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2014 New Orleans Jazz Festival: The countdown begins!

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There are less than 90 days until the oldest and the best music festival in the country begins. The most faithful attendees have anxiously anticipated the lineup announcement and now that the stellar cast has been announced, we must wile away the hours until its time. Doing the daily countdown and reminiscing past fests are some of the activities employed to make the time go by.

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Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is one of the many highly anticipated acts. Bruce and the Band’s history at Jazz fest started with the very emotional appearance after the city had been ravaged by hurricane Katrina. The city managed to pull the event together in spite of the physical hardships placed on it. Mr. Springsteen tailored the show for New Orleans. He had recently finished his album, ‘The Seeger Sessions’ prior to his appearance. One of his strengths as a strong songwriter is his ability to convey some cohesive feelings, emotions, settings and themes that do not feel contrived, and thus provide what feels authentic.
He brought his 18 piece ‘Seeger Sessions’ band to the show that included horns, fiddles, banjos and more! The stage had a full, rich presence even though it was located outdoors. They performed the complete ‘Seeger Sessions’ album plus more. Mr. Springsteen wrote new verses about New Orleans for Blind Alfred Reed’s ‘How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live’, and he dedicated it to ‘President Bystander’.
He adapted 911’s ‘My City In Ruins’ for New Orleans. That brought the handkerchiefs out during both sound check and the concert. The song bonded the emotional impact from the devastation of New York’s 911 bombings with the emotional impact of New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina. This show finalized the determination of the music culture to return stronger than before!

Bruce returned to New Orleans in 2012. New Orleans had repaired a lot of the scars from Katrina, but not all of them. Another appearance from Bruce Springsteen and the band was highly anticipated. How was Bruce going to surpass the last appearance? ‘The Wrecking Ball’ was the new album release. The album has direct references to New Orleans particularly ‘We Take Care of Our Own’ when he sang ‘from the shotgun shacks to the Superdome’.

This was the first show performed since the death of longtime saxophonist, Clarence Clemons. He asked the audience “Are you missing somebody?’ ‘Then raise your voices and let them hear you!’ The 65,000 in the audience roared.

The three-hour show was a higher energy event At age 62, he expends more energy on stage than performers half his age. There was a runway leading from the stage into the audience and at one point in the show, Bruce pulled a young fan onto the runway to sing with him. Bruce has a knack for keeping a feeling of intimacy even with a crowd of 65,000. It was an uplifting experience for all.

Now, two years later, Bruce is scheduled to return to Jazz Fest How he is going to change the show since he has been here so recently? According to the Times-Picayune, Quint Davis, the longtime producer of the fest, resolved to bring the Boss back after David Foster, a member of his staff, introduced Davis to ‘High Hopes’, the title track from Springsteen’s new album. The track was over-the-top and it convinced Davis to bring him back. The fact is that you could see Bruce perform 50 times and you would see 50 different shows!


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