February 2nd, 2009
04:06 PM ET

Bruce Springsteen: Cooler than all of us combined

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/02/art.vert.bruce.superbowl.jpg width=292 height=320]

Jack Gray
AC360° Associate Producer

I’ve always thought that, as far as bona fide rock stars go, there isn’t anyone more incredible than Mick Jagger, strutting around like a peacock in leather pants and a red bathrobe, singing “Brown Sugar.” But Bruce Springsteen, last night at the Super Bowl, damn, if that wasn’t one of the greatest performances of all time I don’t know what was. He’s like one of the Seven Wonders of the World, right up there with The Great Wall of China and Fresca.

I’m assuming, of course, that you saw the Halftime Show. If not, I hope you have a good excuse. And no, “I was out in the front yard trying to break up a fight between my brother-in-law and the pizza delivery guy” doesn’t count. What do you think this is, Easter?

Anyway, Mr. Springsteen was sublime. Granted, he doesn’t have David Bowie’s panache, Stevie Nicks’ mysticism or Bono’s sunglasses, but The Boss is, well, The Boss. And last night he rocked the crowd in a way it hadn’t been rocked since John Madden bodysurfed the nosebleed seats.

As I watched his performance, I thought of how one of the great things about Springsteen is his versatility. He is simultaneously a rocker and a poet. Someone who can pump us up with his roaring anthems and turn us introspective with his somber ballads. The kind of guy whom you expect to belt out “Born in the USA” with the E Street Band but by whom you wouldn’t be totally surprised if he brought out the Von Trapp children for a chorus of “Edelveiss.”

And sure, he’s one of those celebrities who gets involved with politics. And maybe you don’t agree with his views. But come on, people. He’s Bruce Springsteen. Even John McCain was in the crowd for those Obama rallies.

I’ve actually never been to a Springsteen concert. It’s one of my big regrets. That and giving my dog elbow macaroni and meat sauce last night. I did, however, once see Mr. Springsteen here in the Time Warner Center. I was on an upward escalator, he was on the downward one next to me. It was one of those great New York Moments. That guy looks a lot like Bruce Springsteen. Wait a second, that IS Bruce Springsteen.

And yes, I played it cool. If by cool you mean shouting out “Bruuuuuuuce” and – oddly – doing that University of Texas “hook ‘em horns” thing with both of my hands. Apparently during moments of great excitement I turn into Matthew McConaughey.

Anyway, Bruce Springsteen – ever the coolest guy around – said hi and gave me a little wave.

It was the day for which I had long been waiting.

The day I could finally say, “Eat your heart out, Courteney Cox.”

Filed under: 360° Radar • Bruce Springsteen • Jack Gray • Super Bowl
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Daisy21

    I thought the halftime show was great. I especially liked it that Mr. Springsteen was able to keep his liberal politics out of it. So many celebrities think they need to interject their political views during a paid performance rather than just singing.

    February 2, 2009 at 9:32 pm |
  2. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    FYI: The super bowl was superb even without a wardrobe malfunction.
    Collectively Cool~

    February 2, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  3. Michelle

    Bruce gave an incredible performance. I actually
    watched the half time show. Heck I even missed
    the Janet Jackson mishap. Springsteen knows
    what it takes to put on a show.

    February 2, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  4. EJ (USA)

    I'd rather see Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa do a Superbowl halftime show. That would be one for ages.

    February 2, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  5. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    I tried to get through it, but the only time I didn't think Springsteen sucked was in junior high when I was a lemming and followed every other moronic thing my friends did. The Steelers won, and that is all that matters. Now can the world possibly return to normal for a while before football psychosis hits again?

    February 2, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  6. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    I have to agree, Jack, the Superbowl half time show was amazing last night! The last couple years have been really good...Tom Petty was pretty good but I have to say that us Colts fans got a bit jipped in 2006! (I'm not a Prince fan at all) ...But equally amazing was the actual Superbowl! It was an awesome game! I enjoyed every second of it even though my boys weren't playing.

