Story 1996-04-24 London, England

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Atlantic City´
´´Thank you, good evening…..(somebody gives Bruce a stuffed toy animal) yeah, just a thing a 46-year-old man needs (chuckles)…. alright (chuckles) a perfect prop, uh, how are you tonight, huh ? (cheers) good to be in Brixton, this is uh….make my little disclaimer right now, it´s sort of a (?)-and-threaten-the-audience (chuckles) it´s sort of a, it´s a night where the music´s real quiet so I need as much quiet as I can get, don´t make me come out and have to start slapping people around like I did the other night (?) ruin, ruin, ruin, ruin my nice-guy image, I don´t like that, you see (chuckles) and if you can, if you can put those little cameras away, I´d appreciate that too….alright (people clap) thank you, thank you, yeah (chuckles)…”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thank you very much….uh, uh….here´s a song about, uh….I think everybody hits a place in their life where you….all your old answers sort of run out on you….the things that….I don´t know….this is a song about somebody trying to be new, a guy gets out of prison and he´s trying to find out how to….find his way inside his own family, find his way into the world, lead what seems like some sort of normal life, I guess….but sometimes the things that….that, that bring you down are the things that make you feel most alive….then you gotta find new things that make you feel alive….that´s not so easy to do, this is called ´Straight Time´….”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´This is a nice little theatre, you know….I like those red lights (chuckles)….here´s a, uh, here´s a (someone: ´Song´) alright, glad to be here (chuckles) here´s a song, uh, probably one of the few pop songs where its protagonist is a, is a shoesalesman and uh, it´s a song about self-knowledge coming too late….which is when it usually comes, unfortunately (chuckles) after you´ve fucked up….”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Mansion on the Hill´
´´(some guy : ´Oi Bruce, I fookin’ luv ya´) I’m being followed, I’m being stalked, folks…. it’s the ´Fookin´ Luv Ya´-guy….I pray at night they don’t let him into the States (chuckles)…”

**24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Pilgrim in the Temple of Love´ **
´´Thanks, there’s a couple of songs I can play right now, I guess one is (some guy : ´Santa !´) yeah, that’s what I was afraid of (chuckles) alright, I, I can see that I’ve touched a chord in this great nation (chuckles) with this next song, you’ve taken it to your hearts in a way I simply could never imagine, folks (chuckles) and uh, it´ll be honor, actually I, you know, I usually say this song´s a page out of my diary and, and, you know, all that stuff that´s not true, I, I lied when I was making that story up, you know and uh…. uh, it´s a complete fantasy….uh….just about, alright (chuckles) oh, ok, here I go….for the uniniated, let me set the scene….it´s a dark and chilly Christmas Eve (chuckles) everybody´s at home all tucked in their little beds (chuckles) snuggling in, alright, but I´m out….(some guy yells) huh ? (chuckles) alright, here we go….this is not a page from my diary, I don´t keep a diary…I fly around in those little airplanes all the time….if I crash, somebody´s gonna find my diary and know what I´m fucking thinking all about….now, songs, they´re what you´re feeling….if you knew what I was thinking, you´d all be (?) to the backdoor right there right now (chuckles) so, anyway, as I said….”

