If those of us in the audience at Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band thought we were freaked out when Texas singer-songwriter icon Alejandro Escovedo walked out to join the Boss for "Always a Friend," the first track off his excellently reviewed new CD Real Animal, during the first encore, just imagine how Escovedo himself felt. Actually, you don't have to, because he just spilled his guts to Backstreets magazine, the official publication of Springsteen's fan club, before playing a show at Washington, D.C.'s famous 9:30 club.
According to an interview posted yesterday on backstreets.com, “We were driving towards Houston," Escovedo recalled, "when I got a text message from [manager] Jan that said Bruce wants to do 'Always a Friend.' 'Are you in? Can you make soundcheck in 45 minutes?' We were two hours out!”
Escovedo - who had never even seen Springsteen live before - missed soundcheck, but was able to rehearse the song with Springsteen twice in the Boss' dressing room before Springsteen called the entire band in. So how was it? How do you think?
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"I've seen a lot of music in my life: you know punk rock, The Stooges… everything," Escovedo said. "But this is one of the most powerful things, if not the most powerful thing I've ever seen."
And, asks Backstreets, how did the experience affect him?
“Those four minutes on stage with Bruce were more important than the 33 years I've been playing music," gushes Escovedo. "It just changed my life. It was like being blessed by the Dalai Lama. Suddenly all those years of working really hard and struggling, someone said, 'You're all right. You're good at what you do. You deserve to be up here.'"
As someone watching from the rafters of Toyota Center, I have to agree. It was pretty damn cool, and Escovedo held his own. Real Animal is a pretty damn good album too. - Chris Gray