Courtesy: Arts Alliance Media/Scott Free/Black Dog
Bruce Springsteen. One name. So many thoughts. Few artists have meant to the music industry what he and his band mates in the E Street Band have—and still mean—to audiences and fellow musicians through their career. Now thanks to film maker Baillie Walsh, audiences get a very special look at just what he and his band mates mean to the world. Walsh has directed a new documentary centered on “The Boss” that is comprised largely of fans submissions. The documentary, Springsteen and I, presents what he and his band’s music mean to fans from the first hand perspective of his fans.
Lots of documentaries have been made over the years that include fan submissions. But it’s rare for music documentaries to consist nearly entirely from the perspective of the fans. It makes this a very special presentation. What’s so interesting in terms of the fan submissions is just how many people from so many backgrounds Bruce Springsteen has reached throughout the course of his career. Audiences see fans from every walk of life. There are truckers, housewives, hopeful musicians, and so many others in between. Just as interesting is the sentiment shared throughout the fan submissions. Every fan notes just how important of a role Springsteen’s music has played in their life. At one point, one fan tells his story of the importance of Springsteen’s music as he drives, and begins to become very emotional. It’s one of the most moving of the main feature’s barely hour plus run time. On the completely opposite end, there’s an appearance by “The King” in one fan story that will have audiences laughing and smiling together. Whereas the previous moment noted was one of the film’s most moving, this moment is one of the most memorable for the wonderful feelings that it will bring about. The story shared by the Elvis impersonator is one of this documentary’s most enjoyable of highlights. There are plenty more highlights that could be shared. But that would mean endless rambling. And that is not what this critic is here to do. However, it does bring about another aspect of the documentary that audiences will enjoy just as much as the stories shared by their fellow fans. That enjoyable secondary aspect of the documentary is the fan and professional footage used for the feature.
The professional footage included in the feature makes up a healthy portion of its live performances. As a matter of fact, the second hour of the feature is nothing but live footage of Springsteen and company culled from over the years. While both the live and “bootleg” footage are combined throughout the first hour of the documentary to help illustrate the stories shared by Springsteen’s fans, the documentary’s more professionally recorded performances complete everything. The second half of the documentary is comprised largely of live performances. It culminates with the now infamous London 2012 performance in which the plug was pulled because the show went past the city curfew. It makes sense as to why the London show was used as the final performance in the documentary. The way in which it went out literally with the lights made for even more impact. That’s because the show didn’t end there. Springsteen stayed devoted to the audience and played one more song before having to leave the stage. It was one last tribute to what it is that makes people love Springsteen so much to this day. Sir Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings) was there along with John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival), Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Street Sweeper Social Club). The footage sound and video were expertly mixed both with this concert and with the others included throughout the documentary’s second half. Even after the concert ends, there’s one more surprise for audiences that takes up the last ten minutes or so of the documentary. It will leave audiences feeling entirely fulfilled, knowing they have just experienced something very special.
The mix of live footage and fan submitted stories makes Springsteen and I more than just another concert documentary or documentary. All things considered, it will be a wonderful experience for any true fan of Bruce Springsteen from start to finish. And it will be an equally welcome addition to any Springsteen fan’s home library when it is eventually released to DVD and/or Blu-ray. But first, it will run exclusively in theaters one time today, July 22nd and again next Tuesday, July 30th. Audiences can check to see if it will play at their nearest theater online at http://www.fathomevents.com/#!springsteen-and-i. Fans in Greenville, North Carolina will get to see this feature tonight at the Greenville Grande 14. Audiences in Raleigh will also get to see it as it will play at the Brier Creek Stadium 14. Fans in the mountains of North Carolina will also get to see the presentation as it will run at theaters in Asheville, Charlotte, Concord, Greensboro, and Salisbury. Tickets for showings can also be purchased online at http://www.fathomevents.com/#!springsteen-and-i.
To keep up with tall of the latest news and more from Bruce Springsteen, fans can follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/brucespringsteen and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/springsteen. Fans can also get all the latest news and notes from Bruce Springsteen on his official website, http://www.brucespringsteen.net.
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