24.04.96 London, England, Red Headed Woman (following ´Pilgrim in the Temple of Love´)
´´(a guy comes up to the stage and gives Bruce a bottle of tequila) Jesus Christ, pal, go back to your seat, will you ? (chuckles)…presents from Santie (chuckles)….yeah, it´s the old ´Fookin´ Luv Ya´-guy (chuckles) so, uh, that was a song, usually, you know….my wife always tells me ´Hey, talk about that in your next interview, Mr.Social Consciousness !´ (chuckles)…so (chuckles) this is, uh ….if there´s any red headed women out there….I know there´s one (chuckles) wait a minute, wait minute, I got it….”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridges´ (following ´Red Headed Woman´
´´(chuckles) That´s for you, Pats (chuckles) oh man….oh….here´s a, uh, song set in the San Gabriel mountains, a mountain range in between, uh, San Fernando Valley and the Mojave Desert, just outside of Los Angeles….Los Angeles´s a funny town ´cause you can go about 25 minutes east and you hit the foothills of these mountains and you´ll go for a 100 miles and there´s just, there might just one little store, there´s a little….a little town up about around 7,000 feet and the rest is just pines and it takes you down on the other side of this desert….but there was a (coughs) group of homeless Vietnam Vets that….that left L.A and set up a camp….a camp out there in the mountains….this is a story about one of ´em who….has a grown daughter who he´s never seen….and she grows up and she comes looking for her dad….and what he, what he tells her….this is called ´Brothers Under the Bridges´…”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´(a woman from the crowd climbs on stage) Whops, good Lord (chuckles)(she whispers in his ear and he autographs something for her)(chuckles) I don´t know what to say about that one (chuckles) well, you got a lucky husband, that´s all I can say (chuckles)….this is a….song about men and women….I didn´t get, uh….I always sort of precede this song by saying, uh….you know, I was in one relationship for 30 years….but it was with a lot of different women, you know (chuckles) but it was the same relationship, you know….and uh….I was very faithful to it, I guess, you know (chuckles) you know, at the end you´re always standing there going ´Hey, what happened ? Uh, what, I don´t get it´, you know (chuckles) but uh….I was lucky, I, I….it only lasted 30 years (chuckles) so….and if you´re lucky, you learn a new dance, you know (chuckles) so….well, this is a song about, I guess, missing it, you know, a relationship where you´re there but something´s alright but ….you can´t keep it or, or yourself from falling apart for some reason….´cause that is what we do….”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Seeds´
´´I´ll try this, haven´t tried this before….”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Youngstown´
´´Oh, couple months ago I was in Youngstown, Ohio and uh….(some guy: ´(?) in New York, you said the same thing´) Jesus Christ, pal, why don´t you come up and do it ? (chuckles)…got some freaking soliloquy going on over there (chuckles)(people yelling at the guy)(the guy in the crowd: ´Brucie, 27th December you said the same thing´)(people yelling at the guy) first of all, I can´t quite understand what you´re saying, my friend (chuckles) second of all, you got about three seconds, three seconds left to say it (chuckles) so….as I was saying I was in Youngstown, Ohio….I played a little townhall and uh…was, I guess about the size of this place and uh….it was funny, I came in and the first thing I noticed was this whole troop of boy scouts….you know, they were the ushers so there was no ´Santa Claus Song´ that night (chuckles) but uh….it was a town where during the whole first half of the century there was….was one of the centers of the steel industry in United States and uh….most of the mills closed down in late 70´s or early 80´s and the town lost about two-thirds of its population and thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs and that night there wasn´t….there wasn´t anybody there that didn´t have a brother or a father or a grandfather or a family member who….had been affected by those shutdowns, families that had lived in that area for generations and generations were….seperated….uh….so this is a song about people that built the buildings that we lived and the bridges that we crossed….uh, really what….what I grew up knowing as America….and who were….told that they weren´t useful any more….that the world had changed and that they were somehow expendable….as a price of doing business….”