…which on the face of it, is not much. I mean, for a start-off just LOOK at them. This is Bruce…
And this is Mike…
Sure, they are both in their sixties, compose, play guitar and sing on stage.
But while you can bet ALL of Mike’s fans have heard of Bruce, the number of Bruce’s fans who have heard of Mike can probably be counted on the fingers of a clumsy sawmill operator.
And yet they do have one other thing in common – the FOUR HOUR CONCERT.
I do not have to tell you the history of the man they call “The Boss” – but a few words about Mike might be instructive. He came from a background of Folk and eventually became a multi-instrumentalist, composer, author, poet, playwright, vocalist, stand-up comedian, traveller, broadcaster, filmmaker – you name it.
And for a decade or more, these two men anonymously beavered away on opposite sides of the Atlantic, learning their trades, each undoubtedly unaware of the other’s existence (Bruce is probably STILL unaware of Mike’s existence).
However, while their musical styles might have nothing in common, their performing styles DO.
Both men will keep going for as long as their audience wants to hear more (subject to the venue’s staff ALLOWING them to).
Bruce – along with his legendary East Street Band – is FAMOUS for performing four hour concerts. A fact he recently admitted to, on Fallon.
And I recall attending Mike Harding’s one-man-show (a one-nighter at the Dominion, Tottenham Court Road – a BIG West End theatre) where he was scheduled to do just ninety minutes, a half-hour interval, followed by an hour or so. Total two-and-a-half hours, which in itself is quite a marathon for one bloke.
But in the event, he returned from the interval after just twenty minutes – while the audience were still returning to their seats – and with the house-lights still up, said he was bored sitting in his dressing room and carried on with the gig.
The engineer dimmed the house-lights to half-level for the first ten minutes, then faded them out once the auditorium was full again.
The second half lasted TWO-AND-A-HALF hours, instead of the planned ONE. Sat alone in the middle of that BIG stage, Mike performed everything he KNEW.
So why bother – when “superstars” with decidedly LIMITED repertoires get paid a FORTUNE for doing a medley of their HIT, followed by a selection from their latest album and a couple of (planned) encores?
Because Bruce and Mike have spent DECADES developing their crafts and LOVE WHAT THEY DO. They are what showbusiness is all ABOUT.
Bieber, take note.