Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An E Street Band lineup

(Warning: This post has little to do with baseball.)

I had a friend who was a big baseball player back in high school ...

I've seen Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in concert eight times, which is hardly a record but probably establishes my credentials as a fan. And since the death of The Big Man, Clarence Clemons, I've been haunting You Tube viewing concert clips and thinking about the aging of the band, the transitions they've gone through and the transitions ahead. (And my aging, transitions, etc.)

Scooter and the Big Man
It occurred to me that my "optimal" E Street Band has nine members, just as a baseball lineup has nine hitters. Since this is the goofy way my mind works, and since this is my blog and you can't stop me, a batting order.

1) Roy Bittan, piano. Leadoff men are table setters, and many of Springsteen's songs lead off with Bittan's nimble fingers.

2) Nils Lofgren, guitar. An onstage acrobat, he's probably the shortstop. The No. Two hitter is traditionally a guy who gives himself up to move runners along; Lofgren has accepted a lower profile onstage with the return of Steve Van Zant to the lineup.

3) Springsteen. The best hitter, the star, hits third.

4) Clemons. Who better to clean up than the sax soloist? Who better to bring the power than the Big Man?

5) Max Weinberg, drums. An obvious heavy hitter.

6) Little Steven, guitar. Lineup depth indeed — he'd be middle of the order for almost anybody else.

7) Garry Tallent, bass. Durable lineup fixture; other than the Boss himself, he's the only member left from the band photo on the back of "The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle."

8) Danny Federici, organ/keyboards. Not as prominent in the mix as the piano, but the keyboards again set things up for the others. Could hit second if need be.

9) Patti Scialfa, vocals. Major role in Springsteen's life as his wife, minor role in the band. Frankly, it's probably a stronger lineup with Soozie Tyrell, violinist, here, and Tyrell's been more involved in recent tours than Scialfa, but Tyrell's album credits have all been as an "additional musician," not as a member of the E Street Band.

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