Did you know NJ Stage offers FREE Event Listings? Nearly 100,000 listings were viewed in January. Be sure to add your events to our calendar and get your shows noticed!
A Different Take On Springsteen On Broadway
By Gary Wien
originally published: 10/13/2017
Press reviews are pouring in for Springsteen on Broadway this week and, while the critics love the show, many fans are still upset at the ticket costs which started out at hundreds of dollars more expensive than his regular tour tickets. Die-hard fans who often attended multiple shows on each tour are struggling with the idea of being able to see just one performance or none at all. Rich Lynch, a writer/musician from New Jersey who now lives in Nashville, was so incensed by the comments he saw from Bruce fans that he actually wrote and recorded a "protest" song in their honor.
As a music fan, Lynch never imagined he would write a song about him that could be considered anything less than reverential, but then Bruce announced an 80-show run of dates on Broadway in New York City. As he noticed the amount of negative feedback on Springsteen-related websites and forums, he realized that he was not alone in feeling disappointed in the high ticket prices.
To be fair, Bruce Springsteen routinely sells out stadiums around the world. He has rarely performed in a venue as small as the Walter Kerr Theatre (under 950 capacity). In a way, this performance was always going to be special simply because of the intimate venue, but as details emerged about the show it became clear it wasn't simply another concert -- it was a night of stories, personal reflections, and music. In other words, Springsteen had created a true Broadway show. With that in mind, some believe the ticket prices should be judged against other hot tickets on Broadway (some which run into hundreds of dollars as well) instead of a regular concert.
"The idea for the song definitely came from seeing the widespread backlash and from talking to longtime fans," explained Lynch who said the highest ticket prices he's ever paid was $500 for a Broadway play. "At this point, if this was a political race, you'd find me on the side of the disillusioned party. I've definitely seen Bruce in concert over thirty times since the 80s and I've shook his hand on at least three occasions. I surely didn't wake up one morning and decide to deconstruct one of my lifelong heroes. But, when I found that ridiculous anagram I knew exactly what needed to be done."
The article continues after this ad
The anagram came from the title of the show itself. That discovery, along with the comments he read online, brought a burst of inspiration.
"Something was bothering me about the name of the production," Lynch recalled. "I'm a creative person and often I'll employ unusual methods to help inspire my songwriting."
Lynch said he printed out an image of the marquee that read "Springsteen On Broadway" and using a scissors and some tape he cut out each individual letter and started rearranging them until he found a perfect anagram containing the unlikely but strangely fitting phrase: "Ow, A Bad Singer's Pony Rent".
"Once I stopped laughing I realized there might be something here," Lynch continued. "I quickly crafted three verses dealing with the universal subjects of greed, lost integrity and the dangers of blind faith and then the chorus basically wrote itself. The demo was done within 48 hours."
Despite admitting that odds were long that he would have actually traveled from Nashville to New York City to see the show, Lynch crafted a good song. He followed the concept of the Traveling Wilburys' cult classic, "Tweeter and the Monkey Man," and included several references to Springsteen in the lyrics to help illustrate the disillusionment expressed by many long-time fans.
"The sheep lined up on Broadway / Because the boss let out the decree
The change was made when they found out / What was lying underneath the marquee
Now he’s a fallen star they say / no longer heaven sent
The streets of New York City are paved with gold and tarred with disillusionment"
Lynch enlisted the help of Jay Pounders (former frontman of the band Crossfire Choir) to produce the track with Nashville guitarist Nick Johnson lending a strong classic rock vibe. The end result is a track that has been garnering good initial reviews.
Does Lynch worry about backlash from the song?
"For me, I'm a songwriter and an observer of life as it goes on around me," Lynch explained. "This song isn't necessarily from my point of view but it does tell the side of disillusioned fans. "I found support for this song in a Philly.com opinion piece called ‘Profiteering On Broadway’ that was published in September when the show was announced. In the article the author described how the people most likely sitting in the front row would be the Banker’s Hill types that Bruce had once railed against on his late career Wrecking Ball album."
