Tom Joad's post on the "I have fallen out of love" thread got me thinking about the last 10 years and how much, if any, of his feelings I agreed with.
10 years ago Bruce was embarking on the tour with the horns, singers and his collaboration with Tom Morello. I enjoyed that, especially the Tom bit, culminating in two great concerts for me in Cape Town. If memory serves me right, a lot of people reacted favourably to that tour, although I know some really hated "Commie Tommy". It has to be said that High Hopes is a long way from being one of his best albums!
The next tour in 2016 The River tour which wasn't, was, I would describe as a curates egg, good in parts. For my part, the decision not to play The River in full was a huge disappointment. However, Coventry was great fun, Berlin disappointing and Rome wonderful. Other people will have differing opinions on this. I do recall complaints about sound quality in some of the stadiums, which was possibly indicative of his his attitude then compared to his younger days, I don't know.
The next biggie I think was The Book. I enjoyed the book, but am probably biased in its favour by being lucky enough to attend the book signing at Waterstones and actually getting to say hello to my hero. I haven't returned to the book and there are certainly other autobiographies which I have enjoyed more and thought better written.
The book seemed to lead on to Broadway and I wonder whether these two were where it really started to go wrong for many fans. Once again, I loved the Broadway show, but only because I was lucky enough to go. If I hadn't been able to go I think I would have resented it as much as many other people. This was when the whole 'verified fan' crap started to crop up and long time fans felt very excluded from Bruce world. Maybe he revealed too much of himself - the magic trick which a lot of us fell for, we really thought he was the hero who rose from the streets, when really he was an entertainer, doing his job by entertaining. He has always done his job well, none of the sulky "I cant be bothered stuff" which you get from the likes of Van Morrison and for that I give him enormous credit.
Next up, Western Stars which I still believe to be one of his best albums. The film was wonderful and the album of the film version is one I return to time and time again. I know it wasn't everyone's cup of tea, which I understand as it was so different, but creatively I think it is right up there.
Letter to You is a good enough album, although I think some of the hype around how it was made turned out to be stretching the truth a little bit! Nevertheless, the film was compulsive viewing and the insights into the working of ESB were great. Was that on Apple TV? I honestly cant remember, but I do know I had to subscribe to a channel I didn't especially want and I was a bit resentful of that.
During lockdown, I think he did well to do the radio shows, most of which I enjoyed and at least he did something rather than just being holed up with Patti at the farm. The podcast and book with Obama were ok, but maybe also said something about how far away from us normal people he had moved.
Then we come to this year and, oh dear. I still don't understand the soul album and we are soon to get volume 2?? The ticket prices and his seeming indifference to fans being unable to afford them leaves a really sour taste in the mouth. It's almost as if he is confirming the 'magic trick'. I don't want to think that he has never really cared about us all, maybe as with many a long term relationship, he is taking us for granted.
I have doubtless missed out some things, but this is my brief précis of those 10 years.
I hope we will get some great shows this year, but I fear we might not. It might just be his last big pay day. Come on Bruce, show us we still matter.