It’s always a poignant moment when two artists from different generations come together to share a stage, and this thunderous footage of Bruce Springsteen joining Arcade Fire for a rollicking performance of ‘Keep The Car Running’ in Toronto is one well worthy of a revisit.
The track appeared on the Canadian group’s second album, Neon Bible, and having the opportunity to perform with one of their most famous fans.- who happens to be their hero – provided the group with a pinch-yourself moment that they’ll never forget. Artists like Springsteen ushered in the expansive, bombastic sound that would set the marker for groups like Arcade Fire to thrive.
It’s not just sonically where Springsteen has been a source of inspiration for Arcade Fire, but his friendship has provided them with words of wisdom. The group hang on to his every last record, and for a good reason too. After all, The Boss has seen it all.
Springsteen’s career hasn’t been all rosy, and although he’s seen as the messiah today, at one point in time, it was a different story. The Boss was accused of selling out in the early 1990s after moving to Los Angeles and turning his back on The E Street Band. In 1992, he released Human Touch and Lucky Town. Both albums were met with almost universal disdain from his loyal fanbase, who thought that his best years were firmly behind him.
Arcade Fire found themselves in a comparable predicament to Springsteen in 2017 when they released their divisive fifth album, Everything Now. Even though the record sold well and topped the charts in numerous countries, many critics panned it and thought Arcade Fire had lost their identity.
Singer Win Butler didn’t let the criticism they received get him down, and advice he was given by The Boss earlier in his career reminded him that no amount of criticism is the end of the world. “Bruce Springsteen actually told us once, ‘Just make sure that you can always play shows in Spain,’” Butler explained to CoS. “Because there will come a time when people hate you for like a decade, and you can just disappear and go play shows in Spain where people love you. And you’ll be in Spain, and you can eat delicious food. And then ten years after people will realise that you’re really great and you can go back to America.’
“The crazy thing about music is that everyone has different taste,” Butler added. “Depends where you grew up, what your parents liked, how you feel rhythm etc. I’ve been on the other side and not loved the music my favourite bands made, but I just started listening to other music.”
The performance sees Springsteen with a smile painted on his face just as colossal as the members of Arcade Fire. The sheer joy that radiates from The Boss during this performance shows that, first and foremost, he’s a music lover, which is why he’s had such sensational longevity.