    February 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  7. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Hellooo Jack!!!!
    I am really fan of Bruce Springsteen...... I didn't watch halftime the Superbowl either... Well, I love Bruce's music so great!!! I had good time stay home to check on CNN what's news? I am surprised that you were saying Bruce Springsteen was so cool!! Yeah, I agree with you..... I love to read joke blog everytime. You're so lucky to say hi Bruce and wave to you!!! That is so awesome met him..... I hope you get picture autograph of Bruce Springteen!!! See you soon I hope!!!!!!

    February 2, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  8. Don, WA

    Bruce is faded levi jeans, white t-shirt, coca-cola in a glass bottle cool.
    Now I don't wanna brag or anything...but I played high school football. And my h.s. team were the cardinals, with the exact same helmet as the arizona cardinals...so I rooted for my helmet. And when arizona got backed up too their own end zone in the first moments of the game I thought this would just like watching my old h.s. cardinals. But arizona did what we rarely did back then...and that was come back in the 4th – and so for a moment there in the 4th, I was humming...okay singing...allright shouting..."Glory Days"......(to those days when we did come back in the 4th).

    February 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  9. Brandi - bottom of the boot

    didnt watch the show, missed 'the boss'. sorry, im not gonna cry, and if you wanna know why i missed it, i plead the 5th! lol

    great post as always jack. oh, and please dont feed sammy anymore pasta and meat sauce, i sure hope you learned your lesson.

    February 2, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  10. Sharon, LA, CA

    I cannot believe you were not previously aware that Springsteen is the best and has been the best since his first gig. My only disappointment with the halftime show was that he didn't do Born in the USA.

    February 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  11. Emma

    I am afraid you have to be American to like Bruce Springsteen. I thought he was retired !!!
    No way, nobody is better than the Rolling Stones and I was not even born when they were singing Satisfaction.

    February 2, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  12. Cori

    Today I just bought two tickets to his concert that's coming to Colorado in a couple months. His concert sold out in minutes, and I'm so glad I was lucky enough to grab a couple of seats. This concert is gonna rock. My boyfriend and I listened to his new album over the weekend, and we love it! I can't wait to see the BOSS, yeah!

    February 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  13. Paula Vergara, Boston, MA

    "Cooler than all of us combined"? Hmmm...I think Barack Obama is giving Springsteen a run for his money. Granted, he probably can't sing, but the cool factor is there. I've never been to a Springsteen concert either – definitely on my list!

    February 2, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  14. Jeni

    NO WAY! Jack, I am usually with 100%, but Bruce Springsteen SUCKED! It was the cheesiest, most contrived performance I have ever seen. Ever. And I am a New Kids on the Block fan.

    I prefer entertainers that know how to entertain without choreographing every moment down to the superfluous dialogue-fake ref included.


    February 2, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  15. Ratna, New York, NY

    Hi Jack,

    Love Bruce Springsteen. I saw Rod Stewart a couple of years ago darting around ABC. It is very interesting who you will see taking a fresh brisk walk around the Lincoln Center and ABC area.

    February 2, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  16. Jenn/Monrovia, CA

    I was just impressed that the NFL talked him into it. He was amazingly cool, and it reminds me of when I was a kid and everyone who was anyone liked Springsteen. I however was only seven and into "My Little Pony", so I missed out on all the fun.

    February 2, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  17. Paul L

    Hey Jack,

    I agree with you, Bruce was amazing last night. I think this is one of the best Half-time shows I've seen since the Janet Jackson, actually this is better. I would do the same thing you did if I ever meet him.lol.

    February 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  18. Joe G. (From Illinois)

    I didn’t watch it.. I have boycotted all them Celebrities who most recently (Since last Presidential Primaries) have exposed themselves as Pro Abortionists and Advocate Supporters of the Obama’s Anything Goes Family Values Moral Movement. It was bad enough for me already as it was having to switch channels every time one of Winona Ryder’s ex boyfriends would show up on TV, Film and Radio.. But that was for other reasons.. Anyways it was bad.. And it is bad, plus getting worst! I feel as if I’m being shoved with heavy duty work boots out of my comfort zone. Just can’t open up a magazine, listen to the radio, or watch some TV anymore.. Everybody who is a Celebrity is Politicante these days.. Angelina Jolie has been compared to Mother Theresa from all things?!!!! And that’s Angelina we are talking about. How far will it all go?

