Freedom Rock

J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 2, 2007; 2:00 PM

Washington Post music critic J. Freedom du Lac is online every Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET to talk about the latest on the music scene: alternative, country, alt-country, pop, hyphy, harp-rock, reggae, reggaeton, R and B and whatever it is that Dan Deacon does.

The transcript follows.

____________________ Springsteen's Magic Casts A Darker Spell

_______________________ The Anthony-Lopez Show; Touring Superstars Rehearse Their Musical, and Spousal, Give and Take


J. Freedom du Lac: So, the Backstreet Boys are hosting a teleprint conference call thingy tomorrow. Who wants to sit in on my behalf?

Let's do this.


Arlington, Va.: Are you still taking blog name suggestions?

I think "Kanye's Blue-Ribbon Pumpkin" has a certain air to it.

J. Freedom du Lac: Blog? What blog?

I've forgotten that we ever had a conversation here about a pop music blog.

In the time since this idea first came up as an official chat topic, We At The Washington Post have launched a blog about television and a blog about death (or, at least: obituaries). At this rate, we'll probably see a blog about killing your television, too, before the launch of The Music Blog Whose Name We Dare Not Speak (As We Don't Yet Have A Name [And Why *IS* It Taking Legal So Long To Clear One, Anyway?}).


Oxford, England: Free-

It's Thom, Jonny and the rest of the boys here. Just wanted to let you know that we're viewing the chat for free today, but we would have paid you 5 quid to view it if we could.

Must go. We have to get back to changing the music industry. Cheers.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yeah, so about Radiohead: The new Nigel Godrich-produced album, "In Rainbows," will be released digitally through on 10/10 (a very auspicious release date if you happen to be Chinese). You can set your own price for the downloadable DRM-free MP3 version of the album. They're also peddling special-edition box sets for, like, $80something U.S. The traditional, physical release of "In Rainbows" won't happen until early 2008, according to the band's publicist. Interesting model, to be sure -- especially with the pick-a-price feature. Releasing the album digitally well before the physical release ain't exactly new, though. Stars did the same thing earlier this year, and I suspect you'll see more and more bands doing it as a way to fight piracy. Since the album is gonna leak anyway before the physical release date, why not make it available for sale as soon as it's done? Not that every band has the sort of built-in audience of a Radiohead -- or even Stars. But still.

And no, I haven't heard the album yet. As you may or may not have read in the blogosphere, Nasty Little Man, the PR firm repping Radiohead, sent out an email blast yesterday saying that there will not be any "advances, promotional copies, digital streams, media sites, etc." of the album.

"Everyone in the world will be getting the music at the same time: Oct. 10. That includes us. We don't have anything to play anyone in the nine days until the record is available. Everyone at nasty has put his or her order in and just to clarify: you are not being asked to pay for a promo (as some have inquired). you can pay nothing or as much or as little as you want. There will be no promotional copies of the discbox either, as each discbox is being made to order. Sorry."

So there you have it.

We'll all be hearing the album at the same time -- assuming you, too, are going to stay up to hear it immediately upon release.


Arlington, Va.: Soooo 1 week to Josh Ritter!'

What can you tell me about Old School Freight Train?

J. Freedom du Lac: Josh Ritter -- I think I've heard of him before. Name sounds familiar. Huh.

Old School Freight Train? Don't know much about them, other than what I've heard/read on their MySpace. They're from Charlottesville. They're doing some sort of intriguing nu-bluegrass thing. And they're not drop-dead-serious: They describe their music as Aoustic/Americana/Crunk.

Oh, those crazy kids. Old School Freight Train on MySpace


Charlotte, N.C.: Hey I know you guys rag on Audioslave... but that guy is a pretty good singer.

J. Freedom du Lac:"That guy"? You mean Chris Cornell? Uh, yeah. Great rock wailer. Love that Tom Morello, too. But -- you might want to sit down for this -- the band broke up. "That guy" is doing solo stuff. The rest of the guys got back together with that other guy, Zack De La Rocha, in Rage Against the Machine.





