“Working On A Dream” by Bruce Springsteen – Chords, Tabs, and How to Play

“Working On A Dream”
Bruce Springsteen

(Capo 5)

Out here the nights are long, the days are lonely.

I think of you, and I’m working on a



I’m working on a



The cards I’ve drawn’s a rough hand, darlin’ —
I straighten my back, and I’m working on a dream…
I’m working on a dream.

G                           C                                            G
I’m working on a dream, though it feels so far away.
G                           C                                                          D
I’m working on a dream, and I know it will be mine some day.

Rain pourin’ down, I swing my hammer.
My hands are rough from working on a dream…
I’m working on a dream.

I’m working on a dream, though trouble can feel like it’s here to stay.
I’m working on a dream; our love will chase the trouble away.

I’m working on a dream, though it can feel so far away.
I’m working on a dream, and our love will make it real some day.

Sunrise come, I climb the ladder.
The new day breaks, and I’m working on a dream…
I’m working on a dream.
I’m working on a dream…
I’m working on a dream.

I’m working on a dream, though it can feel so far away.
I’m working on a dream, and our love will make it real some day.

I’m working on a dream, though it can feel so far away.
I’m working on a dream, and our love will make it real some day.

** These chords and lyrics are interpretations and transcriptions, respectively, and are the sole property of the copyright holder(s). They are posted on this website free of charge for no profit for the purpose of study and commentary, as allowed for under the “fair use” provision of U.S. copyright law, and should only be used for such personal and/or academic work. **

Bruce Hornsby: LIVE IN CONCERT – MGM Grand, Mashantucket, CT (March 27, 2009) – REVIEW

By Chris Moore:

Right off the bat, I have to address how proud I am of myself that I was able to suppress the strong urge to title this concert review “That’s Just the Way It Was.”  As tempting as it was, I’m sure it’s already been used somewhere by someone…

At 8:02 on Friday night at the MGM Grand, only two minutes after the official start time of the concert, Bruce Hornsby appeared unceremoniously by walking out of the shadows, approaching his piano from stage right.  No announcements, no opening band.  (For a moment, I thought this might be a technician coming out for one last equipment inspection – and, if you’ve ever seen America perform, you know how many times it’s possible for a techie to inspect and tune  the guitars!)

As he neared the piano, he surveyed the assortment of papers strewn about the top of his piano.  Notes to himself?  A set list?  Lyrics for the less familiar tunes?

Negative, on all accounts.

Apparently, Hornsby does not work from a setlist.  Instead, he takes in requests from the audience before shows in the form 0f handwritten song titles slipped onto the stage.  His offical website reports, “Yes, it’s true. Bruce does not have a set list for his concerts. He comes up with the set list through requests from the audience. So, if you attend a concert, be sure to carry paper to write your requests on and place them on the stage.”  This is a novel approach, to be certain.  I wanted to participate in the process, but I have only been a “greatest hits” fan.  Aside from that, I would have had to design a paper airplane that was a marvel of physics in order to have my request reach the stage from my seat in the “Parterre” section of the MGM Grand theater, which is French for orchestra seats (and, apparently, English for “far away from the stage, but still technically on the ground level”).

After a brief, positive commentary from Hornsby about the array of requests, he started into the first song.  From the moment his hands touched the keys, it was apparent that he is truly a masterful musician, one of the few that is able to blend intricate classical arrangements into catchy pop/rock, country, and bluesgrass songs.

His first couple selections were played alone, but he was soon joined onstage by the Noise Makers (J.T. Thomas on keyboards, Bobby Read on saxophones (etc.), J.V. Collier on bass, Doug Derryberry on lead guitar, and Sonny Emory on drums).  Soon after, they launched into the first song with which I was familiar.  “Every Little Kiss” was all piano riffs and rock’n roll catchiness.  Well, maybe more adult contemporary than rock, but…

This was the first of several “greatest radio hits” tracks that Hornsby and the Noise Makers performed, much to the delight of my father and I.  Overall, the set list was a diverse collection of the hits, the deep tracks, and covers.  Some were note-for-note replicas of studio versions, such as “The Good Life,” while others were stripped apart and turned inside out, like “The Way It Is.”  There was a definite, if controlled sense of a jam band mentality.  During the final jam of the main set, Hornsby slipped from one song to the next, folding in a couple of high-energy verses from Bob Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry.”  I had begun to tire of the jamming by the end of the show, and this fine touch really brought it all back home for me. (Please send your criticisms of that shameless pun to Chris, care of a comment below…)

At one point, Hornsby left the piano to strap on his accordion and take center stage for two songs.  As he approached the microphone with the new instrument, he commented that he had recently been with Levon Helm.  He introduced the following song by saying that this would please those in the crowd who enjoyed nostalgia, as this was a track from the band — namely, “Evangelne.”  The version did not disappoint and proved further that Hornsby is nothing if not an excellent multi-instrumentalist.

Hornsby was a personable, likable figure onstage.  In between songs, he kept a running commentary going, reflecting on the state of the economy and thanking everyone for coming out to see him perform all the same.  Early on, he revealed that Foxwoods management had told him to play for only 65 minutes.  Just over an hour for some who had paid $50 plus a “convenience” charge — that’s outrageous!  In his very laid-back manner, he said about as much and said they would stretch it to 90 minutes or so.  It sounded as if they told him that 65 minutes was the suggestion and 90 minutes was the outside limit.  He was true to his word, as the main set took the show’s running time to just over an hour and a half plus an encore.

Later on in the show, he expressed how happy he was that he remembered all the words to a track from his first album, a song that he played by request.

