Saturday, April 19, 2008

Danny Federici, R.I.P.

When I posted earlier this week about the musicians guesting with the E Street Band, I made no mention of Danny Federici's appearance at the Indianapolis show. I knew he'd had cancer and wasn't performing, but I didn't see any significance in what would ultimately be his final performance.

Federici was a brother - blood brother - to Springsteen as much as anybody was. Their 40-year musical partnership and friendship is at the heart of Bruce's sad message announcing Danny's death. (Read the New York Times obituary and a tribute at the Asbury Park Press.)

I was lucky enough to catch the E Street reunion tour twice in 1999 and 2000, and another performance two years later on the Rising tour. And through countless live recordings, what's always stood out to me about the E Street live performances is the fact that you can hear everyone. The wall of sound of the records is separated and you can distinctly tell what each musician is adding to the mix. And on organ and accordion, Danny gave those songs the life they needed, as did every member of the E Street Band.

Here's his final performance, March 20, guesting on probably the Boss' most bittersweet song ever, "Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" which sails on that accordion's light and enigmatic melody:

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (live 1980)

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Mr. Chair said...
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