At Springsteen After-Party, Comparisons to Dylan, Stones

A few minutes after 11 p.m. last night, two uniformed caterers were shuffling quietly around Pam Gale’s corner apartment on the 26th floor of Trump’s One Central Park West. Carefully laying out platters of glistening sashimi, buckets of ice and neat little clusters of booze bottles, the servers were preparing for the arrival of musician Danny Federici, who had just finished playing the keys and accordion with Bruce Springsteen at Madison Square Garden. No stranger to performing live, Mr. Federici, 57, has been a part of the E Street Band since its founding in 1972.

The after-party was being hosted by the keyboardist’s wife, Chelsea gallery owner Maya Stendhal, who was holding court in Donna Karan near a massive jukebox with the lights of Columbus Circle and Central Park South twinkling behind her. The music machine was playing Frank Sinatra on low. But surely, when not in such staid environs (below gilt recessed lighting lining the ceilings, Ms. Gale’s bathroom and guest bedroom boasted leopard-print wall-to-wall), Ms. Stendhal likes to rock out to the Boss on high. She must be a fan! “No, not at all,” she said, shaking her head. “I think Rock ‘n’ Roll is great, and certainly I like Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Robert Plant,” she continued after a few moments, “Yeah, Bruce and them are great, but…”

A few feet away, Mr. Federici, the man of the hour, was plopped down in a chair ignoring a tiny white Maltese that darted around the room trying–unsuccessfully it turned out–to avoid the underside of a Patrick McMullan photog’s hefty boot. Wearing white sneakers, faded blue jeans and a t-shirt, Mr. Federici seemed drained indeed.

Appearances aside, he said that playing with Springsteen on this tour, which began in Hartford on October 2 and will end in London on December 12, has been a relative breeze. “After all these years, this particular tour has been extremely relaxed. It was the quickest we’ve ever rehearsed, two weeks, normally we rehearse six weeks. Everybody’s very relaxed. It’s like, ‘Oh, we make a mistake here or there…’” he said with a shrug. “What happens is, when you have the freedom to make a mistake, you play so much better. If you’re much more relaxed, you try more new things; you’re in a much better state of mind. It’s really easy.”

Asked if she ever goes on tour with her husband, Ms. Stendhal, holding a wine glass in one hand, sent up a light scoff. “It’s Danny’s job, it’s a business. And for me, I have my own business. I’m busy. I don’t really have time to do any of that. There’s a lot of music in the house just on a regular basis, because he’s either playing or creating or doing something musically inclined. But as far as what he does, we like to, when we’re home, we’re both not working,” she explained.

Mr. Stendhal may not be the E Street Band’s biggest fan, but she does seem to think of the group in incipient terms. “I think they’re just getting started. Once things heat up politically then they’re going to show their true colors. We’ll see more of a political punch in the future.” At Springsteen After-Party, Comparisons to Dylan, Stones