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Bruce Springsteen Thanks!

Bruce Springsteen Rocks Fenway Park

Thanks to brucespringsteen.net

Photo by Jo Lopez

After barnstorming Europe for two and a half months and playing some of the most celebrated shows of their careers, Bruce and the E Street Band kicked off the outdoor leg of the US Wrecking Ball Tour last night at Boston’s 100 year-old Fenway Park.

With the scoreboard below the famed Green Monster reading “Bruce Springsteen,” the show started strong with a one-two punch of “The Promised Land” and “Out in the Street.” The Irish lilt of “Death to My Hometown” felt especially resonant in Boston, but it was during “My City of Ruins,” a song that Bruce described as being about “learning to live with ghosts,” that the emotional depth of the show came to a peak. Boston had lost Red Sox great Johnny Pesky just the day before, and in tribute, Bruce asked the crew to shine a spotlight on the right foul pole, known in Boston as Pesky’s Pole. There was silence, a poignant moment, and then cheers. As Bruce said, the Fenway field had a mix of blood and sweat from all who had played there before, and it seemed that he and the crowd were ready to add some of their own as they all danced into the night.

The set included highlights from throughout Bruce’s career: “Spirit in the Night” with Bruce and Jake Clemons sitting down front trading vocals and saxophone licks, a great pairing of “Darlington County” and “Working on the Highway,” and an amazing run of hits at the end of the night, from “Born to Run” to “Glory Days” to “Dancing in the Dark.” Even though Bruce physically carried a young boy up a few flights of stairs to reach the stage to sing during “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” he still had the energy to bust past the three-and-a-half-hour mark with the Boston favorite “Dirty Water” by The Standells and a final encore of “Twist and Shout.” Fireworks shot off from the top of the Green Monster, capping a night that will surely settle into the historic lore of Fenway Park.

- Jon Phillips, backstreets.com

Bruce Defies The Rain, Celebrates Summer at Night #2 in Boston

Photo by Jo Lopez

We had two brucespringsteen.net reporters on hand for Night #2 at Boston’s famed Fenway Park. Here are their reports from the magical evening:

Night two of two at Fenway Park in Boston, and Bruce walked out with just Roy Bittan at the piano to open with a rare, acoustic version of “Thunder Road” which most know from the opening of the Live/1975-’85 album.

After “Thunder Road” Bruce announced, “Let’s bring out the band. Let’s start with the hits — let’s start with the summertime hits!” This led into a crowd sing-along of “Hungry Heart,” right into “Sherry Darling” with the “girls melting on the beach,” followed by Eddie Cochrane’s “Summertime Blues” and then “Girls in Their Summer Clothes.” “Summertime Blues” was the first of many well-known covers tonight, from Eddie Floyd’s “Knock on Wood” to classic encore favorites from years past: “Detroit Medley” and “Quarter to Three.”

“Frankie,” one of several sign requests Bruce fulfilled tonight, was a real rarity. During the middle of the song, Bruce talked about writing it on the front porch of his house in New Jersey in 1978. As he recalled the fireflies from years ago he asked, “Any fireflies out there? Light ‘em up, light ‘em up!” And the glow of hundreds of cell phone screens lit up Fenway Park. “Looks good!”

The weather forecasters were calling for rain tonight, and just as Bruce started “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” drops began to fall. It would rain for the rest of the night — heavy at times — but the band and the crowd didn’t lose a step as they delved deep into the 1970s songbook for a high energy show that didn’t quit until Ken Casey from Boston band Dropkick Murphys helped finish out the night on “American Land.”

- Jon Phillips, backstreets.com

Bruce and the Band had them cheering before their feet even hit centennial Fenway soil tonight, and they kept earning it all night. The band joined hands briefly before heading onstage to deafening volleys of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” over the PA system and from the fans. Stevie was on showcase from the start, laying down powerful vocals on “Summertime Blues” and “Two Hearts,” not to mention guitar solos and pulling a young Bostonian boy onstage to help him douse an “exhausted” Bruce midway through the encore. As Bruce put it, “We’re in BOSS-town, Steve’s home town.” Stevie’s reception from the field was raucous, and his enthusiasm for his hometown was evident every time he struck a chord or stepped up to the microphone.

