Posts Tagged ‘Thom Zimny’

Bruce Springsteen

“WESTERN STARS” My rating: A-

83 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

As a Springsteen geek of longstanding (I reviewed  his first album for the Kansas City Star back in ’73) I approached the concert film “Western Stars” with some trepidation.

In recent years Bruce Springsteen has published a superbly revelatory  autobiography and written, directed and performed a Tony-winning one-man Broadway show.

The trailer for his film “Western Stars” (the title of his most recent album) offers snippets of  our black-clad hero wandering across desert landscapes like a lost gunfighter, determinedly driving a pickup truck down a cactus-lined dirt track and communing with horses, all set to his voiceover musings.

This was worrisome.  Hadn’t Springsteen pretty much gotten it all out of his system with the book and the play?  Was there that much more there to explore?

Worse, the trailer makes it look like Bruce the Entertainer has been replaced by Mythic Bruce the Philosopher King, dropping pithy axioms on his fans. God, he isn’t going to call us all “Grasshopper,” is he?

I’m happy to report that those fears were unfounded. “Western Stars” is a brilliant piece of work, one that will thrill not only fans of the Boss but also more casual listeners (like Mrs. Butler, who pretty much gobbled up every minute).

It is at heart a concert film, with Springsteen and a 30-piece orchestra performing all the tracks from the “Western Stars” album (plus one killer bonus song) in a century-old barn on the Boss’s New Jersey farm.  Downstairs horses paw the  hay in their stalls; up in the loft a select audience hears the album unfold in what appears to be an acoustically perfect setting.


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