THE BLOG
29/11/2013 11:59 GMT | Updated 29/01/2014 05:59 GMT

'High Hopes' for Springsteen's Future

For all those who think Bruce Springsteen is "Dad music that sucks" (a statement that is probably based solely on Dancing in the Dark and Born in the USA), I ask you to search beyond the only two songs you're likely to hear on the radio, because that's when you find the really good stuff. Delve into your parent's record collection and pull out something by Springsteen, because the chances are, you've still got time to make it to a pretty incredible show.

Bruce Springsteen announced the January 2014 release of High Hopes this week, his 18th studio album. This news comes as his seemingly endless 'Wrecking Ball' tour, which began back in April 2012, is still going strong and extended until at least March 2014. Having spent five decades making music I ask, why is he still doing this to himself?

As I queued up at 5am for tickets to his concert, I did wonder if it would all be worth it. I was a 21-year-old female, stood in the freezing cold with middle-aged men, who very sarcastically informed me that "this isn't a queue for One Direction, love", causing an echo of raucous laughter through the streets of Leeds as I made my way to the back of the line.

My age made them skeptical, and an intense grilling then proceeded to determine whether I was a disgusting scum of the earth ticket tout or an honest fan. It felt like a job interview I hadn't prepared for, but once I stumbled through their questions and demonstrated my genuine interest in 'The Boss', I was thankfully accepted into the group. They bought me coffee and entertained me with their impressive bank of Springsteen knowledge.

I collected my tickets and heading back home I wondered if Bruce Springsteen and his band would be over the hill, fading out of their musical prime slowly and embarrassingly like those old men I just spent the most surreal morning of my life with. I could only hope that the concert would be as electrifying as I remembered ten years ago.

But the strange thing was, it was better. So much better than I had ever seen him.

At the age of 64 maybe it is time to call it a day but then again, he's kind of defying the ageing process. He looks physically fitter than he did ten years ago and he doesn't yet resemble a wrinkly old scrotum like Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the rest of The Rolling Stones undoubtedly do.

Springsteen can still crowd surf, play the piano with his feet, fly across the stage and knee slide with guitar in hand. He doesn't disappoint audiences in the same way other living legends might. Bob Dylan for instance now has the voice of someone who sounds like they haven't swallowed for 34 years, and talks his way through songs - failing to emulate his performances from earlier years.

Springsteen's voice remains completely unchanged, somehow preserved and uncannily similar to studio recordings.

What's most astounding though is the fact that he has the energy to perform for three hours every night (minimum - his record is four hours, six minutes in Helsinki). You might pay around £70 for a ticket, but you definitely get your money's worth.

It was evident after the concert that Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band basically don't act their age and that is perhaps why we're seeing the emergence of a younger demographic at his concerts.

After my first and last ticket queuing experience, I naturally anticipated being the youngest person in the arena, surrounded by beer-bellied men who were going to casually nod along to the music and self-consciously force themselves to produce the occasional fist pump.

And yes, there were lots of oldies there, tapping their feet along to the music and desperately trying to cling onto their youth. But alongside them were teenagers and children, who weren't being dragged there by 'uncool' parents but who actually wanted to be there and were singing along to the words. In fact, an entire family in Leeds got pulled up on stage (by Springsteen's burly strength), and it was wonderful to see. Different generations of one family danced around the stage like they were in their living room, just enjoying the moment.

It's something you simply aren't likely to see up-and-coming, or even relatively well-established modern bands do. And the best thing is, everyone is welcome.

The Born to Run album is always going to be an open invitation for the youth to join the party.

So for all those who think Bruce Springsteen is "Dad music that sucks" (a statement that is probably based solely on Dancing in the Dark and Born in the USA), I ask you to search beyond the only two songs you're likely to hear on the radio, because that's when you find the really good stuff.

Delve into your parent's record collection and pull out something by Springsteen, because the chances are, you've still got time to make it to a pretty incredible show.