Story 1996-10-21 Tempe, AZ

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ‘Atlantic City’
´´Good evening….it´s nice to be back at the Gammage….I seem to remember wrecking this place as a young man….yeah, something about the balcony, I don´t know….I´m sure they got it all fixed by now, fortunately…and uh, I don´t really encourage any dancing but there´s a part of the night where I segue from ´Nebraska´ into the ´Macarena´, I´d be a little careful up there….I´d watch myself on that one….I don´t wanna see nobody coming over the side (chuckles)….but uh, nice to be here, just to lay the groundrules a little bit, a lot of the music´s really quiet tonight so in order for me to give you my best, I need as much quiet as I can during the songs (?) I don´t really need to be cheered on during a tune, I´ve built up quite a bit of confidence over the years and it´s….served me pretty well….it´s a community event so if anybody around you´s making too much noise, don´t feel shy about banding together and leaning over and very politely asking them to shut the fuck up, alright (chuckles) that, uh, keeps me from having to come out there and start slapping people around and ruin my whole man-of-the-people image, I can´t do that….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´(?)…this is a song about changing….I think, uh, sometimes the older you get, the harder that gets to do….but uh, this is a song about a fella that comes out of prison and he´s trying to find his way back into his family and back into the world….and he´s trying to learn how to be new….uh….that´s pretty hard to do but uh….I think particularly when the things that always felt like….they gave you….some sort of life were the same things that ended up dragging you down, so this is called ´Straight Time´, everybody´s done a little of that….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´Thank you….this is a, uh….this is a song I guess about….insight is expensive, you know and uh, particularly sudden insight ´cause sudden insight usually only comes after you´ve just fucked up very badly….that´s when you go ´Woh´ (chuckles) ´I can´t do that´ (chuckles) ´I know myself now´ (chuckles) you know….this is called ´Highway 29´….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´Sell It And They Will Come´
´´Thank you (someone yells: ´Freehold !´) hey, so what, alright (chuckles) why people are compelled to shout the names of cities and towns, I, I don´t know (chuckles) but uh…..I´m gonna write a song that´s nothing but names of cities and towns….and you lay your goddamn bucks….one more time (chuckles)….then you write in and I´ll send you your copy back with your name inserted in the middle of your town (?)(chuckles) damn, nobody thought that one yet ! (chuckles) so there I am, I´m out going to all these different cities and towns and uh….I can´t sleep at night, of course, you know….that´s uh, time change and… know, I´m used to, I get up with the kids when I´m home and then when I come out, I revert to the old ways, you know, and uh, so I´m up in the middle of the night….so I´ve been trying to figure how to go to sleep so I got me some of those Enya-tapes….and uh… wife says ´Put on those Enya-tapes, they´ll put you right to sleep´ so (chuckles) so I put on an Enya-tape and I´ve been playing them for months now and I can´t figure out what the hell´s she singing about there (chuckles) I don´t know, it sounds good, but I just don´t know what she´s saying, she could be saying anything (chuckles) but uh, it doesn´t really work, you know, (?) myself wake up at odd hours, I woke up like 7.30 this morning and I just like lean over and I turn on the TV and I was alternating between ´Crunch´ and CNN (chuckles) but uh….so I´m sitting there in the middle of the night, usually with the television on and I fall asleep on the couch and I wake up….and it´s my opinion that, uh, while you´re sleeping the television is sending subliminal messages into your cerebral cortex because it explains couple of things, it ezplains, uh, why so many people believe they´ve been abducted by aliens….and uh, another thing it explains is why you wake up sort of wanting strange things you never wanted before, you know, those informercials are on there, I think I wake up like about ´Oh, it´s 3.30 and I feel like doing a little fishing right now´….(?) one of those Magic Reels, you know (chuckles) then I go to sleep and I wake up about 4.30 and ´Hmmm, I feel like doing about a hundred sit-ups real fast´ (chuckles) oh yeah, then I get down and knock out a hundred sit-ups, then I get back on the couch and I snooze off and….then I wake up about 5.30, quarter to six, ´Hmmm, wonder if I can get a hair-weave in the morning ?