    February 2, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  19. GF, Los Angeles

    I preferred the half-time show when Prince had performed over Bruce Springsteen. Bruce just didn't do it for me.

    February 2, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  20. Renee

    I have to say the Super Bowl did rock last night in Tampa. Faith Hill and Jennifer Hudson in her Jimmy Choo's and the back up sisters! Did you see them in the grey? Two of my dear friends were the back up sisters with Bruce! The after Bruce party is Saturday night where the 40 years old reliving their experience at the Super Bowl and reliving their brief period with Bruce! They didn't get home last night until after 4 AM! What fun!

    @ Presley: I thought of you this morning when I saw a picture of your friend Rahm done by Annie Leibovitz for the March edition of Vanity Fair. I finally do see your point in the picture by Annie. He does look nice if you see him in that manner. You can find the picture on line at Vanity Fair. If anyone has a thing for Obama, the cover photo of the March Vanity Fair edition is attractive never the less. Enjoy!

    February 2, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  21. pibe

    Bruce, compaired to Enrique Iglesias, father and son is nothing ,they both beat him in number of records sold.

    February 2, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  22. Bruce

    I guess it's only me, but I though the show was at best slightly entertaining. At least he wasn't as bad as the totaly over the hill bunch from last year. Maybe some day we can have a truly entertaining half time instead of always druging up the old has beens for entertainment.

    February 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  23. Kristen-University Park, PA

    Alison you are not alone. Bruce Springsteen didn't do it for me either.

    February 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  24. Vanessa, TX

    HEY JACK...ummm...who's Bruce Springsteen?! J/K..you almost believed that, didn't you?! LOL I totally thought that performance ROCKED! Even my kids thought he was pretty good! I was about 8yrs old when I got to see a Bruce Springsteen concert in San Antonio once. I now realized what a lucky kid I was. And your right, he doesn't have Bono's glasses, but he's still a very handsome guy.


    February 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  25. Jeanine

    Your a Hoot, Jack! You have to make it your 2009 year goal to get to a Springsteen concert! I have been going for over 20 years and are never disappointed. He is amazing!!!

    February 2, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  26. Dee from CT

    ohhhhhhhh – fresca .... now I must make a stop on the way home. Thanks Jack!

    The Boss was GREAT last night – period!

    February 2, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  27. Isabel Abreu

    Hi, Jack!

    Bruce Springsteen was great, huh!
    A master of music from the old days, with a superb performance, he was the best part of the final. The game in itself, ended so frustrating, with a throw record, but not normal in football. And look: I'm not American, I don't understand much and am not very demanding in gaming.

    But back to Bruce ...
    He is better every day. This only shows that I am not more a girl of 20 years that sang his old songs.
    Just as well that music has no age: Bruce, with his 59 years, I with my thirty-(some) and the ROCK that is timeless.

    E "Born to Run 'is the best of the best!

    PS. Jack, when I comment your articles, it seems that I'm sending an email to a friend. This only happens for you, in AC360. It is funny, but very cute!


    February 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  28. Michael "C"Lorton, Virginia

    Gee--I missed the half-time performance and Bruce Springsteen--was a good time to take a bio-break.

    February 2, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  29. xinunus

    I turned the channel when BRUCE performed. I will not waste ONE MINUTE watching him after what he has done politically against our country for the last eight years. BRUCE lives in a bubble and all he has done for the last eight years is bash BUSH!!! DID BRUCE GIVE BUSH A CHANCE LIKE EVERYONE IS TELLING US TO GIVE OBAMA?

    February 2, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  30. Marcy

    At the beginning when he fell backwards on to his legs, bending them in a way that I couldn’t even when I was 5 and did dance, and then sat there for a few minutes. I thought oh god he’s stuck and was scared for him. When he slid across that stage on his knees and into the cameraman I thought oh no, even Bruce looked surprised. However he is and always will be (and in this order) a songwriter, a performer, and entertainer, an activist. I think he gets that his political views wouldn’t matter to anyone without the songwriter title attached to his name.