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thank you, this is Kevin Buell, my good friend, guitar man (chuckles)….we´re friends, are we ? (chuckles) guru, yogi, uh, next presidential candidate, sexual counsellor, financial advisor, alright (chuckles) alright, bookie, alright….here´s, uh, these next four songs are all set in the, uh…in and around the border of California and Mexico….and uh…. I was in Arizona staying in this little motel….was in the fall, I think around….1989 and uh ….desert, low desert, it´s just really beautful in the fall, still real hot and at night, you know, it´s 85 or 90 degrees and, and the air surrounds you and comes up out of the ground….the heat from the day….and it was about 11.30, midnight and I was sitting outside this little motel….and these little towns are all the same out there, there´s….once you get off the interstate and if you stick to the state and county roads, you´ll go 80 miles or 100 miles at a pop and you´ll hit some little….little four-corner desert town where there´s a gas-station, a grocery store….a motel and a bar….all the necessities of human existence there, you know (chuckles) and uh, and they´re, uh, great places to stop…so I was sitting outside this little motel, it was around midnight and these two Mexican men came in from the west and uh, one was a young kid, he was kind of high and they took the room next to ours and the other one was a fellow about my age….and uh….he started looking at our motorcycles, we had our motorcycles parked out in front and he started talking about his younger brother…he had a younger brother who´d died in a….motorcycle accident in Southern California….and uh, a couple months earlier and he sat for about an hour and talked about his kidbrother….and uh….I think that….you know, particularly once you have your own kids, you know, you´re, you´re always thinking about protecting them, the first thing I remember when….was that….along with all the happiness that kids bring, they bring this all new fear with ´em, you know….you realise that from the moment before they´re even out, you´re worrying about ´em and that that´s something new, that´s something that you´re gonna live with now the whole rest of your life, it comes as a part of the package….and uh….I think that that first line of family always feels like it´s to protect and take care of….and when that breaks down….I think that there´s a loss that, uh, that is very, very difficult, if not impossible, to ever completely put yourself back together from….so I was writing a song about these two brothers who get caught up in the drug trade in Central California…the Mexican gangs come up across the border and they….and they hire migrant workers to, to work in the metamphetamine labs, they´re the ones that usually get blown up or busted by the DEA….and uh….as I was writing, this guy kept, this fella´s voice kept coming into my head so I dedicate this every night to my mysterious friend wherever he might be….this is, uh, ´Sinaloa Cowboys´…..”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thank you….this, uh….this next song, this is a song set at the….San Diego border station ….and what you get in Southern California is there´s a lot of young guys that come out of the army…and uh…end up going to work for the border patrol….it´s a real confusing job, I think, uh….there was a Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes that said that since California was Mexico till about 1848 and so that the border there is more like a scar than a borderline…. this is a song about a young….young border patrolman trying to figure out just where that line really is….”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thank you, this uh….this next song is a song about kids and uh….you know, you know how it is before you have your own kids, they´re just, uh, aggravating little bastards, you know what I mean ? (chuckles) and then you, then you have your own….and they´re aggravating little bastards (chuckles) but they´re yours, you know, and uh….you know, I think, I always, I always remember before I had kids, my….my friends who´d just had ´em´d come over, you know, and they sit there and they start talking to you for an hour about like….that the kid took a piss and it went right in the bowl or something like that, you know, and you have to sit there and you go ´Ooh, yeah, really ? in ? right in ? oh, quick, let´s get Guinness Book of World Records on the phone for that one now, let´s call the news´, you know, but you can´t say that, you gotta go ´Aah, fabulous´ (chuckles) and (?) worse that, that they bring ´em over, you know, and uh, I lived by myself for 30 years ….I don´t like anybody touching my shit (chuckles) so the kids come, they start running around and you know how it is, you can´t yell at somebody else´s kid, you know, it´s just ….doesn´t feel right but uh….man….but then you have your own and you get to go over to their house….you know, (whispers:) ´Go, go ahead, go get that, yeah, go on, get that, that, that, that lamp, lamp, oh, oh, the lamp´ (chuckles) you get your revenge, you know but uh ….I don´t know, people always ask you how (?) you know, how´d your life change the most….and….that´s, that´s a funny thing, it starts, I think, from the minute….they´re born, I remember that….my wife´s face when my kids were born, it was the day when all your, you know, all the things that, that you defend yourself with, all those sort of bullshit veils that you put up, you know, they just disappear, I remember walking out from the hospital and, you know, the sun´s on your face and you´re feeling the wind like….it´s different, you wanna yell at everybody to stop shopping or something, you know (chuckles)….and uh, other thing is I think kids, they got a window onto the grace