´ (chuckles) ´Yeah, that´s what I need, must be someplace in town that does that´ (chuckles)(?) I just actually want that little spray, spray stuff that you just kind of spray right on your head, makes your head look like (?) you start out, when you start out, you see that stuff and go ´Oh, that´s disgusting´ ´Hmmm, wonder how I´d look like with a little spray ?´ (chuckles) just a quick pssh, you know, I don´t know, yeah (chuckles) so, uh, this´s been going on for months now, I have an unusual array of products in my home in New Jersey (chuckles) but I figured I´d put it to some, some use so I got this next song now, I´m gonna sing you right now, it´s new, uh, you´ve never heard it before, it´s one of the greatest songs I´ve ever written, I can tell you that (some people clap) thank you, thank you, yes, it was, it was quite an accomplishment, I tell you already (chuckles) I guarantee you this next song´s gonna make people forget all about that ´Born in the U.S.A´-bullshit, alright (chuckles)(?) that´s yesterday, baby, here comes today right now (chuckles)….I don´t wanna hype it too much or anything (chuckles) here we go…..”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´Red Headed Woman´ (following ´Sell It And They Will Come´)
´´Thank you….very much….it´s gonna be a big one, big…..(?) so big I hate to play it ´cause people go home, they say ´Yeah, that stuff was pretty good but that TV-song, wow !….that was the one for me´ (?) so I would like to move right from, uh, infomercials onward to a great song about a great subject - cunnilingus, that´s right and uh….thank you, and I hope I´m pronouncing that correctly (chuckles) and, uh, fact is that if you can pronounce it, you can probably do it (chuckles) but uh….what can I say about it ? uh…. except that, uh, this is probably one of the greatest songs ever written on the subject, uh….I´m not sure what the other ones are (chuckles) but uh….as you folks know that, uh (woman screams) no volunteers, please, baby (chuckles)….oh, I´d like to but as Richard Nixon once said, ´That would be wrong´ (chuckles) and uh (chuckles) but uh, cunnilingus is just like writing songs or riding a bicycle, it´s not as easy as it looks (chuckles) it takes, uh, takes craft, attention to detail….patience, that´s right….uh, good cheer, most important of all (chuckles)(?) the upside is you score some big points with the Mrs., that´s right (chuckles) and uh, the next time you do something stupid, like all men eventually do, alright, uh….and she´s like really mad at you and stuff, you can say, uh, ´Darling, remember that, that night we practised cunnilingus ?….wasn´t that a lovely evening ?´…. and she´ll say ´If you think that´s gonna make a difference, yeah, that was pretty nice´ (chuckles) woo !….just a few tips on how to make the whole marriage run real smoothly, that´s all (chuckles) helps a lot….this is for you baby, come on (chuckles)….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´Brothers Under the Bridges´ (following ´Red Headed Woman´)
´´Oh, oh, felt the Macarena coming on there for a minute…..that´s right….do the hell out of that dance, alright (chuckles)(?) I´m gonna put, uh, I´m gonna put the record, I´m gonna put my record out again, I´m not gonna change anything on, it´s gonna be the same, just the title will be different, ´The Ghost of Tom Macarena´, that´s what (chuckles) it´s gonna be the only (chuckles) the only change….I´m gonna do a video with, uh….with that gal in those silver hotpants (chuckles)….ooh….oh yeah…..this is a song I wrote, uh, for the Tom Joad-record, didn´t, uh, didn´t get on but uh….it´s set in the San Gabriel mountains, on the mountains….outside of San Fernando Valley and uh….back in the mid-80´s there was a….group of homeless Vietnam Veterans who set up a camp out in the San Gabriels to get out of the city and this is a story about one of ´em ….that has…..a young daughter that he´s never seen….and she´s grown up now….and she comes out into the mountains looking for her dad….and what he has to say to her….this is for the Vets out there tonight, this is called ´Brothers Under the Bridges´…”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´Thank you….here´s a song about men and women….it´s tricky….uh, I didn´t write about ´em for about 25 years….too tricky…but uh….spent a lot of money trying to figure it out…. got to a point where I said ´Damn, I can´t figure this shit out´ (chuckles)(?) (chuckles) so, you know, you go to a guy and, you know, 140 bucks or whatever an hour and, you know, years go by and finally you go ´What is it, gotta know, what is it ? you know, what´s my problem ? what´s wrong with me ?´….´Hmmm, I want you to tell me´ (chuckles) (?) sorten the whole thing down in like about 30 seconds, alright (chuckles) it went like ´Man, the car, got the problem right there, alright ? man, car, woman, there was always a car in the middle, you see´ and uh….the car had four flat tires so it took, uh, took a lot to push it out of the way (chuckles) wasn´t going anyplace anyway….that´s right, I´ve given you the benefit of thousands of dollars (?)