    I only watched about 10 minutes of the game but threaten my father with his life if he accidently hit the TiVo remote and lost the halftime show. It was wonderful to watch and he looked like he had as much fun as we did and isn’t that the mark of a great performer, old or young?!

    Mobile, AL

    February 2, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  31. Lilibeth

    Jack, I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, so I didn’t see Springsteen’s performance. I was at the movies instead because I wanted to see “Milk” before it goes away. Sorry, but it was worth missing the Super Bowl/Springsteen. Have a great day,

    Edmonds, Washington

    February 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  32. tori

    Yeah, I would have watched but I don't like basketball.

    February 2, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  33. Bob Sommerville

    I didn't Bruce's performance – but something sometime are better heard than be seen live. I think I enjoyed it more reading about it

    February 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  34. Sandy Jay

    Loved the half time show, but the best part of it was when Bruce slide into the camera man during 10th Avenue Freeze-out, seemingly knocking him over, before cracking up laughing.

    February 2, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  35. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Jack,
    Happy Monday to you! Yes, Bruce Springsteen was awesome last night. He can really put on a show! The fireworks display was nothing to sneeze at also; it was huge. I really enjoyed the commercials as well.
    Although I know nothing about football, the game was entertaining. I was rooting for the underdog (red guys-Cardinals?). It's a bummer that they didn't win. The Steelers have won several Superbowls already. They gave em a good fight though. Have a good day today!

    February 2, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  36. Suzy - Edmonton, AB

    I thought Bruce put on a great half-time show! Part of what I loved about it was that he genuinely looked like he was having fun and really enjoying himself. A lot of times it seems like the entertainers are bored or trying too hard or something. Bruce really knows how to do it right!

    February 2, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  37. Alison

    I must be the only person to respond that Bruce just didn't do it for me, at least not until he sang "Glory Days". Call me un-American, but there you have it!

    February 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  38. Annie Kate

    Seems like to me that Bruce has been around forever – and he just gets better every time. To me last night the event was Bruce – the football game was just a side show.....

    February 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  39. Presley

    I have seen Springsteen, don't be a jelus h8er, it was the Born in the U.S.A. tour.
    3+ hours of Springsteen, he even told us to sit down, we were going to be there for a while. It is an AWESOME show. I was young but I got it.
    Last night RAWKED! The game and half time. I am not a sports fanatic but that was some epic football right there.
    HOWEVER, Mathilda was MVP in The Puppy Bowl and I feel the Kitty Half Time Show deserves recognition and the Parrot who sang the National Anthem.

    Happy Monday in STEELER NATION y'all.
    XXO ♥
    p.s. I have also seen the Stones with Lenny Kravitz as the opening act, my concert wish list will be complete when I get to see U2 one day.

    February 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  40. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Jack, good Monday to you. You sure do meet and greet an awful lot of people on escalators?
    Watch your step on those things. It's easy to take a tumble while star gazing. You could end up on the news..Jack Gray fumbles a fan moment, his touchdown was rocky, but fell short of the yardline..Instant replay on YouTube.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    February 2, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  41. JC- Los Angeles

    "Cooler than all of us combined?" Speak for yourself. Next thing you'll say is that the leaders of government and industry have it all figured out.

    February 2, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  42. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Loved Springsteen! Congratulations Steelers & fans!!

    I was supporting the Cardinals, but unlike the GOP, I am not a sore loser!

    I loved the Daniel Ronney thanked Pres. Obama for his support!

    February 2, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  43. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Hook 'em Horns Jack!
    Woo-Hoo! What a performance! I was dazzled. It's a good thing too because I was tuned in for the commercials and frankly, it was difficult to figure out what they were selling.
    Maybe a little too creative, or outright "far out"! But It was fun. How about that finish of the game? I really didn't care who won but holy cow pies, what a win! In all honesty, I really don't like football. It's too rough.
    Poor Sammy. The macaroni with meat sauce didn't settle well with box wine and cigarettes?
    Yeah, well I hate to "one up ya" but I fed my little four legged friends some finger lickin' good chickin' mixed with champange and fantasias and you don't want to know what happened next.
    Southern surprise! Down south if you know what I mean.
    I prefer the soft and white, clean and bright, like Edelveiss.
    Gig 'em and a shout out or the Buruuuuuuuce!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (thumbs up!)
    Thanks for the Monday rocking blog Jack~

    February 2, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  44. Steve

    also, with that little soul patch, doesn't he kinda look like howie mandel with hair? a little bit?