that´s in the world and that window´s wide open and, and for them that grace just come blowing through and when it does, it comes through into your life, you know, ´cause they bring it with ´em and uh, I think that as we grow up, one of the things that happens is that window closes and….it´s not as easy to….to feel, to feel the presence of that grace there all the time, that´s why people, you know, go to films and, I think, read novels and, and go to artwork and engage in bizarre and unusual sexual practices (chuckles) that´s the, uh, to get that grace back into their life, you know, and uh…..but the kids, they just bring it with ´em when they come….and uh, the funny thing is once….once you have your kids, then all kids look different, you know, there´s some, you feel some connection to all of ´em in some different way, you know…. this is a song about kids, uh, some of them 11, 12, 13, 14 years old, still kids, they come across the border into San Diego, running dope or, uh,
end up selling themselves in this place called Balboa Park…this is, uh….I think what happens when that grace gets violated, you know….”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thank you…..thanks….I grew up in a house where….there wasn´t a whole lot of talk about culture, there wasn´t, there wasn´t a lot of books around….you know, everybody was trying to keep their heads….heads above the water, I guess, but uh….when I was….. 26….a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath….and I remember sitting at, at, at the end of the picture and thinking like ´Yeah, that´s what I wanna do´, you know, you do your job and you always hope that your work´s gonna mean something to somebody…and uh….that´s a picture that I keep coming back to….it resonated throughout the rest of my whole, my whole life, that and the Steinbeck novel, I think because the film and the book ask a real fundamental question that….that we answer by the choices that we make on a daily basis and uh….basically a spiritual question, uh…you know, is….is the salvation….is there such a thing as individual salvation….uh….or are we all….caught up together and does our fate rise and fall in some fashion in unison….uh, then how do we go about living our lives….you know, how do you go about trying to….live a good life…. there´s a scene at the end of the picture that….sort of nails this right on the head, you know, Tom Joad´s killed a security guard that´s killed a friend of his….and he´s gonna have to leave his family….and they´ve come thousands of miles….and they´ve left their home and they have nothing and they´re living in this little camp….and he knows he´s gonna have to tell his mother that now after she´s lost her home and she´s lost family members, that she´s gonna lose her son now….but, but that scene is set up by a dance scene….and uh….it´s really, it´s shot very lovely and the music is, is great and the faces of the people and the way people are holding one another….and I always thought that that was Ford holding out….the possibility of beauty….the usefulness of beauty….because where there´s beauty, there´s always hope and where there´s hope, there´s always….divine love or whatever you wanna call it….and at the end of this dance scene Tom comes in and he touches his mother very gently….and he says ´Mama, I´ve gotta go now´ and they step out underneath these trees….and she says ´Well, Tommy, I knew this day would come but how am I gonna know how you are or where you are ? will I ever see you again ? how wilI I know if you´re alive ?´….and he says ´Well, all I know is….I gotta go out and I gotta scratch around and see what´s wrong and see if there´s anything I can do about it to make it right and you´ll see me because at night I´ll be in that darkness that´s surrounding you when you´re sleeping….and you´ll see me and you´ll hear me in men´s voices when they´re yelling ´cause they´re angry….and you´ll hear me in the way that kids sound when they´re coming in at night and they know that there´s food on the table and that they´ve got a home and that they´re protected, that they´re safe, you´ll see me, Mama´….and he disappears off into the…into the night….and the next scene is the Joads heading north for work in the morning and the father says ´What are we gonna do now that we lost Tommy ?´ and the mother says ´Well, we´re gonna keep going´….so this is a song about….the mystery of….that part tha´s just the mystery of human nature….how people, even when they, when they know some of the dark things that the future might hold or they have an understanding of the way of the world….how they return to some sense of faith and hope and belief in love because that´s all that there is…..”

24.04.96 London, England, intro to ‘This Hard Land’
´´Thank you….thanks a lot….alright….here´s a song about faith, hope, love, brotherhood, sisterhood….possibility of some kind of strange community (chuckles)…little tequila on the side, every Western I ever seen….about good longtime friends….how it ain´t over till it´s over…”
(the source tape missing the intro to ´Galveston Bay´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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