Story 1996-04-25 London, England

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Atlantic City´
´´Thank you….well, uh, glad to be here, I wanna say, just wanna make my disclaimer: the songs are real quiet tonight so I need a lot of quiet from the audience, I had to come out and take names last night and it really slowed the show….so….I´d appreciate that and if you can put those little cameras away, I´d appreciate that, and if you feel like cheering me on during a song, I´ve done some drugs and I´m feeling mighty confident so I really don´t need it, alright (chuckles) and it´s a community event, so if somebody around you is making too much noise, feel free to band together and ask them to shut the fuck up….(?)(chuckles)….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thanks, this is a, uh….this is a song about somebody trying to figure out a way to be new ….I think that everybody reaches a place in life where their old answers run out on them…. and you sort of either die on that spot, I guess, or you figure out some way to be new….this is about a fellow who gets out of prison, he´s trying to find his way into the world and into his family life….and to have something else sustain besides the things that he knows….but it´s hard to leave those things behind….this is called ´Straight Time´….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thank you….this is a song, I guess, about acquiring some self-knowledge, not easy to do ….uh….when I was about 22 or 23, I felt like I had acquired a shitload of it (chuckles) but that´s always proof that you have very little self-knowledge at all (chuckles) the more of it you have, the less of it you have, the more of it you think you have and unfortunately usually it comes around….just after you´ve really fucked up (chuckles) anyway, this is ´Highway 29´….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´The Wish´
´´Thank you….I´m gonna do a song now that, uh, I wrote for my mother, wrote it about ten years ago, didn't have the nerve to play it….it’s kind of a business of men…in rock, rock and roll, like, singing about your mother, that´s….doesn't go down that well…you can sing about fucking your mother, that's alright….that's the kind of sad business this is….and it's different in every country, go to Italy, like I was in Italy a couple of weeks ago….they know a lot, they know a lot about loving their mothers in that country….now, I was in Scotland….it was the day after that big tournament….I don't know what fucking tournament it was….some big sports event - I don't follow that sort of thing….a lot of people got pretty high - obviously they had mothers to go home to….in the U.S.A, it´s reserved strictly for country singers and gangsters, mother-loving….´course here in England….you got the Queen Mother….as Saddam Hussein would say, ‘The mother of all mothers’….and, uh, she has suffered the vicissitudes of motherhood in the past few years.…and my mother was upset when I got divorced (crowd laughs and applauds) but she's kind of, you know, all-present, on the way here I, I passed a Queen Mother's Sports Studio…I guess that's where she pumps iron…. alright….on with the entertainment…so….for all you mothers out there (chuckles) and mother-lovers (chuckles) …´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´If I Should Fall Behind´
´´Ah, yeah, the Italians are here tonight (chuckles) mamma (chuckles) well, alright, this is for, uh….this is for Malcolm and Brenda (chuckles) if you´re out there (someone yells: ´Right here!´) oh! (chuckles) no (chuckles)….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridges´
´´Thanks, but don´t blame me if it don´t work out (chuckles)[apparently directed at Malcolm and Brenda]….this is a song set in the San Gabriel mountains, it´s a mountain range in-between….San Fernando Valley and Mojave Desert….and, uh, Los Angeles is funny ´cause you get about 25 minutes outside of the big city and you get in the foothills of these mountains where there´s one store for and a small town for about a hundred miles….and they go about seven thousand feet above the Mojave desert and takes you down on the other side ….there was a group of homeless Vietnam veterans that set up a camp out there in the mid-80s, they left the city and uh….this is a story of one of them that had a grown daughter that he´s never seen and she grows up and she comes looking for her dad….and, uh, this is what he has to say to her, this is called ´Brothers Under The Bridges´….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´This is a song about men and women….very complicated….but necessary (chuckles)….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Spare Parts´
´´I remember when I was a kid and first….music felt so powerful to me that I thought that, boy, if you wrote the right song or did the right thing, you could….change the world and I grew up in a generation where a lot of people felt like that, whether it was arrogance or not, I don´t know (chuckles) but it seemed possible….I think, as you get older, the world can seem so unchangeable, you see the same old blood and hatred and it can seem so intractable and you can forget what´s possible….this is a song about somebody who changes and saves the part of the world that, that they can touch….that´s not so bad….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Point Blank´
