There weren’t any great revelations that emerged from Bruce Springsteen’s Thursday afternoon keynote address at the music portion of the South by Southwest Festival. The Boss didn’t have a whole lot of clear ideas to impart, and even he agreed with that estimate (“I gave a big speech this morning, f—ed the whole thing up,” he joked from the stage later).
Mostly, he just got across the idea that he loves rock music, and that it still holds some sort of undefinable power — and later that night he got the chance to prove it where it counts: on stage, in an epic three-hour set at Moody’s Theater in Austin.
The big headlines will probably belong to Springsteen’s giant list of collaborators, which ranged from Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who sat in on a trio of tunes, including a raucous, metaled-up version of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” that split the difference between Springsteen’s acoustic original and Rage’s aggro cover, to Jimmy Cliff, who came out to do a mini set of his own during the encore, including an effervescent “The Harder They Come.”
The Animals’ Eric Burdon also stopped by to blast through “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” (according to Springsteen, he happened to realize Burdon was in town thanks to Twitter, and noted that he has stolen from him more than anyone else in his career), and the night closed with an overwhelming spin through Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” featuring Morello, Burdon, Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo (who also opened the show), and members of Arcade Fire. READ FULL STORY