You can absolutely take Metro to [Etc.] Center. The red, yellow and green lines stop at Gallery Place/Chinatown, which is, like, right under Bruce's dressing room or something. Much better option than driving and parking in that area on a weeknight, and I do believe the second show is on a Monday.

Warning: If you're sitting behind/in front of/next to me during the show and you SPEAK IN ALL CAPS, I *will* tell you to shaddup, just like I did to those idiots on the mezzanine at the Brandi Carlile show last week.


Bethesda, Md.: I was disappointed to read yet another Bob Dylan slam in your paper. Why do you send reviewers who obviously can't appreciate his greatness.

J. Freedom du Lac: Huh. I thought Joe Heim did, in fact, appreciate Dylan's greatness. He just happened to think that Dylan wasn't particularly great at the start of the show. I've heard similiar reports from others who were there. How sharp criticism of the first three songs of the set combined with a bunch of praise equals a slam is beyond me. And I have to tell you, I'm pretty decent at math. I have the SAT score to prove it. Mumblin' in the Wind, and Then Bringing It All Back Home


Augusta, Ga.: Some dude asked the other week, so I'll answer: The Johnny Cash Show DVDs are pretty gosh darn awesome.

J. Freedom du Lac: Thanks. Do you want to guest-host next week?


Washington, D.C.: From last week's chat:

Alexandria, Va.: Come on, you can tell us the truth. JFDL can't make the chat today because he had to go find some Plain White T's concert tickets, right?

Chris Richards: Like I said, beware of the bald scalper in the Nike crosstrainers.

Care to comment?

J. Freedom du Lac: Why would I be out there looking for Plain White T's tickets? If I'm going to enter the scalping biz, I'm loading up on Hannah Montana tickets. People (read: kids and their freaked-out parents) are going absolutely bonkers over those things. So many little girls asking for Hannah Montana tickets for the holidays ... so many young parents now feeling bad for demanding that their own folks get them Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle-Me-Elmos, etc back in the day. Payback's a Disney character, ain't it?


Washington, D.C.: J Free, were you born to add?

J. Freedom du Lac: Now THAT is quality entertainment. (I especially like the comments section, wherein people are trying to decide which one's Patti, which one's Clarence, etc.)


Washington, D.C.: Clubgoing friends of mine keep saying that Britney Spears's career can be entirely saved by a big club hit. How is this possible?

J. Freedom du Lac: Everybody loves a hit. Just ask R. Kelly's accountant.


jenny lewis: saw rilo kiley last thursday at 9:30. who knew jenny lewis played so many instruments? guitar, keyboard, cowbell, and something that looked like a flute with a keyboard attached (what was that by the way?).

i thought the show was great, and from what i read, i definitely picked the better night to go. did you catch either show? what did you think?

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, indeed. I was there that night as well -- 'twas a fine show. And I'm not just saying that because of the gold mini-dress Ms. Lewis was wearing. (But seriously: Rowr.) I have to say, though, that I found her show with the Watson Twins last year at the Birchmere to be much more satisfying. There was a greater cohesion to the set. Plus: Those delicious harmonies! The highlight on Thursday? For me, it was the tweaked version of JL's "Rise Up With Fists!!!" I think I just prefer her songs to theirs.


Rockville, Md.: So, Radiohead. What do you plan on doing about their new album?

$80 for the box set is to much for me considering I don't need the Vinyl. Thing is I generally refuse to pay for digital music.

I'm leaning towards downloading it for free and then buying the album in stores when it's released. (Though I hope it's possible to get that bonus CD somehow).

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm probably going to do an interpretive dance to it.

Surely the bonus CD will surface online, too, no? In the dark corners of cyberspace? A Very Good Friend Of Freedom Rock -- one of those Radiohead obsessives that we all know and love -- is already scheming, as he really wants to hear/have the recorded versions of "Bangers and Mash" and "Down Is the New Up," two songs he just loved live.


