My wife and I finally got around to watching Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show that was released on Netflix on December 18. We would have loved to have seen it live, but the price and logistics made it difficult.
From first line to last bow, the film includes the full length of Springsteen’s theatrical creation. Watching the show on Netflix, while not the same experience as seeing him live, did offer some advantages.
First, the up-close shots of Bruce’s face during the performance allowed us to see his emotions in a way we would have never seen if we were sitting in the theater.
Second, if my wife or I had to take a break, for a snack, a bathroom break, or simply to stretch, it was quite easy to do so while sitting at home. I don’t think Bruce would have stopped the show if I had to get out of my theater seat and hit the men’s room.
Third, if my wife or I felt like singing along with Bruce, there was nothing to stop us from doing so. I’m sure if we tried that at the theater, we would have been shushed, or if it was just me singing, I might have been asked to leave. Perhaps even by Bruce himself.
The show, and the Netflix special, have received rave reviews, and I’ll add my voice to that chorus.
If you’re a Springsteen fan and have Netflix, then just do it. Watch the show, you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re a Springsteen fan but don’t have Netflix, then this is the perfect excuse to sign up; you can even sign up for a free trial, watch Springsteen on Broadway, and then cancel your membership.
If you’re a Netflix member but not a fan of or familiar with Springsteen, then this is a chance to see what the buzz is all about. Who knows, you might become a fan yourself.
And if you don’t have Netflix and you’re not a fan of Bruce, well what can I say, you need to get with the show. Plus there’s no risk or cost for doing so. As noted above, you can get a free trial membership to Netflix and go from there.
In other words, there are no excuses for not watching Bruce on Broadway, via Netflix.
The show is about two and a half hours long, and features 16 of his songs from across his prolific career. There is also quite a bit of dialogue in between the songs, which helps provide additional background for the songs and insights into Bruce’s life. Much of the dialogue is based on his best selling book, Born to Run.
While every song is great and worth listening to, I’ll just share my two favorites, Thunder Road and The Wish. (Note that the video clips below only contain the audio; rest assured that you will see Bruce in all his magic on the Netflix special):
As I’ve noted in previous posts, Thunder Road is not only my favorite Bruce song, it’s my favorite song period. And watching and hearing Bruce sing it on stage in such an intimate setting brought tears to my eyes. One of the highlights of the dialogue that precedes the song is the notion of the “blank page”; so much of life in front of you, with a blank page just laying there, daring you to write on it.
Here’s the dialogue, followed by the song:
But those tears were nothing compared to the tears that were flowing when he sang The Wish. It’s about the love Bruce has for his mom and his mom’s love of dancing. It’s especially poignant given that in the dialogue leading up to the song Bruce notes that his mom, who is 93 years old, has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for the past seven years.
Here’s the dialogue that preceded the song, followed by the song itself.
Thank you, Bruce, for your willingness to try something new, even though it required you to work five days a week!
Bonus for reading this far- The Rising
*image from New York Times