Lynch says he last saw Springsteen perform live on November 22, 2009 in Buffalo, NY - the last time Clarence Clemons performed with the band. He seems content with that memory as the final chapter for him. The prices for the Broadway shows have priced him and many others out of the run. If you are among them, you might feel like putting on Lynch's song and joining the protest.
White Eagle Hall Presents Mason Jennings (JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- White Eagle Hall presents Mason Jennings on Sunday, September 16 at 7:00pm. Jennings is touring in support of his latest album, Songs From When We Met, which was released earlier this year. Tickets are $20.Pioneer Productions Presents Wendy-Lane Bailey Women's Work (DENVILLE, NJ) -- Pioneer Productions kicks off its new Living Room Series with Women’s Work - an evening of songs by female songwriters on September 16 at 6:00pm at the Arthur Murray Studios in Denville. Conceived and performed by singer/storyteller Wendy-Lane Bailey & composer/pianist Michele Brourman it has a funny, sometimes challenging but always defiantly feminine viewpoint that brings the worlds of Broadway, pop, and country together in one show.Stone Pony To Honor Butch Pielka (ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- A special day of music to honor the legacy of the original Stone Pony co-owner and manager, Robert “Butch” Pielka, will be held Sunday, October 7, from 2:00 to 9:00pm at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. The lineup includes reunions of Cats on a Smooth Surface and The Shakes, and Lance Larson. More names are expected to be added.Victor Wainwright & The Train To Perform At Lizzie Rose Music Room (TUCKERTON, NJ) -- The Lizzie Rose Music Room presents Victor Wainwright and the Train on Wednesday, August 22 at 7:30pm. A 3 time BMA Piano Award winner, BB KING Entertainer of the Year Award Winner, and Band of the Year Award winner, Victor Wainwright is at the top of his game right now. The band is touring in support of their latest record, The Train, on Ruf Records. Tickets are 30 in advance and $35 at the door.State Theatre presents Lost 80's Live (NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Lost 80’s Live on Saturday, September 20, 2018 at 8:00pm. The Lost 80’s line-up features some of the most iconic bands from the 1980s including A Flock of Seagulls; Wang Chung; Bow Wow Wow; Farrington and Mann, Original Vocalists of When in Rome UK; Naked Eyes; and Animotion. Tickets range from $48-$98.
Let’s Hang On’s Tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons LIVE! at The Strand Q: So what do four guys from Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and Massachusetts — and all currently based out of Florida — have in common with four guys from “Joisey” this summery August 3, 2018 evening at the Strand Theater in Lakewood, NJ?80's Tribute Band Almost Journey Rocks iPlay America I never in a million years would have thought about iPlay America in Freehold as being an event venue. To me, it's a place to ride bumper cars, have kids' birthday parties and play video games. Never been there.The Great Rock N Roll Time Machine LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center As we make our way inside the Grunin Center of the Arts located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ, this Saturday, July 28, 2018, we see music lovers of all ages. Some of them are wearing street clothes but some are decked out in outfits from the 1970s and ’80s for tonight’s concert by the ’70s and ’80s tribute band, The Great Rock N Roll Time Machine.Classical Guitarists Alex and Wesley Park LIVE! at The Great Auditorium The bucolic seashore town of Ocean Grove, NJ is a place designed for quiet reflection and spiritual renewal.
An artist sketches in the lush green park off Pilgrim Pathway.
Still others read or meditate in the heart of this picturesque village which features gingerbread houses and colorful gardens, all just steps away from the fresh salt air wafting off the blue Atlantic Ocean.“Rock and Roll Icons!” Hippiefest LIVE! at BergenPAC A light summer rain is falling outside Englewood, NJ’s BergenPAC this Wednesday July 25, 2018, as music lovers decked out in peace signs, tie-dyed shirts, and bell-bottomed jeans arrive for tonight’s Hippiefest concert event starring Vanilla Fudge, Rick Derringer, Mitch Ryder, and Badfingers’ Joey Molland.