Washington, D.C.: Does the CD that comes out today actually have Terry's Song included on it, or will that be released with a later version of Magic? I ask because I thought they had finished recording before Mr. Magovern passed away, so I don't know if there was time to go back and add in that song.

J. Freedom du Lac: I do believe that "Terry's Song" is, in fact, included on the version of "Magic" that's now in stores (and online, etc.). It's the hidden track. It's such a wonderful song -- probably my favorite on the album, because it comes from such a deeply personal place and is so lovingly rendered. The emotion is just so, so pure.


Alexandria, Va.: Favorite song off of Magic? And don't even think about saying 867-5309 (Jenny)! It's getting old, man.

J. Freedom du Lac:"Terry's Song." (See above.)

Second? Probably "Your Own Worst Enemy." The best Brian Wilson song Springsteen has ever done.

By the by, is that song about Bruce and Patti and last year's rumors about their relationship? Discuss.


Arlington, Va.: I think Heim's review of the Dylan show was on target. I completely agree with Dylan (finally) sounding normal during 'Workingman's Blues #2'. And don't even get me started on 'Beyond the Horizon.' It was probably one of my favorite points of the night (that and Masters of War).

J. Freedom du Lac: Thanks, Joe Heim from 15th St NW.

Err, I mean thanks "Annonymous Poster" from "Arlington."


Bob at the Post Pavilion: I was at the show and I thought he sounded ok for a 60 something guy who has spent 40 plus years tearing the heck out of his vocal chords. The first couple of songs were really gravelly, but it's not like Bob doesn't realize this. You could tell he was changing the songs so that they fit his voice better. At least it wasn't a thin wail. There's still power there, even if it sounds more like he wants to sign heavy metal.

He even played his guitar on the first few songs.

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote against Joe Heim at heimj (at) washpost (dot) com.


J Freedom + Hanna Montana: are you going to her show?

is she from montana?

does she sing about big sky or something?

J. Freedom du Lac: I think this should be another one of those side-bet assignments.

Producer D is already going to lose our Van Halen bet. That tour is off the ground and is totally going to make it to DC.


Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.:

So. How much did you pay for the new Radiohead? I paid a pound myself, but I have bought all their other recordings at full price ( OK Computer twice due to theft).

J. Freedom du Lac: I haven't paid anything for it ... yet. Why let them earn interest on my money if I won't be getting the album for eight more days? Damn greedy rock stars.


Columbia, Md.: Fellow music fans, the time has come to mobilize against the talkers at concerts. I saw Iron & Wine at the 9:30 on Saturday and it was a pretty good show. And, rather than just be annoyed by talkers, I decided to confront them. I asked the first offending couple if they would mind not talking so loudly. They rolled their eyes and then walked away. For the second couple, I said "Can you guys please stop talking?" They looked at each other in shock and then left. The woman next to me thanked me. Finally, during the encore (a solo acoustic song), a group of three frat boys were standing near me and talking nonstop. I tapped one on the shoulder and said shut up. It worked like a charm. The moral of the story, if you ask people to stop talking, it might just work.

Of course, this still doesn't solve the mystery of why someone would pay $50+ for a concert and then talk through the entire thing... Maybe I'll ask that question in a few weeks when I go to see the New Pornographers.

J. Freedom du Lac: Here here!

That does seem to be the stock response, doesn't it? Like: How dare you ask me/us to stop yapping about asinine stuff two inches away from your ear during the show? But they usually do shaddup.

I find it especially annoying when people do it at quiet shows, like Iron & Wine. At a Danzig concert, maybe. But still.


Anonymous: Brit needs a club hit? Yeah, I'll swing the club at her.

