Saturday, October 06, 2007

E Street Band vs. Marching Band

Bruce Springsteen has a new album out that is getting mostly good reviews. He is out this fall touring with the E Street Band. If you read my list of artists I’ve seen multiple times, you know that Bruce is a three-fer, so naturally I wanted to check out the tour for the new album.

Unfortunately, all the dates in my area conflict with my son’s marching band schedule. This leads to one of those ethical dilemmas parents always face: doing something you want to do versus doing something to support your kid. To help make that decision I mentally weighed the relative merits of The E Street Band against The Marching Band.

Band Size

There are 9 people including Bruce in the most recent official group photo.

This year’s band is 35 strong including two drum majors and three color guard members.
(Click picture to see a bigger version.)

Tour Schedule

Bruce is playing 26 dates in 17 cities for the US leg of the tour. There were “rehearsal” shows in Asbury Park and the tour kicked off earlier this week in Hartford. The closest shows to me were Philly and DC.

The Marching Band plays at five home football games and travels to five competitions including Hershey, Wilmington, Cumberland, and Annapolis.

Ticket Prices

At the Verizon Center, most tickets were $95 plus service charges for any decent seat. Current prices on StubHub for non-nosebleed seats range from two hundred to over a thousand.

Four bucks gets you into a home football game. I don’t know what the competitions charge since I usually get in free because “I’m with the band.” I bet five bucks sounds about right.

Ticket Availability

The first DC show sold out in less than five minutes. A second show was added but tickets were all gone by the time I learned about it at noon.

Walk-ups welcome.

Set List

Each night’s setlist is a little different, but it tends to be equal parts new material off his new Magic album, big hits, and older gems.

This year's show celebrates the 50th anniversary of West Side Story featuring excerpts from “Maria” and “Officer Krupke”.

Show Length

Bruce shows are nearly three hours long with over 20 songs.

Each band has ten minutes to perform, but with dozens of bands, a competition can go for 6 to 8 hours.


Clarence Clemons is one of the world’s best recognized and most loved sidemen in music.

My son is a senior and it's his second year as section leader. This year he is playing the tenor sax in the show.

When all the pros and cons are weighed, especially the all-important sour-grapes there-was-no-way-to-get-Bruce-tickets factor, I think I will spend my fall weekends earning Good Parent Karma Points by driving to obscure stadiums to watch my son play out his senior year in the marching band. Bruce will come back to town someday. My son will never be seventeen again.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Who would you rather see, your favorite rock band or your kid's marching band? Come on, be honest.


Anonymous said...

Your son wins any time! It is not a case of sour grapes!

He looks good too. I prefer him to the BOSS!

Michele sent me back. Glad she did!

Dave2 said...

I'm not a big fan of Springsteen, so even I would probably go see your son's band.

Shari said...

Hello, Michele sent me.

Given a choice, I'd pick my kid. Why? They grow up too soon. I can always listen to CDs of my favorite bands. Besides, it's so important to the kids to have their parent there. :)

Anonymous said...

Michele sent me back to have another look at your handsome son!

HRH Courtney, Queen of Everything said...

Well, since I don't have kids, and I do have a Bruce ticket, my choice is easy.

trusty getto said...

Well, of course, uh, I'd, um, always, ahem, pick my child's, ah, marching band.

Did I get the answer right?

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Good call - I would go see my son's marching band gig too. Especially since I have NEVER been able to get Springsteen tickets. Not that that has anything to do with it. No, really.

yellojkt said...

Seems to be running 5 to 1 in favor of marching bands (despite some waffling on the part of trusty). And I'm putting Courtney in charge of my ticket buying from now on.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Thankfully I have no kids so the rock bands win, at least when I can see them :)

TBG said...

The first time I saw Bruce was in the small Burress Hall auditorium at Virginia Tech and it was awesome.

The last time I saw him it was incredibly disappointing. Long, depressing songs and very few of the "older gems" you speak of.

I'd take a high school band any time, but you had me at "Officer Krupke."

Elizabeth said...

I vote with the high school band! You'll have plenty of time to see the rock groups after he leaves for college, but this is the last year he'll be in the high school band.

Anonymous said... already know about my experience with the Long Island Minstrel Show. I think I racked up a few thousand Dad Points on that one.

The scheduling conflict is probably why Clarence Clemons declined to attend your son's competitions.

yellojkt said...

Claude, I do remember your ordeal with The All-White Wiz. There was a band doing Wicked so they were in greenface.

And I lied about the price. It was ten bucks to get into the competition and people were having to sit on the lawn because the stands were nowhere near big enough for the crowd.

Cedar said...

I love marching bands! I was in the band for two years in HS (played the littlest bass drum), and I still love listening to and watching them, especially the ones with lots of money to do cool stuff.

I think "hokey-est marching band theme" would be a good blog post. We did James Bond themes, which was pretty corny.

2fs said...

WhoTF's "Michele"? Anyway: if I had to choose between seeing Bruce and seeing my son's band, I'd definitely wonder when the hell it was I had a son.

2fs said...

Oh - and the obvious solution is to surreptitiously poison Clarence Clemons' pre-show snack...and hey, your son, a tenor sax player, just happens to be there...

Anonymous said...

Um, blush, I'd rather see my favorite rock band than any ensemble one of my kids might (potentially) be in! LOL- I'm a bad mom. But I think your son is way cuter than Clarence Clemons.