Early in the show, Bruce gave perhaps the most revealing insight into the spirit of this tour. Speaking about “living with ghosts” during “My City of Ruins,” he said, “They inhabit our memory,” as friends and family like, “the man who they named that pole for over there [late Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky], or the man that stood over there [Clarence Clemons], or the man who sat over there [Danny Federici]. So this is for all those ghosts hanging around out here.” That spirit of shared memory and struggle has driven Wrecking Ball through every barrier and here to Fenway.

The E Street Band delivered a shock to the system for longtime fans and relative newcomers alike, with long-sidelined showstoppers like “Thundercrack,” featuring a Soozie Tyrell-led harmony with Bruce and Nils, “Frankie,” and the great Eddie Floyd cover “Knock On Wood.” Perhaps needing some fuel to continue the show’s high energy, Bruce even ate a hot dog and chugged a beer while continuously strumming through “Working on the Highway.” “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?” saw Max Weinberg and Everett Bradley doing a drum battle for the Fenway fans. Both Cindy Mizelle and Michelle Moore did their blockbuster duets with Bruce during “Shackled and Drawn” and “Rocky Ground” respectively. Bruce revitalized his sign requests program after “My City of Ruins,” causing Roy to lead the band into the ‘78 Intro version of “Prove It All Night,” as one red lettered sign displayed across Bruce’s mic stand had requested.

Before the Fenway crowd left the park, the band performed the “Detroit Medley” and the rarely played “Quarter to Three,” with brilliant sax work by Ed Manion. Boston-native Ken Casey, from the band Dropkick Murphys, even joined the cast on stage for the night’s final song, “American Land.”

- Charles Landau

Springsteen at Fenway, August 14, 2012 Video: ‘Dirty Water,’ ‘Twist and Shout’

Bruce Springsteen at Fenway: Jake Clemons comes into his own.

It was interesting to see how the E Street Band has evolved since they played Boston’s TD Garden in late March.  The early dates of the tour were still a time of grieving for the band, as this was the first tour since the 2011 death of saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

The loss of the “Big Man” handed Springsteen a big challenge. How could Clemons possibly be replaced? It reminded me of the Who attempting to carry on after the death of original drummer  Keith Moon. Similarly, both acts replaced the deceased band member, and added a horn section, and, in Springsteen’s case, soulful backing vocalists he dubbed the “E Street Choir.”

The March show was one of respect, almost feeling like a memorial service. Clemons’ nephew, Jake, was thrown in the deep end from day one, with his first appearances broadcast on television and Sirius satellite. “Little Big Man” certainly held his own, coming close to the trademark licks of his uncle, but it would have been an exaggeration (and a minor miracle) to claim he replicated Clarence’s solos. All night, Springsteen had his paternal eyes on Jake, giving him strong but silent encouragement to boost his confidence.

By Fenway, however, Jake had learned to channel Clarence. From where I was sitting, the young Clemons played with the same feeling, tone, and power, as the “Big Man” on all songs except “Born To Run.” Also like his uncle, Jake became Springsteen’s foil throughout the opening night concert.

So in the end, it all worked out. Sometimes, you just got to have a little faith.

 

LEFT: Video 1: Show closing “Dirty Water” into ‘Twist and Shout,” August 14, 2012

Bruce Springsteen Performs a Couple Rarities, ‘Jungleland’ in Foxborough, Mass. on Saturday Night

The Springsteen Information Center wants to thank Stan Goldstein of The Star-Ledger/NJ.COM for this post. The Springsteen Information Center values his insight, The Springsteen Information Center values his passion and most of all, The Springsteen Information Center values his journalistic integrity. Because of people like Stan, we can offer you all of the latest news for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band right here on The Springsteen Information Center. Enjoy!

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concluded their three-show run in Massachusetts on Saturday night with a 28-song, 3:18 show at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

The show featured “Jungleland,” the first time it has been played in the U.S. since the death of Clarence Clemons. It was played at the July 28 show in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Jake Clemons again did the sax solo.

My friend Rich Russo tweeted: “Goosebumps from the sax solo in jungleland, @jakeclemons nailed it!!!!”

