Story 2005-08-10 Portland, OR
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10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Soul Driver”
“Good evening…hello, Portland…nice to be in the Northwest…uh, I guess the only request I got tonight is if I can get as much quiet as possible, aside of that, enjoy yourself, alright…alright, let me see, I’ll start with, oh, something with, uh, I try to start each night with something I haven’t played before so here we go…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Black Cowboys”
“Thank you…thanks and good evening again…thank you…yeah, I wrote, uh, nice to be here, wrote a lot of songs, uh, on this record about parents and children, this is one of them, uh…so, I guess, I read a book probably a decade ago, a book called Amazing Grace by Jonothon Kozol and uh…it’s just a beautiful book about, uh…children, children of the inner city and how we triage our, the weakest of our citizens, this is called “Black Cowboys”…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Long Time Comin’”
“Thank you…(Evan brings Bruce a guitar) this is my oldest boy (crowd cheers) that´s Evan…(chuckles)…that just cost me a hundred bucks (chuckles) alright (chuckles) he’s traveling with Dad for a, for a few days…(chuckles) wanna do this tonight for him, alright…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “I Wish I Were Blind” (following “Long Time Comin’”)
“(Chuckles) Yeah (chuckles)…he’s gonna be “up above and pulling on my shirt” (chuckles) also he, he explained to me that the correct last verse should’ve been that “I’m not gonna fuck it up too bad this time”…that was, that was his only suggestion, it should’ve been “too bad”…you know (chuckles) alright, we’ll see, somebody, somebody asked for this out back so I’m gonna play it but, uh, this is, this is, this comes from a record that generally people consider my weakest album…and, uh, whenever I’m, I’m paging through magazines and there’s like a compendium of your records and, you know, the one is “The Bruce to Buy” and “The Bruce Not to Buy,” you know, this is always like sort of star-challenged, this record (laughs from the crowd) and uh (chuckles) perhaps unfairly, I, I, I don’t know, you know (chuckles) but this was, uh, this was, uh, this was requested by a fellow from, was it Norway?…might’ve been Norway, you see the thing is in Norway this is considered a masterpiece…in Norway (chuckles)(?) this is, this album is considered, it’s considered my best over there (chuckles) alright, so I’m gonna play, every, anytime somebody requests this song, I always go “You, you, you poor sucker” because that means that the world’s just crashed down on you if you wanna hear this one (chuckles) you just, you know, you just took it over the head bad, you know, and you, you don’t know which way is up so, uh (chuckles) I’ll do this one wishing the man better, better luck, alright…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Frankie”
“Thank you (crowd cheers) thanks a lot…alright, this is something I played the other night, I haven’t played it much but, uh…let me see what we got here, alright (?) hold on, boys, hold on, alright…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Part Man Part Monkey”
“I just came back from Europe where I tried to explain to them that in the United States…there’s this big debate going on about who came first, the Man or the monkey…now, over there they’re pretty sure the monkey came first…and I also have a feeling that they know just where he is but, uh (crowd cheers) I tried to explain to them that the problem over here is that the monkey has no vote… and uh, he has no lobbyists or…and I’ve been giving this rap along the course of the tour, standing up here kind of feeling smugly superior to my evangelical brothers and sisters…but, but then the Catholics threw their hat in a couple of weeks ago…so now I’m in the shit with everybody else…I tried to explain to them over in Europe that…conditions as they are in the States, some of their favorite imports would never make it over there now, something like, say, the Flintstones…that’s on every channel across the continent and I had to explain to them that due to the ambiguous relationship between Fred and Barney…that that couldn’t get made today…not to mention I don’t even throw Dino in there…so…it’s great to be back home (chuckles)…
(…) Now, we’ve come a long way, baby…and we’re going back…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Ain’t Got You”
“When I’m, uh, on the street and I’m approached by people, the general question that I’m asked is, is pretty much always the same, people wanna know what, what it is like to be the Boss and, uh… that’s a, that’s a perennial, man, that one never goes away, you know…and, uh, I usually answer them with some sort of humble bullshit and, uh…you know, “It’s no big deal, it’s just a job” (?) but, uh, that’s because I don’t want it to slip out that…well…let me put it like this …”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, after “Ain’t Got You”
