Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bruce, Sweat and Tears

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bruce, Sweat and Tears

Article excerpt

WHO: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

WHAT: Rock.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

WHERE: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford; Ticketmaster or

HOW MUCH: $80-$115.


Two numbers: 99 and 1.

As percentages, for the haves and have-nots, they have become shorthand for the "Occupy Wall Street" rage that Bruce Springsteen tapped into for his "Wrecking Ball" tour. The Boss is back, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford (his first time in the new venue), and as of press time, tickets were still available.

But 99 percent and 1 percent have also, famously, been used to refer to something else - something that also applies to Springsteen.

"Genius," Thomas Edison said, "is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." Bruce, who has been referring to himself throughout this tour - with justice - as "the hardest working white man in show business," is the poster boy for that 99 percent.

Bruce works hard. Everyone knows that. He'll sweat and strain through three- and four-hour shows, trying to give his audience a transcendent experience. This summer's "Wrecking Ball" tour, leapfrogging from the U.S. to Europe and back again, has in fact contained the longest shows of Springsteen's career: 3 hours, 40 minutes in Philadelphia (Sept. 3), 3 hours, 43 minutes in Italy (June 7) and a record-breaking 4 hours, 6 minutes in Sweden (July 31).

What few people may have considered is the key role of Springsteen's work ethic - not only in his rise to success, but in the image he's cultivated and the respect he gets.

He just keeps going

"He plays and plays," says Tommy LaBella, a sax player from Neptune who has appeared with Springsteen at a number of charity events. "We'll do benefits - I mean, it could be 400 people - and he performs over three hours, and gives it up just as much as he does if he's in front of 30,000."

Nor does his work stop with the length and intensity of his performances.

He's known to individually sound-check every section of every venue he plays. "Because there's some guy sittin' back here, and he's got a girl with him, and you know, it's like, this is their seat," Springsteen has said.

His body-building routine, even at the age of 63, is obviously intense. His discipline and focus in the studio are legendary. And his songwriting output, from his earliest days, has been prodigious.

Fewer than half the songs he's written, says biographer Marc Dolan, have ended up on major albums. "Another 15 percent are songs that haven't been officially released, but that people know," says Dolan, author of "Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock 'N' Roll."

"Another 25 percent are songs all the Springsteen fanatics know. And 10 percent, you have to be really, really into him to know. …

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