J. Freedom du Lac: Thankyouverymuch. Be here all week. Try the court of appeals.


McLean, Va.: Greetings Mr. du Lac: During your last chat you were speculating on possible Grammy nominees but you didn't mention Springsteen. Consider: the new album has been well reviewed, the first leg of the tour is sold out, the record is getting good airplay on classic rock radio, and the anticipated Bruce/ESB 2008 Super Bowl performance will certainly increase their visibility. (Notice all the Bruce music being played during NFL programming lately? A tease, perhaps?) Besides, Grammy's recent elder love is no secret, even when the record is not the artist's best work, such as what happened with Clapton, Bonnie, and Santana.

P.S. - I think the opening riff of "Radio Nowhere" sounds like "Don't Fear the Reaper".

J. Freedom du Lac: Well, yeah, he's probably be in the mix -- but not until the 2009 Grammys. The eligibility period is Oct 1-Sept 30. So he missed the cutoff for the ceremony that will take place in Feburary of '08.

Another nomination I heard (from a reader) for "Radio Nowhere" soundalikes: "Message in a Bottle." The reader -- who noted that last chord of "Radio Nowhere" is actually different than "867's" -- pointed out that the Tommy Tutone progression is one of the most common in pop music. Which is actually true.


Silver Spring, Md.: Dylan always takes a few songs to warm up. He peaked a few numbers earlier than your reviewer stated but Workingman Blues was indeed, amazing.

J. Freedom du Lac: More on the Dylan vs. Heim steel-cage death match.


Washington, D.C.: Re: Grammies. Bruce IS eligible for 2008; the vinyl version of "Magic" was released on September 25 for that very purpose.

J. Freedom du Lac: I sit corrected. This is kinda like the movies that open in New York and Los Angeles just in the nick of time to qualify for the upcoming Oscars.

So, then, Springsteen will be eligible for the 08 awards. That Jon Landau is so clever.


Britney: she's gonna die at age 27 like janis

J. Freedom du Lac: This is the first and last time that we'll see Britney-Janis comparison.

By the by, only 17 or 18 more years until Britney is elibigle for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They can have her plaque make out with Madonna's.


Ft Belvoir, Va.: I take in many shows ranging in styles from Joe Ely to Peter Frampton to (soon) Josh Ritter and wondered how you decide what shows to review, and who should review them?

The Elvis Costello concert at the 9:30 was reviewed by Chris Klimek and showed that the right person at right show can result in a review deserving of the praise that the show got.

J. Freedom du Lac: It's a very complicated formula that's been perfected over many, many years by me, my predecesors, a team of skilled editors and a highly paid outside consultant.

More seriously? Once a month, I look over wish lists from our talented freelance reviewers, check back to see who we have and haven't reviewed recently and then start trying to make sense of the upcoming concert schedule. Some matches make perfect sense. Chris Klimek, for instance, has a bit of history with Elvis Costello concerts, and he made a compelling case for himself to do the 9:30 club show. It was the first assignment I booked that month. The result was pretty nice, eh? Elvis, Definitely Alive; Costello Plumbs the Depths of His Songbook For a High-Energy Show at the 9:30 Club


Why someone would pay $50+ for a concert and then talk through the entire thing: These talkers who don't know how to enjoy the moment. That's what going to a concert is all about. You can catch up with your buddies before or after the show. That's what the before or after the show drink is for.

If you're not going to enjoy the show, stay home and play the CD.

J. Freedom du Lac: Or, if you're NOT enjoying the moment, you can just text-message or BlackBerry each other. But yeah - so true. If you want to shout with your friends over a beer in a loud room -- just go to the bar at Brasserie Beck on a Thursday or Friday. You won't leave with one of those 9:30 club hand stamps that takes a Brillo Pad to remove. And the beer selection is waaaaaaay better.


Springsteen? : Can someone please (calmly and not in all caps) explain what is about Springsteen that inspires such a fanatic following? I think I'm a bit younger than the average demographic (22) and my only frame of reference is part of the album Born in the USA and that song The Rising (I know, I know). If I wanted to experience his music a little, what would you recommend? People seem nuts about getting tickets so maybe a live album?

