Bruce Springsteen performed two back-to-back shows on Thursday and Friday night (May 22nd and 23rd) with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Soldiers and Sailors Hall. Both nights featured Springsteen digging deep into his catalogue for the shows, bookmarking each concert with solo acoustic performances. Friday night’s solo acoustic set kicked off the show with The Rising’s "Further On (Up The Road)," Magic’s "I’ll Work For Your Love," and Working On A Dream’s "Outlaw Pete." The show featured live standbys "Adam Raised A Cain" and "Pink Cadillac" alongside such rarities as "Racing In The Street '78," and "Save My Love" from The Promise, and the Clarence Clemons Springsteen-written soul workout "Savin’ Up."

The show featured healthy doses of tracks from the early-’90s Human Touch / Lucky Town period -- with Springsteen playing the title tracks to both albums, "Better Days," along with the first live rendition of "Leavin' Train" and a solo acoustic rendition of "My Beautiful Reward," before "The Boss" brought it home on his own with "Jersey Girl."

Thursday's show featured a solo opening set of "Mary Queen Of Arkansas," "Two For The Road," and "Kingdom Of Days." Rarities featured "Hearts Of Stone," the Gruschecky co-write "Code Of Silence," "Leap Of Faith," and solo acoustic show closers of "The Wall" -- in honor of Memorial Day -- and "Incident On 57th Street.”

Bruce Springsteen never takes for granted that he got the calling to become a musician as early as he did: "I wanted to play, I wanted to perform, I wanted to travel. And I wanted to feel as free as I could. I guess I consider myself lucky that when I was a kid I found something that I liked to do. Y'know, something that gave me some sense of personal satisfaction. I mean, sometimes I'll be laying down, thinking it's amazing. I can't believe it. Y'know, when I was 14, or 15, I thought about doing this. And somehow I did it! (laughs) Somehow, I got there.”

Peter Gabriel won’t rule out a Genesis reunion. Although plans were discussed regarding the classic five-man lineup -- Gabriel, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, and Steve Hackett -- reuniting earlier in the decade to perform 1974’s concert album, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway -- by the time of the band’s 2007 reunion, only Collins, Banks, and Rutherford were headed out on the road.

Gabriel, who quit the band in 1975 and sat out the band's 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction due to a scheduling conflict, told Classic Rock magazine that a reunion is not entirely off the table, explaining, "There are no plans at the moment. But I didn’t rule it out altogether last time. It just felt like it was going to be a bigger undertaking than I was able to go along with. I think Genesis were lucky in the way that we split, that there weren’t the high levels of acrimony that a lot of other bands have. I agreed to stay on for another six months and not say anything to anyone else, to give them the chance to decide what they were going to do. That was incredibly hard for me."

Peter Gabriel told us that periodically the band will pitch the idea of a reunion of some sort to him: "Guys will say to me from time to time, you know, 'Are you interested to do something?' I think (Genesis manager) Tony Smith asked if I wanted to do a tour, and, y'know, although I enjoy everyone, and I enjoy some of the things we did together, it seems to me silly to spend a lot of time going backwards when you could get as much fun or more fun going forward."

Phil Collins made his first live appearance in four years at his children’s school in Miami, Florida. The Guardian reported that Collins performed last week with the school band at Miami Country Day School, where his two sons Nicholas and Matthew attend. Collins’ ex-wife, Orianne Collins Mejjati, lives with the boys in Miami-Dade. Collins, who has been sidelined in recent years following major surgery for a dislocated vertebra and severe nerve damage in his hands, is currently eying a comeback either on his own -- or possibly with Genesis -- and is now working on new material with singer Adele.

Collins, who performed his own classic "In The Air Tonight" and the Genesis hit "Land Of Confusion," told the audience prior to beginning, "Before we start actually I'd just like to say hello and thanks for having me. I was here yesterday and we did a soundcheck and rehearsals and I met all of the kids up on the stage and most of the teachers. . . you're all very lucky to have such committed staff."

When we last caught up with him, Phil Collins gave us an update on nerve damage recovery on his hand -- which was a by-product of the vertebrae damage: "I won't know for a year, 'cause it takes year -- a millimeter a day, and the problem is on my elbow, down to my wrist and palm. Actually I can't play drums -- although I play drums on the Motown record, but I had to tape the sticks to my hand -- gaffer tape the sticks, 'cause I didn't have any strength to hold the sticks and my wrist.”

Side Notes:

Out now on DVD is Phil Collins' Going Back -- Live At Roseland Ballroom, NYC. The disc features 25 songs recorded in concert at Manhattan's Roseland Ballroom, along with members of Motown's original backing band the Funk Brothers -- bassist Bob Babbitt, and guitarists Eddie Willis and Ray Monette.

Also on board for the covers set were longtime Collins and Genesis sidemen drummer Chester Thompson and guitarist Darryl Stuermer.

 

It was 46 years ago today (May 30th, 1968) that the Beatles began recording their 30-song self-titled double album, which is commonly known as "The White Album."

The album's first session was for John Lennon's "Revolution 1," which was recorded in London at EMI's Studio Two, with the session stretching from 2:30 p.m. to 2:40 a.m. the next day. It was the group's first studio work since returning from Rishikesh, India after an extended stay to study transcendental meditation under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In 2009 a near-10-minute version of "Revolution 1" made the rounds of underground collectors -- the majority of which stems from the May 30th session.

Most of the songs from "The White Album" were written while the group was in India, including "Back In The U.S.S.R.," "Yer Blues," "I Will," "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill," "Rocky Raccoon," "I'm So Tired," "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," "Dear Prudence," "Mother Nature's Son," and Lennon's thinly-veiled attack on the Maharishi, titled "Sexy Sadie."

Other highlights on the album included "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Julia," "Helter Skelter," "Glass Onion," "Martha My Dear," "Birthday," and Ringo Starr's first composition, the country-flavored "Don't Pass Me By.”

Several songs originally intended for the "White Album" turned up on later solo albums, such as "Junk" which Paul McCartney released on his 1970 solo debut McCartney, "Child Of Nature" which John Lennon rewrote as "Jealous Guy" for his 1971 album Imagine, "Not Guilty" which made its way onto George Harrison's 1979 self-titled album, and Harrison's "Circles" which finally saw release on his 1982 album Gone Troppo.

During The Beatles Anthology, George Harrison defended the group's decision to release a 30-song album: "But y'know, what do you do when you've got all them songs and you want to get rid of them so that you can do more songs? Y'know, there was a lot of ego in that band, and there was a lot of songs (on 'The White Album') that should have been elbowed, or maybe made into B-sides.” 15

The Beatles' "White Album" was released on November 22nd, 1968 and went on to top the charts for nine non-consecutive weeks beginning on December 28th.

Did you know?

"The White Album" holds the distinction of being the first album to feature the Beatles' wives -- or soon-to-be wives -- on the actual recordings: Yoko Ono sings a line on "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill" and Yoko along with George Harrison's then-wife Pattie Boyd sings backup on "Birthday.”

The night that Linda McCartney -- then Linda Eastman -- moved into Paul McCartney's St. John's Wood townhouse, he came home in the early morning hours and played her a rough-mix acetate of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun.”

Throughout the years, a grand total of 12 of the songs recorded during "The White Album" sessions have been performed live by the former Beatles -- John Lennon performed "Yer Blues," Ringo Starr performed "Don't Pass Me By"; George Harrison performed "Piggies" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"; and Paul McCartney has performed "Back In The U.S.S.R," "Blackbird," "I Will," "Birthday," "Mother Nature's Son," "Helter Skelter," "Hey Jude" and "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."

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