Tramps Like Bruce…

(Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP)

By now, you will have heard that Bruce Springsteen fans have been apoplectic over the news that tickets for his 2023 tour are in some cases going for $4,000 to $5,000. Ticketmaster, which is at least one corporation that the cultural elites do not seem to oppose, has defended the move by stating that it is part of its “dynamic system” allowing it to price “platinum” tickets on a system based on supply and demand. No need to find a scalper outside the venue. You can find one in just a few clicks. But as Bobby Olivier pointed out at, back in 2009, Springsteen and his manager were opposed to a merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation because said merger would create a monopoly. And as Olivier says: “Yet 13 years later, here we are again.”


I have thought quite a bit about The Boss over the years. I was a diehard fan in high school and college. I had every album from Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ right up to Lucky Town. I could even quote most of the songs by heart. By that time, I needed to spend money on frivolous things like food, shelter, and gas. But I had heard the stories of his legendary two-part concerts that tended to wash over to the wee hours of the morning, and the rollicking, sing-along atmosphere and the cathartic moments that moved audiences during “Born to Run” and “Rosalita.” And I was still a fan and seeing him play was on my bucket list.

Many people tend to knock Springsteen’s music as cheap and dismiss him as a low-talent hack. To be honest, I never thought so. I think his appeal to me was that not only did I enjoy the music, but Springsteen also sang about things and people I knew: economic hardship, drag racing, cars that needed to be worked on every morning so someone could go to work, lower-class people who styled themselves as wealthy gangsters, desperation and unrequited love. I experienced many of those things, and there were people in my neighborhood who thought they were bound to make a name for themselves through petty crime. And the fact that coming up I bussed tables in high school to help the family make ends meet, worked in a lumber yard, drove a truck, and hauled emptied trash for a living helped me build a connection with the music.


Frankly,  songs like “Badlands” gave me a lift when I needed it. “Meeting Across the River,” “Johnny 99,” “Open All Night” and “Jungleland” seemed at the time to be songs of genuine human pathos. “Cadillac Ranch,” “Ramrod,” “Sherry Darling,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” and, yes, even that great, grand rock dinosaur “Rosalita” were just fun to listen to, dammit! Too much has already been written about “Born to Run” so I’m not going there.

Maybe I just got older and smarter or maybe as time wore on, Springsteen just sold out, which I think may have been the case. But somewhere around 1992, he stopped being the blue-collar troubadour and became yet another wealthy celebrity who felt entitled to give his opinion on everything. And the deeper Springsteen got into himself, the further away he got from the themes that made people like me love him.

Be that as it may, sometime around 2000, he came to the Delta Center in Salt Lake. And by god, I wanted to check that item off my list, so I ponied up my money and sat in the cheap seats. He played “Badlands” and “Born to Run” and yes, Clarence Clemons was there with his gleaming saxophone, playing incredible riffs and looking for all the world like a demigod, especially when compared to Bruce. I was expecting the hits; I got a few. I was under the impression that it would be one of his legendary two-part gigs, only to see the lights come up and everyone leave after 90 minutes. The myth had grown larger than the man.


Bruce had become wealthy by that point. So wealthy that he was enjoying his lifestyle. No doubt, he still loves his mansion on his 400-acre horse farm in Colts Neck, NJ, which is one of several properties he is said to own. His net worth is estimated at somewhere around $650 million. He went from singing about being an outsider looking at the “Mansion on the Hill” to being the owner.

Despite being a craven capitalist, The Boss has always had harsh words for conservatives, dating back to the Reagan administration. On his Sirius XM radio show just before the last presidential election, he debuted his new single “Farewell to the Thief,” referencing Donald Trump. He declared: “It is time for an exorcism in our nation’s capital.” Of Trump’s previous election he stated: “I thought it was a f***ing nightmare. But it was true.” In a June 2020 interview covered by Fox News, Springsteen said: “I believe that our current president is a threat to our democracy….He simply makes any kind of reform that much harder. I don’t know if our democracy could stand another four years of his custodianship.” He did add that he had a feeling of hope about the next election. He probably still does. He didn’t lose his job, he doesn’t have to pay $6.00 for a gallon of gas, and he doesn’t have to worry about where his next meal is coming from. He is immune to the Biden Revolution. WaPo reported in 2016 that Springsteen thought Trump did not have a grasp on what it meant to be an American and in 2018 told the paper that Trump was deeply damaged at his core. And as the icing on the cake, in 2017 the New Jersey narcissist had the unmitigated gall and the brass cojones to pen a letter of apology to his fans for not doing enough to stop Trump. After all, the delicate balance of democracy must apparently rest on the shoulders of a has-been rock star. Oh blessed Springsteen, intercede for us sinners!


And then there is, of course, the execrable podcast with Barack Obama. You know the one, where he said that conservatives would have referred to Clarence Clemons with the n-word. I’m a conservative. I voted for Trump. I bought Clemons’ solo material. He even inspired me to try my hand at the tenor sax, because I wanted to be like the Big Man. The n-word never entered my mind.

I thought about Springsteen when I lived in oil and gas country and people were losing their homes, and turning their pets into the local shelter because they didn’t have the money to feed them anymore. Those blue-collar Republicans who. in Springsteen’s mind, deserved to lose their jobs because they didn’t run in his high-end circles.

I think about Springsteen now as I see the small businesses that have closed and the growing number of people concerned about how they are going to live, now that his party is in power. I am sure he sleeps soundly at night knowing that the deplorables about whom he used to sing will pay the freight for the Left’s brave new world. No doubt, the struggles of the dispossessed do not reach his ears. After all, they are racist lowlifes. They deserve what they get for not being him.

It’s easy to be a leftist when you don’t have to work for a living and no matter how bad things get, you and your family will remain unscathed.


I remember listening to an interview with one of Springsteen’s keyboard players. I forget if it was Roy Bittan or Dan Federici. Whoever it was, he said that Bruce really doesn’t understand the business side of music. He just writes songs. Bull. He knows who he is, and he knows what he has. And I don’t think he forgot about the working class. I don’t think he ever understood or even cared about the working class in the first place. Some of his material is not exactly reflective of anything but immature self-centeredness. “Hungry Heart” is about a man who abandons his wife and children. “Workin’ on the Highway” recounts the story of a man who takes an underage girl across state lines, is arrested, and now works on a prison chain gang. The protagonist in “The River” complains about having to grow up, be a responsible man, and get a job after he impregnates his girlfriend. “Nebraska” glorifies the 1958 murder spree of Charlie Starkweather.

But, let’s end it on a lighter note. I defer my review of Springsteen to Steve Crowder:


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