There were two tour premieres: An electric “Open All Night” (think of the way it was performed on the Seeger Sessions Tour in 2006) and “Drift Away” the Dobie Gray hit from 1973.

This was the first time Bruce, with the E Street Band, played an electric “Open All Night.” It was a sign request.

Bruce had only played “Drift Away” twice before with the E Street Band: Aug. 20, 1984 at the then Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford and on Dec. 14, 1984 in Memphis, Tenn .BruceGillette.jpeg

Photo by Ann Marie Lussier via TwitterBruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. on Saturday night.

Other highlights included a nice back-to-back shot from “Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ” when “Growin’ Up” and “Lost in the Flood” were played.
Set list:

Show began at 8:10 p.m.

1. My Love Will Not Let You Down 2. Night 3. Out In The Street 4. Hungry Heart 5. We Take Care Of Our Own 6. Wrecking Ball 7. Death To My Hometown 8. My City Of Ruins 9. Spirit In The Night 10. Open All Night (tour premiere) 11. Growin’ Up 12. Lost In The Flood 13. Because The Night 14. She’s The One 15. Working On The Highway 16. Shackled And Drawn 17. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day 18. Racing In The Street 19. The Rising 20. Radio Nowhere 21. Badlands

Encores: 22. Jungleland 23. Born To Run 24. Bobby Jean 25. Dancing In The Dark 26. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out 27. Drift Away 28. Twist And Shout

Show over at 11:28 p.m. for a 3:18 show.

Next show: Friday at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Follow Stan Goldstein on Twitter @Stan_Goldstein

Bruce Springsteen Throws His Own Perfect Game at Fenway Park on Wednesday Night

The Springsteen Information Center wants to thank Stan Goldstein of The Star-Ledger/NJ.COM for this post. The Springsteen Information Center values his insight, The Springsteen Information Center values his passion and most of all, The Springsteen Information Center values his journalistic integrity. Because of people like Stan, we can offer you all of the latest news for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band right here on The Springsteen Information Center. Enjoy!

The Setlists in Boston were Crazy as you now know!  There are also two video’s to watch enjoy!

It’s days like these when you wake up the next morning and, reflecting back on the night before, say, “Damn, it really was that good.”

That’s how I’m feeling right now after Bruce Springsteen‘s Wednesday night show at Fenway Park in Boston.

Tuesday’s Fenway show was spectacular too, but Wednesday was one of those special evenings that when us Bruce fanatics are sitting in a bar years from now, we’re going to say, or most likely brag, “I was at Fenway Park for the Aug. 15, 2012 show.”

It was a show that had so many songs from the 1970s — and done in ways that they were performed by a 28-year-old Springsteen in 1978 — that made me feel I was back in high school again for the Darkness tour.

An incredible 18 different songs were played from Tuesday’s show.

Springsteen-312.jpgPhoto by Rocco CovielloThe Boss rocks at Fenway

WEDNESDAY’S SET LIST
Show began at 7:36 p.m.

Taped organ music of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” as Bruce comes onstage to lead the crowd in a singalong. of “Take Me Out To the Ball Game.”

1. Thunder Road (Bruce and Roy)      Bruce said “I used to start like this in the 1970s.” Just Bruce at the mic with no guitar and Roy playing on the piano. What a way to start a show that had a heavy emphasis on the 1970s.

2. Hungry Heart     This was when you knew this show as going to be a bit different. Very rarely has Bruce played this so early in the show.
3. Sherry Darling     Part of the “summertime” set, Bruce said. A lot of fun. Jake Clemons did the first sax solo and Ed Manion the second.

4. Summertime Blues     More summertime. Bruce opened shows in the summer of 1978 with this cover. Was a lot of fun, always is.

5. Girls in Their Summer Clothes   “We’re flying by the seat of our pants,” Bruce said. “This is for all the superfine Boston women tonight. We don’t need everyone to emember, we just need most of the band to remember. Whose got it? Raise your hand. You got it, Garry, bass player’s got it. Charlie’s got it. We’re good.”     More of the summer theme, it had a bit of a rough start, as the Bruce and the band have only played it one other time this tour (in Europe), but it sounded nice.

