all (although that one was really good). I think Bruce just carries his own gospel choir around with him everywhere he goes nowadays. I think he let Landau talk him into putting in that snippet of “Working on a Dream,” which sounds like a Born in the U.S.A. B-side to me, but not in a bad way.
All things considered, I thought Bruce was great. He generated more excitement in 12 minutes than Tom Petty has in his entire 96-year performing career. I mean, to play the Super Bowl and emerge with your dignity intact is no small thing. (I died a little when U2 did it in 2002. “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bridgestone Nokia Clear Channel FedEx Nike Tribute to 9/11 Victims! Yeee-haaaaaaaawww!”)
Bottom line, I was not embarrassed to be a fan the way I usually am when an artist I admire plays the Super Bowl. And closing with “Glory Days” might’ve even been Bruce’s sly acknowledgment that with 60 just around the corner, even his expiration date could be looming. I never thought he played that song enough live anyway.
Well, yes, he was out of breath. Not sure what that was about. Just last August, I saw him play a three-hour, five-minute show with no apparent undue physical strain.