Friday, February 10, 2012

The E Street Orchestra

That's what it should be called! After months of speculation, the replacement/s for the late, great Clarence Clemons have been revealed:

The expanded lineup for this Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tour features singers Cindy Mizelle and Curtis King, trombonist Clark Gayton and trumpeter Curt Ramm, all of whom have toured with Bruce Springsteen in the past, along with newcomer Barry Danielian on trumpet. E Street stalwart Eddie Manion and first time tour member Jake Clemons will share the saxophone role.
- courtesy of

Ed Manion is no stranger of course. He has been a long-time member of Southside Johnny's Asbury Jukes, but has toured alongside the E Street Band during the Born To Run tour, was part of the Miami Horns during the Born In The U.S.A. and the subsequent Tunnel Of Love Express tours. He also played a notable role in Springsteen's Seeger Sessions Band during the '06 tour. So it would only be fitting to have him as the saxophonist for the upcoming world tour. He was one of the key players in shaping the Jersey Shore sound and is technically capable of fulfilling Clarence's parts, but we all know nobody can truly replace the Big Man.

I think Bruce made the absolute right decision by adding another sax player. It sort of eases the enormous weight and responsibility of having to fill in for C entirely. Jake Clemons is Clarence's nephew. Sentimental reason, perhaps? But take note that Jake is able to hold his own when it comes to performing. Last year, he guested at Eddie Vedder's solo show, doing the sax solo on Drive All Night as a tribute, something the Big Man would've been proud of. With Ed and Jake in the picture now, it'll be interesting to see who takes what solos.

The backup singers, veterans Cindy Mizelle and Curtis Kings were nice additions previously as they brought the soul and gospel to the music , and I hope Bruce utilizes them more this time round. And then we have the horns -- I for one am looking forward to finally hearing Curt Ramm live, having not seen him on the last leg of the previous '09 tour. Coupled with the two sax players, this entire band of sixteen people onstage is gonna be a real powerhouse. Imagine the endless possibilities; new arrangements and new band dynamics, more crowd participation. We'll probably get lots of songs from The Promise, while Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out and Kitty's Back are gonna seriously gonna bring the house down! Higher And Higher should remain as the show closer.

Here's the rest of the band line-up:
Guitar & Vocals - Steve Van Zandt, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa
Piano & Synthesizer - Roy Bittan
Bass - Garry Tallent
Drums - Max Weinberg
Keyboards - Charlie Giordano
Violin, Guitar & Vocals - Soozie Tyrell

One final thing: The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame just announced that they'll start inducting backing groups from this year onwards, to make up for their past 'mistakes'. This year's honorees come from the early generation of rock & roll: the Comets (Bill Haley), Blue Caps (Gene Vincent), Crickets (Buddy Holly), Famous Flames (James Brown), Midnighters (Hank Ballard) and of course, the Miracles (Smokey Robinson). So it's pretty obvious that the next-generation backing groups like Crazy Horse, Silver Bullet Band (Bob Seger), the Wailers (Bob Marley) and the Belmonts (Dion) will get in sometime within the next few years. Glad to see the Hall going in the right direction, but c'mon, they should've done this a long fucking time ago. And of course I couldn't be happier that the E Street Band is gonna get the recognition they rightfully deserve.