(chuckles) in just the price of admission, folks (chuckles) but this is uh….this is a song about one of those relationships where….you didn´t quite make it, you know, there was a lot of things that felt right and everybody´s been there, you know, there´s some, you can feel something there but you can´t quite get to it, you know….there´s a car in the way, that´s why (chuckles) so, uh…. one of those where like, you know, years later you sit there going ´Hmmm, wonder, wonder what they´re doing tonight ? wonder if they´re still on the planet out there somewhere ?´, you know (chuckles) this is called ´Dry Lightning´….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´Long Time Coming´
´´Alright….(?)…here´s a song about making it, I guess…..this is uh, wrote this for the Tom Joad-record, didn´t get on….let me see….let see if I got my money´s worth (?)(chuckles) ….this is called ´Long Time Coming´, I´d like to dedicate this to a good friend of mine out in the audience tonight….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´Youngstown´
´´Thank you….first part of the, this tour….played in Youngstown, Ohio….played this little townhall in Youngstown, it´s a lot actually like Asbury Park is at the moment, it´s really (?)….it was uh….(?) an area, if you go down the main street, you know, everything is boarded up, I think the newest thing in the middle of town was a prison….and uh, I played this little townhall and uh….and I was doing a soundcheck and a whole troop of boyscouts come marching in all their uniforms and everything….´Uh, no ´Red Headed Woman´ tonight, I don´t think´ (chuckles) I don´t know, they probably know all about that, you know (chuckles) but uh….audience, there wasn´t anybody in the audience, I don´t think, that…that hadn´t had a brother or a father or a grandfather, a family member affected when those big mills closed down….I think that, uh….you know, these were….people who´d, uh, built the bridges and built the buildings we lived in and built so much of what we know as America….and who were deemed, gave their kids to the wars that we fought, you know, and who were deemed expendable so…..”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ‘Sinaloa Cowboys’
´´Thanks, this is Kevin Buell, my friend….financial counsellor, sexual advisor….all-around nice fella….this is uh…before I had my kids, I used to….get away with my buddies sometimes for a couple of weeks and we´d take these big trips out through the Southwest here, came through this state quite a bit, that´s right….come through, uh….I´d get there to Jerome and through Prescott…..and uh (someone yells : ´You should get out here more often´) yeah, I suppose I should (chuckles)….it´s hard to get away from home, you know how that is (chuckles)….(?) Prescott, played a little bar there one afternoon quite a while back, met a woman, Bubbles the biker bartender, that´s right (chuckles)….don´t know if she´s still there but she was there then (chuckles)….and, uh, she wrote a book of poetry that I figured in somehow (chuckles)….but uh….it was on one of these trips that my wife refers to as ´man-dancing´ (chuckles)…I guess it´s better than beating a drum out in the woods (chuckles) you know (chuckles) but uh….I was in the, uh….little ways west of here, not too far and I was staying in one of those little four-corner desert towns….you know, where there´s the grocery store, a….gas-station, a motel, a bar…all the necessities for human life to flourish (chuckles) I was staying in this little motel, it was one of those motels where you can lay on your bed and see your car through the door, you know (chuckles)….very comforting (chuckles) ´Yeah, it´s still out there! It´s not taken yet, I swear !´ (chuckles)….it was, uh….it was late at night, it was probably, uh….little earlier than this in the year, though not much…..and, uh, it was one of those really warm, you know, nights you get out here in the fall, you know, like, 85 degrees at 11 o´clock, you know (chuckles)…they don´t believe this when I tell ´em up in Norway (chuckles) but uh, but, uh, I was sitting there with my friends and we were having a little bit to drink and playing some cards and these two Mexican men came in from the west driving a truck and… was a young kid and he was kind of high, they took the room next to us, another was a fellow about my age and uh….he come over and start looking at our motorcycles and….start talking about, he had a younger brother that was…..killed in a Southern California motorcycle accident…and this fella talked, he talked about his brother for about an hour, you know….and uh, his