On the whole, this was a truly enjoyable concert.  I have an increased respect for Hornsby’s abilities as a pianist and performer, the Noise Makers were a flexible and vastly talented group, and the MGM Grand is a comfortable environment with excellent acoustics.  For my taste, there was too much of a jam band mentality on many of the selections — even Hornsby commented at one point that, due to the time limitations, the songs would be shorter than usual.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing, he said.  He continued, “There’s a fine line between self-expression and self-indulgence,” glancing with a grin to his bandmates.  I couldn’t agree more.

This concert was a bonding experience of sorts for me, as my father is a longtime fan of Hornsby and an even longer-time fan of the song “The Way It Is.”  While we both enjoyed the show, the low point of the show was indisputably their performance of the aforementioned hit single.  Aside from the initial keyboard blast of the familiar riff, the song was given a new, more jumpy tempo and the tune was stripped apart into an understated sequence of lines.  There was none of the charm of the studio version, and all biases being admitted, this version was nothing to brag about on its own.  For those five minutes, I appreciated what it must be like to attend a Dylan concert expecting to hear faithful versions of his hits, only to be met with deep tracks and rearranged versions.  Still, I maintain that the Dylan live experience offers up new and interesting, entertaining takes on his songs, whereas this was disappointing from all angles.

Regardless, the show as a whole was well worth the $35, and is an experience that I will remember fondly for years to come.  Part of that comes out of a bias, but this time a positive one!

A “Chris Moore Monday” Premiere!

By Chris Moore:

Well, I am regretfully feeling pretty terrible tonight and my throat has taken quite the hit.  So, should we just cancel the session for the night and wait for “Jim Fusco Tuesday?”…

Not a chance!

Instead of a music video tonight, I’m working on the first in a series of articles on rock music that I will release in the coming year.  I’m still trying to work on a name for the series as a whole.  Maybe “Rock Face: The Face of Rock Music Today.”  Sorry, that was a shameless inside joke that only a few of you will get.

Seriously, though, I’m working hard on this article now and I hope you enjoy it when I post it later tonight.

On an unrelated note, the Bruce Springsteen Halftime Show performance yesterday was even more exciting than I thought it would be, for a number of reasons.  First of all, the performance itself was great.  As Jim’s father pointed out, it looked like Springsteen would need to be hooked up to oxygen immediately after the show, based on all the energy he put into the twelve minute performance.  Once again, I’m not really a Springsteen fanatic, but I love his recent work.  I’ve been somewhat unimpressed with his live work (including a couple of concerts televised on television over the past few years), but the Super Bowl performance was certainly a high point of the game for me.  I realize that’s sacriledge and I may be branded as an outcast, but so be it…  Oh, and that being said, there’s a really funny list on a Yahoo! blog today called: “The 10 Unforgivable Sins Of Bruce Springsteen’s Performance At The Super Bowl.”  Jim sent it to me earlier today.  Worth a read for any music fan.

The second reason why the performance was so exciting is its aftermath.  I posted the set list and some general comments and predictions yesterday, mainly because I was looking forward to the show and it was on my mind.  Well, the post helped catapult us to an all-new view record for a single day on the Laptop Sessions music blog!  Thank you, Super Bowl, and thank you, Bruce Springsteen!

Stay tuned for the article to come; I hope you enjoy reading it!

Super Bowl Halftime Show: Bruce Springsteen’s Set List

By Chris Moore:

Hello, football fans. More specifically, hello Super Bowl XLIII Halftime Show rock music fans! I’m writing this post mid-game, anticipating Bruce Springsteen and his Halftime Show songs.

Yes, as I’m sure you’ve heard, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are performing a 12 minute set at the half time of tonight’s big game. For those of you who don’t know me, it’s those twelve minutes of Springsteen live songs that I’m eagerly anticipating. Some people bet on the game and who will win. Me? I try to guess which songs the Boss will decide to play.

Luckily, Jim invited me to his parent’s home, which hosts a big screen television and lots of snack food — the best of circumstances for watching the game!

My bet? I’m personally predicting (and hoping) that Springsteen’s set list of songs will include four tracks — three greatest hits and one from the new album, “Working on a Dream.” With only twelve minutes to work with, it seems like four songs will be a tight squeeze, but we’re talking about a crowd of football fans and party-goers with predictably short attention spans. Also, even though the great majority of Super Bowl fans won’t recognize the new songs, playing a new song just might interest some of the viewers of Super Bowl XLIII to buy “Working on a Dream.”

Okay, so here’s the predictions for specific songs, understanding of course that I don’t expect any of these to necessarily come true.

Hits: “Born in the USA,” “Brilliant Disguise,” & “Hungry Heart.” Maybe “My Hometown” as a fall back. Pretty random guesses here from a recent Springsteen fan, so take these for what they’re worth…

New Song: “My Lucky Day” or maybe “Working on a Dream” (the former is the single, but the latter IS the title track…)

Some other predictions from the Laptop Sessions peeps:

Mike and Jim agree: “Born to Run,” “Born in the USA” and “Dancing in the Dark”; something from the new album.

My bet is that they’ll be more accurate with the hits; they’re usually amazingly intuitive and/or logical with these types of music trivia and predictions.

And now, courtesy of the WordPress app on my iPhone…

The Super Bowl XLIII Bruce Springsteen Halftime Show Songs (Set List):
1) “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”
2) “Born to Run”
3) “Working on a Dream”
4). “Glory Days”

Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong in my predictions, but I was right about one thing – Springsteen and the E Street band ROCKED! He really gave it his all. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more energetic performance from anyone at any age, never mind a rock legend pushing 60 years of age…

See you tomorrow for my all-new “Chris Moore Monday” Laptop Session music video!