6. We Take Care of Our Own

7. Two Hearts      Nice to see this in the middle. Usually “We Take Care of Our Own” and “Wrecking Ball” are played back-to-back.

8. Wrecking Ball     The Boston fans boo the mention of “Giants.” Bruce laughed and said “sorry!”

9. Death To My Hometown     Song has a different start to it than when it was played at the arena leg back in March and April.
10. My City of Ruins       Bruce still introduces the band here. He made mention of the Pesky Pole at Fenway Park and had a spotlight put on it. Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky died at 92 on Monday. Patti Scialfa was not at the show. Bruce said “We’re a two-touring family and my daughter has dibs on Mom.” Bruce’s daughter Jessica is an equestrian.  Bruce then came down and took a bunch of sign requests. This was a regular feature on the 2009 tour but even though he takes signs here or there, this was one of the few times on this tour that he actually took a bunch of them.

11. Knock on Wood (sign request, tour premiere)       Bruce said, “This has never before been performed with the E Street Band, At least I don’t remember it, I don’t think it has. We’re going to take the casualness of the evening. Great song by one of the great great soul singers, Eddie Floyd. Ladies and gentlemen, we want you to knock right now on wood.”   It had been played one other time by Bruce and the band with Floyd (who did the original in 1966) at the April 29, 1976 show at the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis, Tenn. It was later that night that Bruce jumped the gate at Graceland and tried to meet Elvis.
A lot of fun. The horns really shined here. One of the better covers I’ve seen Bruce do.

http://youtu.be/S4Ir5BOZcqA

12. Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street? (sign request)   Has been played a lot on this tour but is always fun to hear. Great drum-off toward the end with Max Weinberg and Everett Bradley on percussion. Really highlights this big band.

13. Thundercrack (request)       Bruce said he heard someone shout this one out. “We’re going further back now. Back in the day we were opening up for a lot of unusual bands. We opened up for Anne Murray, Black Oak Arkansas, Brownsville Station (‘Smokin’ in the Boys Room’) Sha Na Na, the Eagles, opened up for Chicago. But no one knew who you were. So you had to have something to catch people’s ears right away. This was our first show-stopper.”  And before starting the song, Bruce said, “Where are they selling those hot dogs? And those cold beers? “We hope we get through this. This is Boston, you guys will know this one!”  This was an great version, very hot. It was always one of my favorite songs from early bootlegs and I was thrilled to see Bruce start playing it with the E Street Band again in 2007. Only played a handful of times. It was rocking Fenway Park on Wednesday.  Bruce has several fans sing the “all night” parts.

14. Frankie (sign request)    “Got another unusual one here,” Bruce said. “Played it once this tour, but it’s a song people ask for a lot. “  Has only been played four times with the E Street Band since 1977. Was played at one of the Fenway Park shows in 2003 and played in Gothenburg, Sweden on July 28.   In the middle, Bruce spoke to the crowd: “This is a song I wrote in the summer of 1978. I was living on a farm, I would sit out on the front porch and watch the fireflies as they would light up the field. We got any fireflies out there? Oh there they are. Let me see. “Light ‘em up!” he said over and over as most of the crowd in Fenway Park held up their cellphones. “Looks good!” Yes it did.

15. Prove It All Night (with the 1978 Intro / sign request)     When Bruce played this song on the Darkness Tour, it had a very powerful opening featuring Roy Bittan on piano and Max Weinberg on the drums, and then Bruce on the guitar before going into the main song. Bruce hadn’t played that opening since 1978 before doing it a few times that way in Europe. It was the first time it was played that way in the U.S. Very powerful.

16. Darkness On the Edge of Town      More from the 1970s.

17. Working On the Highway   As he came down to the microphone on the edge of the center extension, a fan handed Bruce a hot dog which he took a bite of and then gave the rest to a young fan. He then was handed a beer and chugged that down.

18. Shackled & Drawn
Another fun song which features all the parts of the big band, especially backup singer Cindy Mizelle

19. Waitin’ On a Sunny Day       Still gets the crowd going

20. Backstreets     Another part of the 1978 shows that fans have been hoping to one day see again is the interlude in Backstreets (when Bruce would sing parts of “Drive All Night” and what his fans call “Sad Eyes”).    This was about the closest Bruce has come to doing it, when he kept singing “Dream Baby Dream” in the middle of it. Very intense. One of the reasons this show was over the top.