´´Thank you….(someone yells ´Bruce, I fooking luv ya!´)….thank you, Sir (?)….I´ll try it….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´Thanks, this, uh, Kevin, my friend (?)….financial advisor, guru, yogi, sexual counsellor, bookie….diarist…biographer (chuckles)….these, uh, these next four songs are all set on…. California-Mexico border….(?)….and uh….I was in this little Arizona town and it was about, uh, 80 miles east of….California border, I guess, it was an old desert town and, uh, you know, there´s always a gas-station, a motel, a grocery store and a bar - necessities of human existence and uh, it was a beautiful night, it was in the fall, fall of ´89, I was sitting out about 11.30 at night, it was one of those fall, low desert, it was real warm, like 85 degrees at midnight and the heat of the day is coming up at you from the ground….and these two Mexican men came in from the west, driving a truck and one was a young kid and one was a guy about my age, you know, and he come over and started looking at our motorcycles and we started talking, he´d had a younger brother who´d died in a Southern California motorcycle accident a few months earlier and he sat and talked about him for an hour….and I think that once you have your own kids, that first thing I remember when my life felt really different was, along with all this happiness and excitement, there was this new fear (?) ´cause you´re always worried about protecting ´em….and….I guess that always like it´s the first line of family to take care of, take care of the ones that come after you and when that breaks down….whether it´s your fault or not, it´s hard to live with, hard to figure out how….to heal yourself….well, I was writing a song on California drug trade, uh, Mexican gangs come up and hire migrant workers in the Central Valley to work in the metamphetamine labs and they´re the ones that get blown up or busted by the D.E.A, it was a song about two brothers and I was, years later I kept hearing this fella´s, the sound of his voice in my head….so I dedicate this to my mysterious friend….this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´The Line´
´´Thanks, this next song is set on the San Diego border station, you get a lot of young guys that come out of the army and they end up not knowing what to do, going to work for the California border patrol….and, uh, it´s a confusing job, I think that…..California was Mexico till about 1848 so the border, a Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, he says the border is more like a scar than a borderline….this is about a young highway patrolman….trying to figure out where that line, just where that line really is….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´This, uh….this is a song about kids, this next song….and uh, you know, before you have your kids, they sort of seem just like aggravating little bastards, you know (chuckles) and then you….have your own and they are aggravating little bastards (chuckles) but they´re yours (chuckles) and uh….people always ask you what´s the, what´s the biggest way that your life´s changed….well, my room, it used to be so nice and neat (chuckles) nah, it always a mess (chuckles) now it´s twice a mess ´cause they like to come in, you know, and run around and I´ve got three under the age of six so if they get into one room at one time….good Lord (chuckles) I just sit back and go ´Go ahead´ (chuckles) well, I think that the funny thing about, about ´em is that kids got a window that´s opened to the grace that´s in the world…. and, you know, they haven´t closed up yet so it´s open for them and they, they bring that into your life just by being there, just by, uh, I guess it´s the definition of kind of a happy mess, you know what I mean (chuckles) it is a happy mess….and I think that as you get older, that window closes down and you don´t have the access to that grace that maybe came through so easy sometimes when you were a kid….and that´s why people, I always say, people go out and go to films or read novels or seek out art or listen to music or engage in bizarre and unusual sexual practises (chuckles) to bring that grace back into your life, one way or the other (chuckles) and uh…..this is a song about, a funny, a little funny thing about kids, I think, is that once you have yours, they all different, you know, you feel some connection to all of them and if you pick up a paper and….you know, anything´s happened to children, you always….they, I don´t know, they all become yours in some fashion, this is a song about kids that cross the border into San Diego, eleven, twelve, fourteen years old and they come cross the border there and they´re running drugs or they sell themselves in this place called Balboa Park, this is what happens when….that grace gets violated….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thank you…..when I was fifteen or sixteen, still living at home, I lived in a house where there wasn´t a whole lot of talk about culture or art or books….and the first thing that ever sort of opened me up was music, you know, my always had the radio on in the morning in the kitchen and I remember when I was a little kid, you know, there was always something in the, in the way those singers sounded, you know, filled with life, and, uh….