“That about says it all (chuckles)…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Nothing Man”
“Thank you…may I get the crew out here…to handle this piece of equipment?…alright, let me see what I got here…thank you, boys …”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Valentine’s Day”
“Thank you…alright, I’m gonna do this for, uh…for an old friend of mine, send this out to you, Arnie and your lovely guest… I’m gonna need, uh, a little amount of clicks (claps his hands) on this one, alright, and, uh…I haven’t played this one too much, played it first time, it was great, after that it was kind of so-so… gonna see if I (chuckles) I got this, that’s, you know (chuckles) we’ll see how we do (chuckles) alright…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Lost in the Flood”
“Thank you…(messes up the ending of the piano intro) never could figure out the intro to that damn thing (chuckles)…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Jesus Was an Only Son”
“Thanks…thank you…I was, uh, I was brought up Catholic and, uh, and, uh…this little, we had, we lived on this little L-shaped block and, uh, it was like, I lived here with my, my grandma and, uh, uh, and grandpop and, and my parents and then there was a little field and there was the nuns’ convent and the priest’s rectory and then there was the Catholic church right on the corner and across the street from the Catholic church was my aunt’s house with my couple of young cousins and then next to her was my aunt and uncle’s house with three cousins in it, they were kind of the older cousins, and then two houses down was my great-grandmother’s house and that was just the Irish…then across the street was my grandmother’s house and my mother’s sister and my uncle with two more cousins in it and that was the Italian outpost…and uh…it was funny, all the time I grew, we all grew up literally, you know, it was just a little camp that we had going and, but the Italians never crossed the street to the Irish and the Irish never crossed the street to my, to my, my grandmother’s house and the funny thing was we never thought a damn thing about it as kids, it was like, well, yeah, that’s, you know, that’s just, it was a, a funny sort of setup but, uh, I saw about every wedding and every funeral for about a decade in that little church I seen more guys carried away in black Cadillacs by the time I was ten than anybody (chuckles) anybody else, had a big bag of rice in my closet ´cause when the weddings would come, we’d pick up all the rice after they threw the rice…I’m not, I’m not sure why, and then we would save it and run down to the next wedding and throw it…and then pick it up again, you know (chuckles) but, uh, all in all, it was a combination of a, uh, uh, blissful and tortuous upbringing, which, of course, whose wasn’t, I suppose, you know, but, uh (chuckles) but, uh, uh, uh, I, you know, I thought I got away from the whole Catholic thing when I left, I left the church at about eighth grade, that was when I called it quits and uh, uh….that was about as far as I could take it, you know, but, uh, but it was an interesting childhood because it was filled with, with terror and, and mystery and poetry and, and, and power that was way beyond my understanding but that you absorbed anyway, you absorbed it all, you know, the church with all its shadows and its brightness and, uh, the combination of, of the constant ceremony that we witnessed ´cause we lived so close, it was, it was an unusual upbringing but it, it sort of, I look back in, into my songs which are filled with so much religious imagery and, uh, I guess, well, you know, that was the big deal, you know, but I wrote this song, I was writing, like I said, on the record I wrote, Devils & Dust, wrote a lot about parents and children and so I, of course, thought back (?) Jesus, Jesus was, you know, everybody’s somebody’s baby (chuckles) you know, He was, uh…thinking of Jesus as someone’s son and, uh, and Mary as, as a mother, you know, a funny thing happens when you, when, I think, when we turn things into icons they both are, uh, they are both, we sort of blow them up and diminish them at the same time and you forget the, the human side of, of, of, that there was an actual life, there’s an actual life there all the time, so I’m gonna sing this one, this is called “Jesus Was an Only Son,” and I’ll send this one out to moms and pops that are with us…
(…) At His mother’s feet…the most immediate instinct when you have those kids of course is to protect them…and to keep them from suffering…uh…it’s kind of a life sentence and there’s not much you can do about it in the end, I guess…