21. Badlands     I like seeing this toward the end of the show. Always powerful wherever it is played.

22. Land of Hope and Dreams     Once a staple of the set list, it’s now played here and there. Good to hear it. Nice way to close the main set.

ENCORES
23. Who’ll Stop the Rain? (solo acoustic)      A steady rain had been falling since “Waiting on a Sunny Day” so Bruce began the encores with this. Nice to hear an acoustic version.

24. Rocky Ground      Another staple that was dropped a lot in Europe. Good to hear again.

25. Born To Run      As I always say: Houselights turned on, crowd goes crazy for Bruce’s signature song.

26. Detroit Medley      This was an audible. Worked very well. Again, another song that was played in 1978 (but really took off on the River tour). Bruce’s manger Jon Landau came out on the side of the stage, near where I was watching the show from, and was really into this. A few of us clapped for him as he was singing along. About 10 minutes later, Jon came down to along the rail where I was and came up and shook my hand. “That’s what it’s all about, my friend.” Yes Mr. Landau, I agree.

27. Dancing in the Dark      Another one of the hits that has to be played. Girl in her teens I would guess was the dance partner and she did a nice job.

28. Quarter to Three (tour premiere)     Another WOW! moment of the evening. This was the closer for many of the 1978 shows and I had a feeling we might get it tonight. Fit in perfectly with the evening’s theme. Bruce had the crowd singalong on the beginning Only the fifth time it has been played at an E Street Band shows since 1981. And just like 1978 Bruce closed it by yelling out: “I’m just a prisoner of Rock ‘n’ Roll!”

http://youtu.be/stv1nT5JnHs

29. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out       Bruce comes out to a platform on the back of the pit and again there’s a video tribute to Clarence Clemons.

30. American Land     Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys joined in.

Show over at 11:02 p.m. for a 3:26 show.

The end to a spectacular two nights in Boston. My friend Rich Russo tweeted late Wednesday night: Rich Russo ‏@DJRichRusso: With the exception of maybe night 3 2003 Philly stadium show, tonight is possibly best American stadium show by e street

I agree, this was one of the better stadium shows, and I’ve been seeing Bruce since 1976 and it was one of the better shows I’ve seen.

Yes Mr. Landau, “This is what it’s all about.”

Next show: Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Pat Riley.jpgPhoto by Stan GoldsteinLegenday NBA coach Pat Riley takes in Bruce Springsteen’s Fenway Park show on Tuesday.

My laptop died in Boston, so I didn’t get to write about Tuesday’s Fenway show. Here’s the set list: The Promised Land/ Out in the Street/ We Take Care of Our Own/ Wrecking Ball/ Death to My Hometown/ My City of Ruins/ Spirit in the Night/ The E Street Shuffle/ Jack of All Trades/  Atlantic City/ Because The Night/ Johnny 99/ Darlington County/ Working on a Highway/ Shackled and Drawn/ Waitin’ on a Sunny Day/ Boom Boom/ Drive All Night/ The Rising/ Badlands/ Thunder Road/ We Are Alive/ Born To Run/ Rosalita/ Glory Days/ Dancing in the Dark/ Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out/ Dirty Water/ Twist and Shout.

Follow Stan Goldstein on Twitter @Stan_Goldstein

Springsteen Sweeps The Series At Fenway

chin_springsteen_liv3.jpg

Barry Chin / Globe Staff

By Peter Abraham, Globe Staff

First off, a big thank you to all the Extra Bases and Globe readers who said hello at Fenway Park the last two nights. It was fun meeting so many nice folks who share a love of baseball and music.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band put on two terrific shows at the old ballpark. Bruce also paid tribute to the late Johnny Pesky both nights, calling for a spotlight on the Pesky Pole and the wreath encircling his retired number.

Here’s what was remarkable: Over the two nights, Bruce did 45 different songs. Only 12 songs repeated from Tuesday (29 songs) to Wednesday (30 songs).

