Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Feb 27th 2010 11:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
In light of the Boss's newfound hipness, Friday's show posed an interesting question: How would New York City's cool kids respond to Bruce in the USA, which bills itself as "the world's #1 tribute to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band"?
The answer: pretty much the same way their parents respond to the real thing.
As the Las Vegas septet performed, the audience danced, boozed and bleated along. Plaid-shirted dudes with facial hair staked out places near the front, and two girls approximated Springsteen's famous running knee-slides, throwing their bodies fearlessly to the club's floor.
Some fans yelled, "Bruuuuuce," and during the breakdown on 'Badlands,' the second song in a set that would stretch 90 minutes and include both hits and rarities, many of the 100 or so people in attendance threw their heads back and howled the requisite "Woah, woah-woah-woah, woah!" The singing was born of duty, delusion and plain old fun.
If Bruce in the USA generates only about a third of the energy of a real Boss gig, it's more the result of Springsteen's inimitable stage presence than the group's shortcomings. Frontman Matt Ryan, sporting a soul patch, earring, black vest and motorcycle boots, recreated the rocker's stage mannerisms with eerie precision, showing more attention to detail than any of his fellow E Street impostors.
At times evoking Adam Sandler's hulking 'Saturday Night Live' version of Springsteen, Ryan sold the idea that he was enjoying himself -- either because he's a seasoned Vegas showman, or because he really gets off on jutting out his chin, bashing his Telecaster and singing some of the greatest rock songs ever written.
On 'Pink Cadillac' and the Tom Waits cover 'Jersey Girl,' Springsteen sideman Charles Giordano, who joined the E Street Band in 2008, following the death of Danny Federici, sat in on keyboards and accordion, adding a welcome, if unnecessary, dash of authenticity.
While the group specialized in such arena favorites as 'Rosalita,' 'Born to Run' and 'Thunder Road,' it was the relatively obscure 'Trapped,' a tune from Springsteen's 'Tracks' box set, that came closest to bringing the house down. Of course, Brooklyn would scream loudest for a deep cut. Even with a faux Boss onstage, it's a faux pas to cheer for the hits.