Western Stars

The Boss redeems himself through the power of song in this peaceful concert film.

Last August, I reviewed “Blinded by the Light,” a sweet-hearted biography, about a young Pakistani Englishman who fell in love with Bruce Springsteen’s music.

Now, Bruce Springsteen has joined forces with Thom Zimny to direct himself in “Western Stars,” a concert film that allows the singer to fight his demons by providing the lyrics and vocal chords.

Before releasing the “Western Stars” album, he performed in his old farmhouse for a small audience. The structure was built in the late 1800s, and the old wood helps his songs sound so beautiful. Plus, this is the only place he knows would allow his orchestra and back-up chorus to perform. And it’s not just him performing. His wife Patti Scialfa collaborates on stage with her guitar and voice.

Each song he performs leaves you in such a relaxed state that you nearly fall asleep. I’m using the analogy of singing a lullaby. And each number looks and feels like you’re watching a musical guest on a “Saturday Night Live” stage. The lighting, the setting, and the lack of screaming fans keeps the Boss at peace.

There are 2-3 minute gaps after each song, which reveal Bruce’s struggles in the past. They’re mostly treated like fly swaps, because of how they don’t exactly provide the basis, but at least, they allow this concert movie to have meaning.

I caught “Western Stars” at a Fathom Events screening in Chicago, and I was able to hear the voice and words with a sense of heart and relaxation. As a film critic from New Jersey, I must allow Bruce to help take the stress away, but really, it’s about him trying to keep himself on track.

He’s had break-ups and emotional stages, but at least he declared Patti Scialfa the woman of his dreams. They’ve raised a family, and now, he’s able to share his love for them and of life.

I don’t really go to concert movies, nor the actual events in real life, but unless they’re given truth and love like “Amazing Grace” with Aretha Franklin or “Rolling Thunder Revue” with Bob Dylan, I must see them for myself. “Western Stars” deserves to be Born in the USA.


Categories: Documentary, Music

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