Thursday, April 05, 2012

"The Mission Of The E Street Band Remains The Same"

Those were Bruce Springsteen's words the other night, during a spectacular three-hour tour de force that was the Wrecking Ball tour's DC-area debut.

The set list pretty much speaks for itself, but I'll add in a couple of observations.

Bruce really nailed the tribute to E Street members past. With this tour being the first time on the road without Clarence Clemons, it was unclear how this moment could be recognized appropriately. The band intros, conducted unusually early in the show, put any fears to rest right off the bat. My City of Ruins served as a great platform for welcoming new members and remembering those who are no longer up on stage. And, then, at the very end of the show, the stopping of Tenth Avenue Freeze-out at the key line ("When the change was made uptown/And the big man joined the band") allowed the entire Verizon Center to give it up for Clarence, for what seemed like at least five minutes.

There were not a lot of aficionados in the crowd. The set list featured three rarities dating back to the 1970s, the kinds of numbers that usually have the hard core fans freaking out. The other night it was Seaside Bar Song, Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?, and a full-band version of The Promise, none of which I had ever seen live, despite a ridiculous number of shows in my back pocket. Yet the reaction, at least around our section, was pretty restrained, despite some really outstanding, unexpected performances.

We Take Care of Our Own
Wrecking Ball
Night
Death to My Hometown
My City of Ruins
Seaside Bar Song
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
Jack of All Trades
Trapped
Adam Raised a Cain
Easy Money
She's the One
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The Promise
Apollo Medley (The Way You Do The Things You Do/634-5789)
American Skin (41 Shots)
Because the Night
The Rising
We Are Alive
Thunder Road
* * *
Rocky Ground (with Michelle Moore)
Out in the Street
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
Land of Hope and Dreams
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out

~Steve

PS: These great pictures were taken by White House photographer Pete Souza.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Tenebrae

As this posts, we are on our way over to the Dominican House of Studies to attend their annual Tenebrae service, one of our favorite events of the year. As the flyer for the event describes it...

Come join the Dominican friars in this traditional monastic Holy Week liturgy commemorating the death and burial of the Light of lights, punctuated by the haunting melodies of the Lamentations of Jeremiah as sung on the lips of Jesus Christ weeping over the lost children of Jerusalem.

~Steve

Monday, April 02, 2012

Scenes From Philadelphia Colleges

In addition to giving a lecture at the University of Pennsylvania, we took advantage of a trip to Philly to visit some area colleges. In addition to UPenn, we checked out Villanova, Haverford, and Swarthmore. See if you can match the campus with the school...

~Steve

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Bruce Springsteen, Be True

Total frivolity here, but as this is being posted, we are making our way into the Verizon Center...Bring on that Wrecking Ball!

In a recent car ride, I was spinning through some of Springsteen's back catalog, the songs that never made it onto studio albums. There are some real corkers, especially in that period from the late 1970s through the early 1980s. These were songs that didn't make it onto The River or Born in the USA. Together, they constitute what would have been one of my favorite albums of all time.

So, here it is, what I have taken to calling Be True...

My Love Will Not Let You Down
Rendezvous
Be True
TV Movie
Stand On It
From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)
Lion's Den
Pink Cadillac
Man at the Top
Janey Don't You Lose Heart
Shut Out the Light
This Hard Land

~Steve

Two Hours From DC To Beijing?

We'll stick with Transaero, and 17 hours of flight time, at least for this summer...

ET3.com, Inc., an open consortium looking to implement "space travel on Earth," has begun selling licenses for its Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system, which they claim could take travelers from Washington D.C. to Beijing in just 2 hours, without ever leaving the ground. The company and its advocates say this form of transport is safer, cheaper, greener and much, much faster than planes, trains and cars.

The systems works (in theory) by putting capsules in an evacuated tube, which accelerates up to 4,000 mph in roughly 3 minutes using linear electric motors. Friction is almost completely eliminated, as passive superconductors allow the capsule to "float" within the tubes. The energy used to accelerate the capsules is then recaptured as they slow down. Capsules could drastically range in size according to their contents.

ET3.com says that the system could be used for everything from cargo to human transport and could one day be networked like freeways, both above and below ground.

The consortium says that more than 3 dozen licenses to build the system have been purchased in China and 5 dozen have been purchased in 5 additional countries.

You can click here to access the original story. Happy tubes!

~Steve