(?) reading in high school, you know, it´s….kind of goes by….when I was 26, pretty old but pretty late than never, a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath….and I remember sitting there after it, thinking ´That´s what I wanna do´, you know, you want your work to mean something and it´s a film I keep coming back to and the novel, Steinbeck novel, I think it asks a real fundamental question that we sort of answer by the choices we make every day ….you know, which is, uh, I think it´s the question, is salvation individual, you know, can you….just save yourself or is everybody connected in some fashion that everybody´s fate, spirit rises and falls together….uh….there´s a scene at the end of the picture that captures that for me, you know, and….whenever I sit around, wondering where all that is in me….I always think back to, uh, at the end of the picture, Tom Joad´s killed a security guard that´s killed a friend of his and he´s gonna have to leave his family….and he´s gonna have to tell his mother that she´s gonna lose her son after she´s already lost her home and they´ve come thousands of miles and they have nothing….but right before that scene there´s this little, there´s this dance scene in this work cap and it´s shot very lovely, people´s faces, the music, the way everyone is moving and holding one another….and I always thought that that was Ford holding out the possibility of beauty even in a very brutal world and holding out the usefulness of beauty….and how important it is to teach our kids to be able to recognise it ´cause where there´s beauty, there´s always hope and where there´s hope, there´s divine love or whatever you wanna call it, you know….and at the end of that dance scene Tom slips into his mother´s cabin and touches her gently and says ´Mom, I 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 if you´re alive, how am I gonna know if you´re well, will I ever see you again?´….and he says ´Well, all I know is I gotta go out and I gotta kick around and see what´s wrong and see if there´s anything I can do to make it right and you´ll see me because at night I´ll be in that darkness that surrounds you when you´re sleeping….and I´ll be in the way that men sound when they´re yelling ´cause they´re angry….and you´ll hear me in the way that kids sound when they´re laughing, coming in for dinner and they know there´s food on the table and that they´ve got a home and that they´re safe,´ he says ´You´ll see me, Ma´ ….and he disappears off into the night and the next scene is the Joads heading north looking for work and the father says ´What are we gonna do without Tommy?´ she says ´Well, we´re gonna keep going´….so this is a song about….how people return to, uh….some sense of faith or hope or belief in love - that´s how they keep going….that´s all that there is…..´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´This Hard Land´ (following ´Does This Bus Stop…´)
´´For any old fans out….alright, this is about faith, hope, love, brotherhood, sisterhood (chuckles) all these things are hard to come by (chuckles)….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´No Surrender´
´´This is for all the young fans out there….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´(?)….thank you….I wanna thank you all for coming down to the show tonight, thanks a lot ….and uh….I always say this is music that means a lot to me, to be able to come out here and have the kind of co-operation and, and the quiet means more to me than, uh, 60,000 people standing on their seats so I wanna say it´s a great (chuckles) it´s a gift that you give me so I wanna say thanks….alright, this is a song that´s, uh, sort of, I guess it´s at the heart of (someone yells) it´s the last song I wrote for the Tom - yeah, I´m gonna ask you guys up front to cool those little flash cameras for this song, I´d appreciate it, uh, this is the last song I wrote for the Tom Joad-record, it was sort of….a song where I was trying to find some, bring some light into the record…´s based on an incident that happened, a series of incidents that happened on the Gulf Coast of Texas in the mid-80s, at the end of the Vietnam War, there were a lot of Vietnamese refugees that moved into the Gulf Coast area and they went into the fishing industry and, uh, there was a lot of hard feelings and tension between the Vietnamese fishermen and the Texas fishermen, many of whom had served in Vietnam ….here´s ´Galveston Bay´….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´The Promised Land´ (following ´Galveston Bay´)
´´[during the line ´My friend, you´re a dead man´ someone in the audience applauded and yelled something about Hitler]….Just, just for the record, the guy that applauded in the first spot, you got it all fucking wrong (crowd cheers)….´´

25.04.96 London, England, intro to ´Blowin´ Down The Road´
´´Thank you….gonna bring out some friends of mine, we got one more for you….a friend of mine from way back, Mr.Elliot Murphy and Joe Grushecky….´´

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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