J. Freedom du Lac: You need to go backwards to understand. Start with "Born to Run. If you can see the DVD that comes with the 30th anniversary edition, that would be just dandy. I think you might need to hear the lusty, soulful, cinematic music he was making in his younger years -- when he wasn't all that much older than you are right now -- to understand. The man is a great American poet with so much depth and range. You can hear the greatness in the biting "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and the bleak "Nebraska." If you still don't get it? You can always appreciate his enduring influence, which you'll find in the celebrated recent work of The Hold Steady, Arcade Fire, Josh Ritter, et al.


Raleigh, N.C.: Is Brendan O'Brien a hero or villian? On one hand, he's produced the last three original Bruce albums and some of Pearl Jam's best work. But he's also produced the best work of.....Train?!?!?!?!

I'm really torn -- I have to give him much dap for his work with the Jam, yet it seems to me that anyone who's at least partially responsible for "Drops of Jupiter" and "Calling All Anghelllllels" deserves a sound beating at a minimum. I mean, Rick Rubin never turned up on a Vanilla Ice record, did he?

J. Freedom du Lac: I think he's maybe not as picky about his projects as Rick Rubin. But he does fine work -- even if Bruce DOES sound a bit like Eddie Vedder in his "Radio Nowhere" vocal.


Washington, D.C.: Where do you put 'Magic' in terms of rank against Bruce's other rock albums? I see as near great, but not quite at level of Born to Run Darkness or the River. Can't wait until Bruce and the band hit town next month!

J. Freedom du Lac: Para mi? It's not even close to Bruce circa '75-80.


talkers at shows: What gets me is the ones who'll be quiet for 1 song or so after you say something to them, then when they think you're not giving them the evil eye anymore will start yakking again. (Yes, I'm talking to you, airhead women in the upstairs bar at Wednesday's Rilo Kiley show!) Honestly - if you really need to have a heart to heart talk at full volume about your shoes, do it somewhere else and let those of us who came to see the performers on stage do so. Feh.

J. Freedom du Lac: I think it'd be great if the 9:30 club started handing out printed cards that say something like: "If you really *must* talk at the club, please do take advantage of the basement lounge. OR ELSE.*"

* = Josh The Very Large Bouncer will military-press you into the rafters.


Baltimore, Md.: What's worse than talkers: Some friends of mine had very expensive tix to the Simon & Garfunkel reunion show at Verizon a few years back. And the large group behind them (drunk, natch) sang along with EVERYTHING.

J. Freedom du Lac: That can be a little bit annoying, but to me, it's not quite the same crime. At least those folks are swept up in the moment/the music -- as opposed to being swept up in a conversation about the really cute new dress they just saw at Anthropologie.


Washington, D.C.: Re: Jenny Lewis's attention-getting silver hot pants. Pictures, please.

J. Freedom du Lac: No. We're a family newspaper/Web site/chat room/vacant radio studio.


Columbia, Md.: Any chance that Wilco, Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, Bright Eyes might get a grammy nom? Am I crazy to think that Wilco actually has a shot at a nom (but no chance in winning)?

J. Freedom du Lac: Wilco actually won for best alternative album a few years ago. But if you're talking about the major categories -- album/song/record (aka single) -- I don't see it happening. Then again, Beck once got an album of the year nomination. So who really knows? If I'm putting odds on the abovementioned groups getting an album 'o the year nom, I have Arcade Fire as the favorite.


It must be said...: Neko Case's silver pants were way-hotter.

J. Freedom du Lac: Not to start this whole silly debate anew or anything, but a certain Washington Post contributor out west emailed a photo to me this week of a New Pornographers show in Idaho, and, well ... let's just say that they were serving muffintops on stage. K?


Washington, D.C.: Is Magic automatically better than Lucky Town and Human Touch since he has the E Street Band involved?