Highlights over the two nights included Bruce dancing with a woman police officer; running from left field to right field about as fast as Jacoby Ellsbury; ordering a hot dog and a beer from the stage (and killing the beer in one gulp) and saying “Sorry about that” when he mentioned the New York football Giants in the lyrics of one of his songs and people playfully booed.

Ken Casey from Dropkick Murphys joined Bruce on stage for “American Land” on Wednesday. He was having a blast.

Boston has long been a great spot for Springsteen shows because of all the avid fans in the area. In my experience, the crowds are better here than New Jersey or New York. The two nights at Fenway were among his best shows on this world tour, especially the second night and the amazingly eclectic set list.

As somebody who been to a lot of shows, Wednesday was in my top three. It was that good. Bruce was loose, up for anything and the band followed along, especially Steve Van Zandt. He was in rare form. The covers he did were great, too, and added a special element to the show.

Tuesday setlist:The Promised Land, Out in the Street, We Take Care of Our Own, Wrecking Ball, Death to My Hometown, My City of Ruins, Spirit in the Night, The E Street Shuffle, Jack of All Trades, Atlantic City, Because the Night, Johnny 99, Darlington County, Working on the Highway, Shackled and Drawn, Waitin’ on a Sunny Day, Boom Boom, Drive All Night, The Rising, Badlands, Thunder Road. Encores: We Are Alive, Born to Run, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark, Tenth Avenue Freeze-out, Dirty Water, Twist and Shout.

Wednesday setlist: Thunder Road (just Bruce with Roy Bittan), Hungry Heart, Sherry Darling, Summertime Blues, Girls in Their Summer Clothes, We Take Care of Our Own, Two Hearts, Wrecking Ball, Death to My Hometown, My City of Ruins, Knock on Wood (the old Eddie Floyd hit from 1966), Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?, Thundercrack, Frankie, Prove It All Night (with the 1978 intro), Darkness on the Edge of Town, Working on the Highway, Shackled and Drawn, Waitin’ on a Sunny Day, Backstreets, Badlands, Land of Hope and Dreams. Encores: Who’ll Stop the Rain (acoustic), Rocky Ground, Born to Run, Detroit Medley, Dancing in the Dark, Quarter to Three, Tenth Avenue Freeze-out, American Land (with Ken Casey).

The band will be at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. If you’re thinking about going, don’t think and just go. It’s a great show. If you’re never been before, you’ll love the experience.

(Apologies for the non-baseball post. But the shows were at Fenway, Johnny Pesky was mentioned and plenty of people out there enjoy activities other than baseball.)

Bruce Springsteen Kicks Off New Tour Leg at Fenway Park

By James Sullivan

August 15, 2012 12:05 PM ET

The singer looked momentarily lost in thought, sitting shoulder to shoulder with his saxophone player at the lip of the stage. For a moment they were two guys on the street corner, figuring it out. Suddenly Bruce Springsteen looked out at the stadium crowd, turned to his partner and said with a wry smile, “This is all before you were born.”

The song that featured their impressionistic interlude, Springsteen’s “Spirit in the Night,” is almost 40 years old. The sax player, Jake Clemons, the nephew of Springsteen’s late sideman Clarence Clemons, is several years younger.

Kicking off the latest North American leg of his mammoth, globetrotting Wrecking Ball tour last night on a state-of-the-art stage erected in centerfield at Boston’s historic Fenway Park, Springsteen and his ever-expanding E Street Band might have been thinking that maybe they ain’t that young anymore. Yet they showed little sign of slowing down, other than their customary encore tribute to James Brown, when the frontman laid down on the stage, theatrically running an index finger across his throat to indicate he was all done after more than three hours

He wasn’t finished, of course. After guitarist Steven Van Zandt ceremonially “revived” his boss by baptizing him with a water-soaked sponge, Springsteen led his magpie band through three more spirited encores, including one for the home team, a cover of the Standells’ garage-y ode to Boston, “Dirty Water.”

The setlist was similar to those that rock’s most successful regular guy rolled out at his recent European shows. There was vintage shaggy-dog Bruce (“Spirit,” “Rosalita”), vintage defy-your-circumstances Bruce (“Badlands,” opener “The Promised Land”), vintage give-the-people-what-they-want Bruce (“Dancing in the Dark”).