(….) Shall pierce your dreams this night…I always figured that the choices we make are given their weight and their meaning by the things that we sacrifice for them, you choose a part of life and you give up something…so I always figured that Jesus had to be thinking about the things He was gonna lose and that…how beautiful it was in Galilee this time of year, that there’s this little bar down by the water…probably looking for a manager…and that Mary Magdalene, she could tend bar…they could have a bunch of kids…and get to see the sun fall on their faces and get to see the air fill their lungs at night when they’re sleeping and get to see the next day…and the next day…and the next day…and the next day …and the next day…and the next day…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “The Hitter”
“Thank you, thanks a lot…alright, this is a, uh, I always figured we, we carry with us the seeds of creation, you know, the possibility to build good things and make good things and also the seeds of our destruction and that is a part of the merry human package, I think that was the deal that we, that we made, uh…with God supposedly when we, uh, the whole East of Eden thing and uh (chuckles) but I always, I always figured that the whole, the Eden, the, the Garden of Eden was a set-up in the first place…a sort of, you gotta look at it like this: ok, there’s this, there’s a garden, right? and you can go anywhere you wanna go in the garden and, but you can’t touch that one tree (laughter from the audience) come on, you’re human, alright, how many walks around the garden can you take, my friends? (chuckles) it’s limited, no matter how great it is (chuckles) you can only take so many walks around the garden, you keep coming back to the tree (chuckles) not only that but it’s the only tree in the garden with a talking snake!…it’s the interesting tree (chuckles) and uh…so…alright…with one hand we build, with one hand we burn…it’s made life interesting and dangerous, I guess, anyway, this is “The Hitter”…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Matamoros Banks”
“Thanks a lot…lived in, uh, lived in California for three or four years and uh…it was nice, especially when the weather’s like this today, it just reminded me of, uh, man…and I wrote a series of songs, uh, set in California, in the Central Valley and along the border, and this song was kind of a sequel to those songs, I wrote this not shortly thereafter and, uh, I guess every year, uh, hundreds of people die trying to get in across the southern borders of our country and they die of dehydration in the deserts and they drown in the rivers, in the backs of vans, all to come here and, and do the toughest and the dirtiest jobs that we have and, uh, I’ve been saying this every night, but what we need is a humane immigration policy (crowd cheers)(?) makes sense, anyway…wrote this song backwards, it starts from the point of view of a body at the bottom of the river, a man walking across the desert till he stands on the banks of the Rio Bravo, across from Brownsville, Texas, this is “Matamoros Banks”…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Wild Billy’s Circus Story” (following “Ramrod”)
“(Crowd cheers) Yes, yes, I’m, uh…filled with, filled with tricks, still have tricks left, tricks left up my sleeve (chuckles) (crowd cheers) (?)…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Bobby Jean”
“Thank you (crowd cheers) thanks a lot (crowd cheers)(?) thanks a lot, I’m gonna do a few more, uh…I wanna give a shout out to the folks from the Oregon Foodbank that are here with us tonight (crowd cheers) they, uh, work, obviously they’re working here to eliminate hunger and its root causes, they collect food and provide services to the struggling citizens here in Oregon, on your way out, if you, if you see them, please stop and check out the work that they’re doing, they’re on the frontlines doing the, uh, doing God’s work, they can use support so, uh, check out the Oregon Foodbank tonight on the way out…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “The Promised Land”
“Thank you (crowd cheers) thanks a lot (crowd cheers) I wanna, thank you (crowd cheers) thanks (crowd cheers) I wanna thank everybody for coming to the show tonight, thank you very much (crowd cheers) you were a fabulous audience, may I say, yes, give yourself a hand, fabulous (crowd cheers) it’s, uh, it’s a great, great, it’s a great pleasure to come out and play like this, I really, I love doing it and, and I just wanna, you know, and it takes a, it, it takes – oh!! (chuckles) it takes a dedicated audience too and I appreciate it so this is for you guys…”

10.08.05 Portland, OR, intro to “Dream Baby Dream”
“I got one more for Portland (crowd cheers)…”

Compiled by Johanna Pirttijärvi

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