J. Freedom du Lac: I think Brendan O'Brien recording Bruce burping in the studio might be better than Human Touch/Lucky Town. There's absolutely no question those are his worst albums by a wide margin, is there?


Raleigh, N.C.: Pretty good review of Magic -- I think it's the best Boss of the Scialfa era.

Have to disagree that "Girls in their Summer Clothes" and "Gypsy Biker" at two of the weakest tracks. I think Girls is a gorgeous slab of post-Beach Boys pop and Biker is a taut and profound rocker that is able to overcome its lame title. In fact, I think "Radio Nowhere" is the weakest track here.

Which means that this is a pretty good album. In fact, I might even go so far as calling it great.

Way to go Bruce.

J. Freedom du Lac: You're not the first person who has disagreed with me about "Girls in their Summer Clothes." The afforementioned Joe Heim has that as one of his favorites. I've listened to the album a bunch, and while my opinions keep shifting around about various tracks -- and even the overall album itself -- I haven't gotten much out of that particular song. Ever.

Very interested to see how "Radio Nowhere" plays live. Triple guitar attack = middle-age rock nirvana. Maybe.


Washington, D.C.: I think what is most disappointing about Girls in Their Summer Clothes is that I was hoping it could be another Sherry Darling, which was a very underrated tune.

J. Freedom du Lac: So there.


Richmond, Va.: Maybe Jenny Lewis was playing a melodica? (there's a picture of one on Wikipedia)

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes.


Washington, D.C.: Actually, several of my friends who are Springsteen fans, like me, consider Human Touch one of his best albums. I tell them they are crazy, especially since one of them doesn't like Tunnel of Love. But yeah, I definitely put those two at the lower end of the spectrum.

J. Freedom du Lac: I bet they think "Self-Portrait" is one of Dylan's best, too.


Athens, Ga.: Saw Bob Dylan & Elvis Costello in ATL the other week. Love Bob. Love his last couple of records and love the old stuff, too. Love that Bob brings a great band with him and prices his tickets way under what artists of lesser stature charge.

But man, his indifferent croaking made me want to die. I can't ignore that fact.

J. Freedom du Lac: But you sorta know that's the deal you're getting when you go to one of his shows now. It's not like you show up expecting to hear the same guy who was singing on "Nashville Skyline." He went up in smoke many, many years ago.


Washington, D.C.: With Magic coming out today, a friend and I were debating some of the Boss's older work. While both agreeing that Darkness on the Edge of Town was by far his best album, we came to differing conclusions about Tunnel of Love. Where do you rank that album among the Boss's body of work?

J. Freedom du Lac: I love "Tunnel of Love." A full album that came from a really personal place. "Walk Like a Man" is one of Bruce's greatest songs, IMO.


Silver Spring, Md.: Are records made during the Scialfa era designated with an asterisk?

J. Freedom du Lac: LOLOLOLOLOLOL.


Severna Park, Md.: You keep saying "Tommy Tutone Tommy Tutone" but doesn't he go by Thomas Tutone now because he wants to be taken seriously as an artist.

You should be on top of these things. It's your job.

J. Freedom du Lac: Funny. Speaking of which, Thomas/Tommy Heath, the band's singer, told the Chicago Tribune about a month back that he was thinking about suing Bruce.


Explanation: So-where WERE you last week?

J. Freedom du Lac: Glen Dale, WV. The poster last week who wanted me to stop writing about country music? You're out of luck, Bub. Coming soon to the pages of The Washington Post: A big-old profile on Brad Paisley. Yeah, baby!


Bruceology: I was very skeptical about The Boss in my teenage years (the 80s), thanks to radio overkill of Born to Run and the whole Born in the USA album. What turned me from skeptic to serious fan:

Nebraska album

Official live box set

Live bootlegs from 1978 and 1980-81 tours

Selected b-sides and unreleased songs (now found on the Tracks box set)

J. Freedom du Lac: And now? You're in DEEP, my friend.


Bob Dylan: So the Post should only send reviewers who rave about someone, instead of giving an honest write up? Bob Dylan may be great, but sometimes his complete performance is less than spectacular. One time I thought he was falling asleep.