“And hard times come, and hard times go,” he sang over and over, hoarsely, on “Wrecking Ball,” the song (and album) that gave the tour its name. As dusk began to settle four songs into the set, he planted his feet wide and brandished his guitar, daring some unseen foe to try to knock him off his feet. There’s an obvious sense of purpose to the E Street Band’s current edition; the set featured several of the album’s songs of economic distress (often with a distinct Irish lilt that sounded right at home in Boston), including “Death to My Hometown” and the funereal “Jack of All Trades.”

The band teased plenty of Springsteen’s inspirations, playing up the Buddy Holly at the core of “Working on the Highway” and the Chuck Berry inside “Johnny 99,” and echoing the Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women” on “Darlington County” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” at the close of “We Are Alive.”

This being New England, there were a few clams. The heavy gospel proselytizing of “Shackled and Drawn,” for instance, was a bit over the top even by the grand-gesture standards of Springsteen, who long ago established his grease-monkey-preacher persona. But it’s hard to fault an act that was built on sheer exertion for trying too hard.

“Are you ready for the heartbreakin’, love-makin’, Viagra-takin’, curfew-hatin’ E Street band?” he joked. In addition to the frontman’s usual bag of tricks, several band members took turns working the crowd. During an extended, frenetic solo on “Because the Night,” the hit song Springsteen co-wrote with Patti Smith, guitarist Nils Lofgren spun on one foot repeatedly, like a Russian dancer. Drummer Max Weinberg took the Charlie Watts role, appearing often on the oversized screens in closeup, grim-faced as he slammed the snare hard enough to propel himself up off his stool.

Catering to the Red Sox faithful, the bandleader noted that Van Zandt was born near Boston; the guitarist nodded with a shrug, admitting it. And Springsteen praised the rejuvenated old ballpark as he explained how “My City of Ruins” was written to express how we’re forever “living with ghosts . . . The blood, the heart, the soul – it’s all in the dirt out there, and it never goes away,” he said, looking toward home plate. The night included several references to the late Johnny Pesky, a Red Sox legend who died Monday at age 93. Inevitably, the band trotted out the baseball-themed “Glory Days.”

At one point Springsteen compared the show to an annual family cookout, where each summer “you look around and see who’s there and who’s missing. Are we missing anybody tonight?” Later, drenched in sweat, he ventured into the crowd and stood on a platform during an encore of “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.”

“This is the important part!” he hollered as he arrived at the line about the Big Man joining the band. Holding his microphone high, he stood stock-still, chest heaving, as the huge video screens played a silent montage of performance clips featuring Clarence Clemons, who died last year.

Though the show ended on a festive note, with fireworks streaming skyward off the Green Monster (Fenway’s towering left-field wall) during “Dirty Water” and “Twist and Shout,” the highlight may have come an hour or so before. It was another somber moment, with Springsteen singing a sweet, largely unaccompanied version of “Drive All Night.” A slow burner from 1980′s The River, it’s a humble love song that might as well be about his devotion to his audience. It was gorgeous in its rawness, which is what the man, at his best, does.

Setlist:

“The Promised Land” “Out in the Street” “We Take Care of Our Own” “Wrecking Ball” “Death to My Hometown” “My City of Ruins” “Spirit in the Night” “The E Street Shuffle” “Jack of All Trades” “Atlantic City” “Because the Night” “Johnny 99″ “Darlington County” “Working on the Highway” “Shackled and Drawn” “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” “Boom Boom” “Drive All Night” “The Rising” “Badlands” “Thunder Road” “We Are Alive” “Born to Run” “Rosalita” “Glory Days” “Dancing in the Dark” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” “Dirty Water” “Twist and Shout”

of sticky rock & roll testimonial.

 

Bruce Springsteen Rocks Fenway Park

Ray Kelly, The Republican By Ray Kelly, The Republicanmasslive.com

BOSTON – A lot has changed for Bruce Springsteen since he ushered in the return of rock‘n’roll concerts at Fenway Park back in 2003.

