Retour sur le mini-concert « secret » de Bruce Springsteen à la Maison Blanche le 12 janvier 2017

Avec retard, voici quelques informations sur le mini-concert acoustique que Bruce Springsteen a donné à la Maison Blanche le 12 janvier 2017, en hommage (« farewell ») au Président Obama, en présence de 250 personnes de son staff.
La remise de la Presidential Medal of Freedom à Bruce Springsteen par Barack Obama le 22 novembre 2016 – photo

Ce concert est resté secret pendant plusieurs jours, jusqu’à ce que Backstreets révèle le 19 janvier qu’il avait eu lieu … Comme quoi tout ne se sait pas toujours tout de suite en cet âge de l’information immédiate…

Voici des extraits du récit d’un lecteur de Backstreets qui a la chance d’y assister.

The January 12 event, which feels like a fever dream now, was a thank you for current White House staff with a full eight years in the Obama Administration. We lined up at the southeast gate, behind the Treasury building, and they started letting us in a little after 7pm. There was a lovely reception in the State Dining Room for an hour or so. The vibe in the room, and all night, was very familial. The crowd consisted of people who had worked together for years (I’d estimate 200 or 250 in attendance), and it was nice to see many happy reunions and farewell hugs. There were no special celebrity guests or anything — just staff folk and their significant others.

Bruce opened with a very brief note of thanks to the President and the staff who were being honored before launching into « Working on the Highway. » That opener led into an incredible « Growin’ Up » for a lively start, but not much of the set was so upbeat, with haunting readings of songs like « My Hometown, » « My Father’s House, » and « Devils & Dust. » The mood in the room the whole night — both reception and concert — was not exactly somber, but it wasn’t festive, either. It was elegiac, I’d say. There was a clear sense of something ending, both with the conclusion of an adventure for the staff and the silent presence of the coming political transition. Bruce’s demeanor was definitely in line with that overall vibe.

Springsteen spoke between most of his selections, talking about politics a bit before « Born in the U.S.A. » and calling it a « protest song, » one that had been misunderstood before and would be misunderstood again. Before « The Wish » he referenced the President’s own family and talked about how he’d written this one for his mom, who now had dementia, but had taught him so much « about how to be in the world. » Bringing Patti up for « Tougher Than the Rest, » Bruce talked about the example set by the President and First Lady through the tough years of the Administration and dedicated this one to them. Patti remained onstage for « If I Should Fall Behind. »

« Long Walk Home » — pause a moment and consider this recent masterpiece actually being performed in the White House — was preceded by commentary about being in a difficult moment and maintaining optimism. And then a masterful final pairing of « Dancing in the Dark » and « Land of Hope and Dreams. » There was no gap between these two, as Bruce segued right from one to the next. « Dancing » did get almost somber and dark in a way that I’ve always thought those lyrics merited. The song has some of my favorite Bruce lines, actually, and this was the performance of a lifetime, wrenching and taut, with self-doubt and anxious fire on full display. « Land of Hope and Dreams » was the perfect, fitting closer.

A few final words of thanks from Bruce, and then President Obama hopped on the stage. He thanked Bruce in turn — something to the effect of, « he’s been with us for some time now, performing his craft to show his support. »


Ci-dessous, la setlist

1. Working On The Highway
2. Growin’ Up
3. My Hometown
4. My Father’s House
5. The Wish
6. Thunder Road
7. The Promised Land
8. Born In The U.S.A.
9. Devils & Dust
10. Tougher Than The Rest (with Patti Scialfa)
11. If I Should Fall Behind (with Patti Scialfa)
12. The Ghost Of Tom Joad
13. Long Walk Home
14. Dancing In The Dark
15. Land Of Hope And Dreams

Ci-dessous, une vidéo qui résume les grandes lignes de l’événément.


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