AUSTIN -- For a man with so many famous friends, it's a wonder that Bruce Springsteen hasn't taken advantage of the talent saturation at the South By Southwest Music Conference before. The Boss not only delivered the festival's keynote address Thursday day, but performed for just shy of two-and-a-half hours with his E Street Band at night, along with a few pals from his collection. Arcade Fire, Alejandro Escovedo, Jimmy Cliff, Tom Morello, Joe Ely, Eric Burdon and more all took the stage at ACL Live, most notably and abundantly on the Boss' frequent cover and closer "This Land Is Your Land."
This Austin stop was only his second on the newly launched "Wrecking Ball" tour, but alone was a companion piece to Springsteen's keynote speech from earlier in the day. At the convention center, the songwriter articulated his own artistic journey as he unfurled a general genealogy of American popular music, in delectable poetry, in bits of song and -- at times -- sexually charged metaphor. At 62, he still expressed some teenaged glee and wonderment of SXSW's abundance and the dizzying multitude of subgenres for every palate. He advised, "Rumble, young bands, rumble... stay hungry. Stay alive. When you walk on stage tonight to bring the noise, treat it like it's all we have. And then remember, it's only rock n roll."
And he spoke of how just about every one of his songs, including those on "Wrecking Ball," were really just revamped versions of The Animals' "We Gotta Get Out of This Place."
And wouldn't you know it, The Animals' Eric Burdon showed up, to perform just that.