To promote his 19th album, "Devils & Dust," Springsteen is going it alone again.
"There's only two things," he says. "There's a guitar and a guy singing."
Because of the nature of the album, he is playing smaller houses. It's got to feel different, Mason suggests.
"This is enjoyable, you know," Springsteen says. "It's fun to play smaller places."
As Mason and Springsteen went backstage, and the Boss led the reporter around the Rosemont Theater outside Chicago, the 55-year-old performer said he appreciates the intimacy.
"It's fun to sing and really, really hear your voice, you know? It's very… that's enjoyable."
And it's not scary up there, all by himself?
"Yeah, it's always scary. That's why people pay," he replies with a laugh. "They pay because there's an element of terror involved on a nightly basis, you know."
The tour's 14 U.S. dates quickly sold out.
Says one concertgoer: "He's like the voice of everyman."
Frank Hornstein, who brought his 10-year-old son, Max, to his third Bruce concert, says, "You want the E Street Band, but I respect him as an artist." (34:07)
Springsteen last toured during the presidential campaign, singing in support of John Kerry. Not everyone was happy with his performance. "I got a lot of nasty letters during the last election," he says.
Onstage, he told one audience: "Particularly my favorite was the boxes of smashed records with a dead chicken in it."
Offstage, though, he admits, "I didn't get a dead chicken, that's the joke part of it.That's my embellishment. But I got the records, you know."
When he decided to support Kerry so vigorously, did anyone say to him, "Bruce, don't do it. Some of your fans will get upset"?
Says Springsteen, "No. No. Upsetting your fans is okay to do, you know.
"As a matter of fact," he continues, "it's a good thing to do. It should be part of your job on a somewhat regular basis. Because, if not, then what are you doing? You know, it's sort of, I think you're always trying to...you're pushing and pulling people to see things in a different light, you know."
He adds, "I write music, hoping that it does touch and upset my fans to a certain degree… 'cause the other answer is that…you're just telling people that everything is okay as it is."