voice always stayed with me for a long time…. and there´s something about….the first line of family being feeling like is to protect the ones that come after you….you know, your brothers or your sisters or your kids, particularly once you have your kids, you know, you always feel like….you´re gonna follow ´em around till they´re about 35 or so (chuckles) and uh….you know, and in the end you really can´t, you know, the world doesn´t….you really can´t protect as you´d like, I suppose….and so, when that breaks down, I don´t know how people….get over that kind of loss and put themselves back together again….but uh, this is a song about two brothers that get caught up in the Central California drug trade, the Mexican gangs come up and hire migrant workers to work in the drug labs…and uh, where they make as much in a couple of nights as they would, you know, in a year…of, of real hard labor…so as I was writing this song about two brothers, I was writing, I heard my friend´s voice….voice in my head so I dedicate this to him every night wherever he may be….this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´The Line´
´´This is a song set in San Diego, you get a lot of young guys that come out of the army…. end up going to work for the….California border patrol….and uh, that´s a confusing job ….Carlos Fuentes, this Mexican writer….said, uh….California was Mexico till 1848 so the border is more like a scar, this is a….about a young border patrolman trying to figure out where that line really is….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´Thanks, this next song, this is uh….it´s a song about kids….I always say like before I had my own kids, I didn´t like kids, you know (chuckles)(?) but uh, uh, I had mine kind of late so a lot of my friends had ´em first, you know, and then you gotta suffer through like, you know, the baby pictures and hearing over and over, you know, you can´t even talk about anything else any more, that´s done, man, now it´s all about they pissed in the pot today for the first time….(chuckles) and, you know, you gotta….you just gotta go with it ´Wow, that´s wonderful´….´You´re a lucky man´ (chuckles) you know, and then….they bring ´em up and what was worse, they get a little older and they bring ´em over and like I lived by myself for 30 years, I don´t like anybody touching my shit in my house….that´s all that kids wanna do is, is they wanna come over and touch everything, that´s their business, right (chuckles) and uh, you know, yelling at somebody else´s kid, you know, it´s like, it feels like, you know, only under duress, you know….but uh, I had my own and then you get to seek your own revenge, you get to take ´em over their house and let ´em tear it up, the best part, you know….´Go, go, yeah, yeah !´ (chuckles) but uh, people ask you what, what was the big difference, how´s your life changed, you know, and all that stuff….I guess the biggest difference outside of that I get up 6.30 in the morning (chuckles) back to bed at 9.30 in the morning (chuckles) I´m up for like two hours flipping some ugly pancakes (chuckles) outside of that, you know, you, uh….I think that kids, what they, what they do is they got a window onto the grace that´s in the world, you know, and uh, maybe it´s because they´ve not closed up yet or something, you know, they´re open and I remember right from when my first son was born, you know, everything felt a little different, the sun felt different on your face and the wind felt different and it was like that window to that grace that kids have access to that sort of blows through into your life, you know, and I guess as you get older, it gets trickier to….to….to get, to have some access to that, I think that´s why people, you know, go to films and read book and seek out art or engage in bizarre, unusual sexual practises (chuckles) to get some grace into your life somehow, you know (chuckles) but uh (chuckles) but uh….uh….they do, they, that´s just something that they bring with ´em, you know….they bring that with ´em and they…give it to you every day….so this is a song about kids….10,11,12 years old who come across the border to San Diego and I think it´s what happens when, uh, when that grace is, goes unprotected….