Hard Rock Hates Music, I Love Springsteen

Hard Rock Hates Music, I Love Springsteen


Obviously the focus of the last few days in the world of Springsteen fandom (a vast, occasionally strange and threatening but for the most part welcoming cult) has been on the plug being pulled as The Boss and his long-awaited guest (‘50 years’ was Springsteen’s estimate as he joined them) Paul McCartney there are other issues to be addressed with festivals like ‘Hard Rock Calling’ and with this gig in particular.

Firstly let’s look at a key component of any musical experience –being able to hear it. As it has been for the last couple of years at Hyde Park (and much to Arcade Fire Win Butler’s obvious anger during their show last summer) – you can’t really hear an awful lot unless you are huddled around one of the speaker systems and even then it doesn’t have the rush of noise, the slam of bass and drum that typify an adrenalised, exciting show. This is because of complaints form the locals that have led to council rulings similar to those that caused Hard Rock to pull the plug after the show went over curfew (and please, whatever anyone tells you can you really believe that some baddie from the council was there pulling the plug at 10.40pm on a Saturday night, or an actual police officer? No, as far as common sense goes while the council may have set the rules it’s down to the none-more-hilariously-named Hard Rock Calling organizers to abide by them – surely they themselves shut down the show).

So, if you can’t hear then what are you paying your money for? How about a great selection of support bands? Without wishing to cause anyone any offence, to say that they were a shoddy, thrown-together lot over this weekend would be an understatement. Check for yourself.

OK so they spend all the money on the headliner (who you can’t hear and gets cut off) and you just make the best of whatever else is on offer. At least it’s a nice place though right?

Of course it’s not. It’s the most overtly corporate branded piece of land in the whole of the UK and wherever there is not a vast hoarding helping us in buying drinks, purchasing more gig tickets, getting a ‘VIP’ experience or drinking a certain brand of cola, there will be a screen featuring ‘backstage exclusive interviews’ cajoling us into having a better time, a huge strip of twitterfeed across the top of the stage allowing carefully selected messages to assure us once more of what an amazing time we’re having in this oversold muddy field.

To criticize the horrible drunkenness of thousands of the people in attendance at the show is almost a moot point – what else were they going to do with their time at the festival other than join lengthy queues for the bar and drink up?

Of course the London-centric trait of everyone talking over all bands ever doesn’t help the situation when you are hearing the mighty E-Street band through a cracked car stereo but again, if you’re underwhelmed by the experience you may just be tempted to have a natter through the ones you don’t know (obviously I’m not condoning this – it’s utterly dreadful – but you can in this instance see where it comes from).

Luckily Springsteen is the best in the world at what he does and turns a shaky situation into, at least performance-wise, a transcendent one. The man is a hero, his band legends, no doubt.

The real question here though is – if you can’t play the music at a decent level, can’t provide fans with an interesting and worthy bill and have such disregard for the music you purport to love as to cut it off at it’s peak, should you be allowed to run a festival at all?

Most would leave that open-ended. Me? I’m going with ‘No. You cunts’.

Orginally published here: http://existrightnow.blogspot.co.uk

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.