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Springsteen's new song Radio Nowhere


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In an exclusive Backstreets interview, Springsteen talks about the tour and says Magic was "built for it."

The release of Bruce Springsteen's Magic isn't the only thing to look forward to on October 2 -- there's magic in the night, too, as an extensive E Street Band tour kicks off that evening in Hartford, CT.

The opening leg has Bruce and the band playing 16 North American cities through November 18 in Boston. Just after Thanksgiving, a European jaunt with 13 stops begins in Madrid and runs through December 19 in London. [For the full itinerary, see our Tour/Ticket info page]

Springsteen and the E Street Band played a brief series of dates in 2004, but their last full-scale outing was the tour for The Rising in 2002 and 2003. Since that time, Bruce has continued to tour extensively: as a solo artist in 2005, and with the Sessions Band last year, playing, as he put it at the time, everything that leads to rock music, but not rock music.

Reminded of that now, Springsteen says emphatically, "Yeah -- I'll be playing the rock music this time. " He laughs, adding, "In case anybody's wondering."

Speaking with Backstreets by phone as tour preparation gets underway, Springsteen makes it clear that he tapped his rock side for Magic, an album meant to be played live: "It's just built for it," he says. "I wrote with a lot of melody, and with a lot of hooks, and there's a lot of band power behind the stuff that I wrote this time out. So I'm excited to hear that come straight off the band."

The 2007 E Street Band line-up will be the same as in 2002-2003 -- including violinist Soozie Tyrell, a veteran of the Rising tour and of last year's Sessions Band. Though not mentioned in today's press release, Springsteen confirms, "Soozie will be with us."

He still raves about the Sessions Band -- "a tremendous discovery, and just such an amazing group of musicians" -- and says he looks forward to working with them again. But when he refers to "the band," it goes without saying that he means E Street.

"The band is the band, you know?" Springsteen says. "It's the only place where I really do the thing that I suppose that I'm most known for, which is... it's a peak experience."

For Springsteen, transition between styles is second nature. He's been doing it to a large degree since 1982's Nebraska, his stark solo record between the big E Street blasts of The River and Born in the U.S.A. As his sonic repertoire expands, his commitment to performance -- whatever the sound may be -- remains constant.

"For it to be really great, you've got to be 100 percent committed at that moment. So when you're in it, that's all there is," he explains. "I think that's what it takes to be really good. So I'll just lose myself in whatever form I'm working in at any given moment. And the other things seem distant: 'Oh yeah, I like to do that too, and I like to do that too...' But really, I'm very comfortable moving between all the different formats that I play in now."

In fact, it's much like -- and as easy as -- shifting gears. It's no surprise to hear Springsteen employ a car metaphor, with the E Street band as the hotrod, as he looks toward reconvening the band for tour rehearsals.

"First of all, we start playing just to feel the machine again," he says, describing what happens after they initially plug in. "You've gotta drive it a little bit before you push the envelope on it." While Springsteen recorded Magic with the E Street Band, the studio process had them laying down tracks individually; September rehearsals will bring them back together to work up the new material as a unit. "We may run through a few things we know, just to reacquaint ourselves with the sound and the power of the band. How it moves underneath you, and everything. That's sort of the first thing I do, I refit myself into that bucket seat. 'Oh yeah, okay, now I remember...' And that takes all of about 15 minutes."

After that? Well, it's early enough that he's not ready to say. "I don't really go in with any rigid ideas. I'm interested in seeing where the music is going to take us and where the band feels best.... I think the initial thing you try to do is to find a place for a lot of your new work. I'm excited about that. We played a lot of The Rising on the [2002-2003] tour because, once again, it was stuff that just played really well live. We've got that again in spades on this record.

"And then you've got to see what people respond to. I have a good idea, but it's still a conversation with your audience. And when they start listening, and talking back, then different things come to the front."

How about "The Price You Pay," from The River, which hasn't made a setlist since 1981?

"It's become a thing just because I haven't played it," Bruce laughs. "If I had played it, nobody would give much of a damn if they heard it or not! Just because it hasn't been played.... You know, my recollection is that it's been a while since we've played 'Crush on You.' And I'm not sure that one's going to be popping up in the set any time soon, either, you know?"