J. Freedom du Lac: Apparently, yes -- if we're not guaranteed to rave, then we shouldn't show up. To that end, going forward, Tom Sietsema is only going to review restuarants that are worth 3.5 stars or more. No more popcorn flicks for Stephen, Ann and Desson. And Tom Shales is only going to review shows starring Courtney Cox.


Tunnel of Love: Right up there with "Nebraska" and "Born to Run." Really. Different but equal. The production firmly dates it in 1988, but the songs hold up just fine.

J. Freedom du Lac: Or 1987. But yeah.


Glen Dale, W.Va. : Aaaah. We thought "on assignment" meant hung over.

J. Freedom du Lac: When in Rome...


Silver Spring, Md.: Forgot to mention the talkers at the Dylan show. A bizarre menage a trois of chatty Kathy's sitting in the first row of the Box in L Loge really took the cake for the loudest, most ill informed tools I've ever encountered at a show. The dudes reminded me of that group of guys in the Levitra commercials. I truly hope something good happened for those folks on Friday night. Seeing Bob Dylan wasn't enough for them.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yeesh. There MUST be a way to put a stop to this, short of bringing a Taser to the show(s).


930 Club, Thurs: Hi. Any opinions about Paolo Nutini, playing at the 930 club on Thursday? Worth staying up late on a weeknight?

J. Freedom du Lac: He's an intriguing kid. Nice soulful voice, writes some interesting songs, not sure he's found himself yet as an artist -- but hell, I'm not even sure he can legally put beer on his touring rider yet.


Lo Places: What does J Lo look like in person? Smoke, mirrors and make-up? And what about her most famous body part?

J. Freedom du Lac: Famous body part? You mean the ring finger that's been fitted and fitted and fitted again for all those rocks that she got over the years? Or her (alleged) baby bump?

Didn't see any signs of baby bumpage, either during our sit-down or the bit of rehearsal I caught before getting booted from the venue. But she was wearing a loose-fitting dress during the interview and a pretty loose hoodie during her rehearsal. As for that other bump of hers -- dunno. It, too, was covered.


Alexandria, Va.: Re: talkers at shows. I saw Springsteen in New Jersey on the Rising Tour and got quite irked at these teenage girls who always had cellphone conversations during the older, great songs like "Something in the Night" and "Racing in the Street." I suppose THEY might not understand that Springsteen made music prior to "Born in the USA," but it's those old songs, and the unpredictability of the set list, that make it so great for us long-term fans.

J. Freedom du Lac: Maybe Tasers are okay, after all. Or maybe you should have spilled beer all over their cellphones to try to short 'em. It would've been worth the $10, or whatever beer costs at arenas and stadiums these days.


Washington, D.C.: I'll admit I sang along when the Boss came to town for The Rising tour a few years back. But I don't think I was as bad as the guy a few rows behind me who busted out his American flag boxers during an encore performance of Born in the USA.

J. Freedom du Lac: Which isn't as bad as the flag-bandana-wearing guy who danced wildly in the aisles during Bruce's downshifted blues reading of "Born in the USA" on the "Ghost of Tom Joad" tour.


Atlanta, Ga.: Tom Shales SHOULD only review bad shows. His burns are hysterical.

J. Freedom du Lac: Most of what's on network TV these days qualifies, too. So: He's having quite a field day/era/whatever.


Philadelphia (again): Is there also some rule that we ONLY talk about Springsteen/Dylan today? Y'know some of us listen to other stuff, too. Not that this isn't entertaining, because heck, it's not anymore.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yeah, you're right -- it's getting old. As am I, the longer we hang out here. So let's call it an afternoon. Thanks for stopping by, peoples. And for sharing your thoughts about Bruce, Bob, concert yappers and J-Lo's bubble. Let's do this again next week, shall we?


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