    February 2, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  45. Steve

    I know they were in the E-street band before their other gigs, but it's still funny to see Max Weinberg, and Steve Van Zandt (I prefer to call him Silvio Dante) playing together... it's like worlds colliding.

    I've noticed something strange about Bruce though, he's probably one of the greatest rock stars on the planet, everyone knows his name and his songs, but whenever he's on TV there is inevitably someone in the room who says "THAT'S Bruce Springsteen??? I didn't know he looked like that!"

    sup with that?

    February 2, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  46. Pati Mc

    Hey Jack,,

    FRESCA????? OMG I love Fresca! Now you know that I will have to scour the grocery for said item. Do they even still make it? God, I hope so!

    Bruce IS the coolest. That is just plain fact. Period. He does not need sunglasses, panache or mysticism. He simply "IS". He does not even have to try, which is why I love him. Natural, genuine coolness. Not to mention just a good guy.

    Born in The USA will never lose meaning. And his newer, softer ballads never cease to move one. Poet, indeed. Well said, Jack.

    Ok, I will admit something to you: When he came on last night, I too did the whole "University of Texas “hook ‘em horns” thing with both of my hands" AND screamed "Bruuuuuce"!!!!!!!!!!! At the top of my lungs. Much to the chagrin of my neighbors.

    Hapy Monday Jack – if there is such a thing. 🙂

    February 2, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  47. Fay - California

    There was a lot to love about Bruce Springsteen's performance yesterday, but one of the main things for me is that he made it easy to forget that I was being forced to watch a football game in the first place. No matter how many times I've heard the E Street Band do "Born To Run", it always manages to get me all worked up–plus I love the fact that whenever I see Little Steven on stage with him, I'm reminded of one of my all-time favorite TV shows, The Sopranos. Bruce is one of those rare celebrities whose involvement in politics doesn't come across as self-serving or insincere. Congrats on getting a hi and wave from him Jack.

    February 2, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  48. Pamina

    Hi Jack,
    Bruce was awesome last night. It was one of the better half-time shows that I remember. No partial nudity to take away from the music, what a nice change!
    I had the same experience seeing someone famous on the street, only mine was Ali Velshi, and I did not have the guts to yell out his name on Broadway. Oh well, maybe next time..........

    February 2, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  49. Cindy

    I caught the Super Bowl and the half time show and I gotta say that I loved both! Bruce rocked the house! He isn't and never will be like Mick but he did put on one heck of a show....for an old man that is! LOL And he has lost nothing in his vocals...he sounded great!

    I have to say though Jack that the game itself was the bomb! I didn't care which team won all I wanted to see was a great game and they didn't disappoint! It was great seeing the Cardinals and Warner come back from a 13 point disadvantage to almost win this thing! Too bad they couldn't stop Roethlisberger during that last drive where they got their final touchdown. The Cardinals really killed themselves with their mistakes! But hey..it was a great game!!

    As far as the commercials well...they weren't that great this year really. I liked the Doritos ones and the GE with the scarecrow dancing on the power grid and singing "If I Only Had a Brain". Now if we could just get our politicians to follow the scarecrow to Oz to get a brain then hey...they may could actually fix this country! LOL


    February 2, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  50. Michelle D. Fonthill,Ont

    Good Morning Jack
    Your right on the money ! Springsteen rocked the house last ! It was electrfying and Steve Van Zandt rockin with Bruce was cool! i can't and don't want to picture John Maden bodysurfing the nosebleed section thanks now i'll have a mental picture of that all day -ha! I loved the half-time show he's just a ol-fashioned rock -n- roller that 's the way i like it ! Great moment meeting Bruce wow what a moment ! and you didn't even recoginize him -that figures !

    Michelle D.

    February 2, 2009 at 11:19 am |
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