But it could, and that's one of the things that has had fans itching for the E Street Band to hit the road again -- the idea that anything can happen. "We leave the door very open, because over the course of a long tour, we end up playing so many songs.... obviously, we try to make the shows unique. I've got a lot of songs that I'm carrying around at this point, and it's fun to get to them as the tour goes along."

When Springsteen got the band back together in 1999, part of the joy of the reunion was the very fact that everyone was able to reunite. Sure, available, and arguably playing better than ever, but at a very basic level, alive. Many bands haven't been so lucky, a quarter-century down the road. Another eight years along, gearing up for the Magic tour, it's still the case.

"That's something that you become more grateful for as time passes," Bruce says. "You know, I just lost Terry [Magovern], my great friend of 23 years. That was a big loss. And so you're aware that things are finite. The band really did take care of one another over the years, and like I've always said, it's one of the things I'm proudest of. And I continue to be. I mean, there are a lot of ways that life can take you, and you never know what tomorrow brings. So to have that kind of stability -- and not only that, but also that the personal relationships remain so thoroughly enjoyable -- it's a great gift."

All things being finite, does it enter his mind that this could be the last time out? A "farewell tour"?

"Oh, I'll never do that, man -- you're only gonna know that when you don't see me no more."

Of course, no doubt -- but for the E Street Band as we know it?

"Hell, I don't know," Springsteen laughs. "I envision the band carrying on for many, many, many more years. There ain't gonna be any farewell tour. That's the only thing I know for sure."

-interview by Christopher Phillips

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Date Venue City On Sale

Oct 2 Hartford Civic Center Hartford, CT Sept 8

Oct 5 Wachovia Center Philadelphia, PA Sept 8

Oct 9 Continental Airlines Arena East Rutherford, NJ Sept 10

Oct 10 Continental Airlines Arena East Rutherford, NJ Sept 10

Oct 14 Civic Centre Ottawa, ON Sept 17

Oct 15 Air Canada Centre Toronto, ON Sept 17

Oct 17 Madison Square Garden New York, NY Sept 10

Oct 18 Madison Square Garden New York, NY Sept 10

Oct 21 United Center Chicago, IL Sept 8

Oct 26 Oracle Arena Oakland, CA Sept 15

Oct 28 Venue TBA Los Angeles, CA TBA

Nov 2 Xcel Energy Center St. Paul, MN Sept 22

Nov 4 Quicken Loans Arena Cleveland, OH Sept 15

Nov 5 Palace of Auburn Hills Auburn Hills, MI Sept 21

Nov 11 Verizon Center Washington DC Sept 21

Nov 14 Mellon Arena Pittsburgh, PA Sept 14

Nov 15 Times Union Center Albany, NY Sept 8

Nov 18 TD Banknorth Garden Boston, MA Sept 22

Nov 25 Palacio De Deportes Madrid, ESP Oct 2

Nov 26 Bilbao Exhibition Centre Bilbao, ESP Oct 2

Nov 28 Datchforum Milan, ITA Sept 10

Nov 3 Geldredome Arnhem, NED Sept 8

Dec 2 Sap Arena Mannheim, GER Aug 31

While August 31 is the official onsale date, you can pre-order for German shows now at getgo.de or eventim.de

Dec 4 Oslo Spektrum Oslo, NOR Sept 3,

9 a.m.

Dec 8 Forum Copenhagen Copenhagen, DEN Sept 3,

10 a.m.

Dec 10 Globe Arena Stockholm, SWE Sept 1

Dec 12 Sports Paleis Antwerp, BEL Sept 8

Dec 13 Koln Arena Cologne, GER Aug 31

While August 31 is the official onsale date, you can pre-order for German shows now at getgo.de or eventim.de

Dec 15 Odyssey Arena Belfast, IRE Sept 6

Dec 17 Palais Omnisports De Bercy Paris, FRA Sept 7

Dec 19 O2 Arena London, UK Aug 30

An O2 pre-sale begins on August 29 at 9 a.m.

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Aye, God, Bruce who? His only real claim to fame was collaborating with and kissing Patti Smith's feet. Only his acoustic is worth anything. He sucks. Get over it.

Why don't you tell everybody what you really think about him?

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