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´Thanks….I grew up in a….in a house where there wasn´t a whole lot of talk about culture, I think, wasn´t about what you read, what films you saw….everybody was kind of busy trying to keep their heads above water….but uh….I think the first thing I can remember that really affected me….was hearing the radio….on in the kitchen in the morning, we´d come down and my mother´d be in the kitchen, probably when, when I was, you know, seven (?) she was still a, you know, she was a young gal and she liked that rock and roll music, you know (chuckles) so every day she´d have on the Top 40- station and I´d sit there and, you know, suck up my cornflakes and listen to all those singers, you know….I heard this sort of secret message….basically it said ´There´s a party going on….you´re missing it´….and uh….there was just a world of pain and happiness and, and….craziness that you heard in all those voices, you know, fabulous voices….I said ´Well, I´m gonna search for that party´ (chuckles) you know, and uh….I found a good deal of it (chuckles) a lot, a lot, a lot else came with it too (chuckles) you know….uh….I think I was about 26….and music had been the most….I guess, fundamental thing in my life and when I was 26, a friend of mine showed me John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath….and I went out and got the Steinbeck novel and there was something in the book and in the film that resonated throughout the whole rest of my life….I remember sitting there when the credits rolled thinking ´That´s what I wanna do….I wanna….do some work that´ll….you know, find its way into people´s lives and that´ll mean something to´….and uh, I think there was an idea in the book and in the film that…´s just a real, they asked the fundamental question that people ask and answer every day….by the way we behave, the things and the choices and decisions we make…..and it was real simple, it was just basically a simple question of is there such a thing as individual salvation or is everyone´s fate intertwined in some fashion….and do, in the end do people rise and fall together in some way, you know ….uh….I think there was a scene at the end of the movie that, that really captured that…..
Tom Joad´s killed a security guard that´s killed his friend and he´s gonna have to leave his family….he´s gonna have to tell his mother that, after they´ve come thousands of miles and lost family members and they´ve lost their home and they´re, they have nothing, that she´s gonna lose her son now too and that nothing can change that…..but before that scene, there´s a dance….and Ford shoots it very lovely as people´s faces and the way people are holding one another on the dancefloor and moving….I always thought that was Ford holding out the possibility of beauty….even in a, in a hard world amidst….amidst a lot of brutality ´cause where there was some beauty, there was, there would always be some hope and where there was some hope, there´d be some faith and there´d be some sort of divine love or whatever….you like to call it, you know….things that (?) snuffed out so easily….and uh….after this dance, Tom slips into the cabin and wakes his mother and he says ´Mama, I gotta go now´….and they step out underneath these dark trees….and she says ´I knew this day would come but… am I gonna know if you´re well, how am I gonna know if my son´s alive, will I ever see you again, Tommy ?´….he says ´Well, all I know is I gotta go out and I gotta kick around and I gotta see what´s wrong and I gotta see if there´s anything I can do about it to make it right….and you´ll see me…..because I´ll be in that darkness at night, Ma….you know, the darkness that surrounds you when you´re sleeping….you´ll see me there….and I´ll be in men´s voices when they´re yelling ´cause they´re angry or wherever there´s a cop beating up a guy….uh…´ll see me when kids are, you´ll hear me in kids´voices when they come in and they know that there´s food on the table and that there´s a home and that they´re protected´….he says ´You´ll see me´ and he disappears into the night and the next morning the Joads are heading north looking for work and the father says ´What are we gonna do without Tommy ?´….the mother says ´Well, we´re gonna keep going´….and this is a song about….that idea, I guess….of keeping going, how people keep going, how even after the world deals some of its harshest blows and reveals itself….people fall back on….faith and hope and love and ultimately on each other….that´s all there is….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´This Hard Land´
´´This is uh, I´ll do this tonight for, uh, there´s some folks when you go out into the lobby from the United Foodbank, they´re out there, uh….working hard for the people here and the East Valley that´ve fallen on hard times….I think that, uh….kids going to bed in America hungry at night is, is pretty unconscionable and they´re out there….seeing what they could do about it and they could use your help and some support so when you go out into the lobby tonight, check ´em out….the United Foodbank, this is for you folks out there….”

21.10.96 Tempe, AZ, intro to ´No Surrender´
´´Alright….gonna bring out a buddy of mine….come on out….Nils Lofgren….”

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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