Following on from my lament for the absence of Marc Cohen I was listening to an album that prompted me to write in similar vein about one of my musical heroes, Miami Steve van Zandt. His first solo album concentrated everything he knew about music and believed in into ten tracks of coruscating power. His second album did the same but showed his growing political awareness. His third was more political again and, being honest, not quite as good. Ditto his fourth and his fifth, the last released after a gap of a decade. But the first two are among the greatest albums ever released (hyperbole I know, but listen to them and see) and I loved them then and love them now.
I saw him live four times. The first, at Hammersmith with all the Disciples of Soul in tow, remains in my Top 5 gigs and is unlikely to be shifted. A set at Reading festival was a triumph in the face of beer throwing metalhead adversity. The third with a stripped down band at the Hammersmith Odeon isn’t far behind the first. The last was at the Crystal Palace Bowl where he was in the middle of the bill but played as if his life depended on it. I bought a ticket solely to see him and left immediately afterwards so I could meet him outside. And that was it.
In time he would re-join the E Street Band, become a great DJ and an acclaimed actor. His activisim would continue, most visibly with Sun City. But there would be no more solo music and no more solo gigs.
I have no more right than any other fan (i.e. none at all) to expect an artist to take the stage or record simply because I want them to. And Miami Steve has never been one for nostalgia, so the chances of a Disciples of Soul gig are non-existent too. But wouldn’t it be something, to see the band one last time. Miami Steve stalking the stage like a caged tiger. Jean Beauvoir throwing shapes and playing like a demon. Dino Danelli laying down the beat and the Jukes horns blasting it out. And that music, oh that music.
And if you have no idea what this is about have a look at this.