2012fenwaybruce.JPGSally Condino-KellyBruce Springsteen performs at Fenway Park in Boston on Aug. 14, 2012

Two of his stalwart E Street Band members – Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons – have passed away. The White House is now inhabited by a president more in harmony with Springsteen’s political leanings. And The Boss is approaching his 63rd birthday.

But none of this has diminished the fire in the New Jersey rocker, who performed for 3 ½ hours at Fenway Park on Tuesday, the first in a two-night stop at the century-old ballpark. The Boston show was the kick-off of the fall leg of Springsteen’s North American tour.

Playing some 29 songs, Springsteen skillfully weaved tracks from his latest album, “Wrecking Ball,” with deep cuts from his amazing catalog. He even played a few classic rock numbers for good measure.

He opened the night with the joyful “Promised Land” from his 1978 album, “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” and the playful “Out in the Streets” from 1980’s “The River.” They were immediately followed by two new cuts, “We Take Care of Our Own” and “Wrecking Ball.”

Fenway Park, Aug. 14, 2012

    “The Promised Land” “Out in the Street” “We Take Care of Our Own” “Wrecking Ball” “Death to My Hometown” “My City of Ruins” “Spirit in the Night” “The E Street Shuffle” “Jack of All Trades” “Atlantic City” “Because the Night” “Johnny 99” “Darlington County” “Working on the Highway” “Shackled and Drawn” “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” “Boom Boom” “Drive All Night” “The Rising” “Badlands” “Thunder Road”

Encores

    “We Are Alive” “Born to Run” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” “Glory Days” “Dancing in the Dark” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” “Dirty Water” “Twist and Shout”
A reference to the New York Giants in the latter drew boos from the Boston crowd. “Sorry about that,” he said with a laugh. Later, Springsteen tried to win over Boston sports fans by pointing out that he has yet to play the new Yankee Stadium.

He further charmed Red Sox fans by acknowledging the passing on Monday of Red Sox great Johnny Pesky with a request for a spotlight on “Pesky’s Pole” in right field. Images of the player-manager appeared at times on the giant screen behind the E Street Band. Mortality was a reoccurring theme throughout the night. Springsteen introduced “My City of Ruins”   as a song about “living with ghosts. The older you get, the more ghosts you live with.”

Clemons’ absence was keenly felt. Guitarist “Miami” Steve Van Zandt took on an even greater role as Springsteen’s onstage foil. Clemons’ saxophone solos were ably reproduced by his nephew, Jake Clemons.

A tribute was paid to the late Clemons during “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” when the music came to a sudden halt following the line “When the change was made uptown/ And the ‘big man’ joined the band.” Images of Clemons were shown on the stage screens as Springsteen and band members remained silent.

Springsteen summoned many musical ghosts from his past during the night with performances of a pair of songs from 1973, “E Street Shuffle” and “Spirit in the Night.”

However, Springsteen was not content in reliving his past. He often breathed new life into songs with a fresh interpretation.   “Atlantic City” and “Johnny 99” from his stark, solo acoustic album “Nebraska” were reinvented as full-band numbers. “Johnny 99” was reborn with horns and some fine honky-tonk piano work by Roy Bittan.

Guitarist Nils Lofgren shined several times during the night, most notably on a fiery solo during “Because the Night.”

bruce steve.JPGAP photo/Michael Dwyer Bruce Springsteen, left, and Stevie Van Zandt perform at Fenway Park in Boston on Aug. 14, 2012.  

 

With the addition in recent years of skilled violinist Soozie Tyrell, soulful backup singers and a killer horn section, the E Street Band is more of a rock ‘n’ roll orchestra these days. The rich sound was especially notable on chestnuts like the horn-drenched “Rosalita” and more recent fare, such as the Celtic-tinged “Death to My Hometown.”

Throughout the night, Springsteen treated the ballpark as if it were a nightclub, often wading into the crowd or playing some golden oldie he happened to enjoy, like Johnny Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom.”

During “Darlington County,” he spotted an attractive, blonde Boston police officer and pulled her close for a quick dance. “Arrest me, please,” he pleaded to her.

On a more serious note, Springsteen made a pitch for donations to the Greater Boston Food Bank, which distributed nearly 35 million pounds of food last year.

Some 2 ½ hours into the show, Springsteen drew it to a close with an audience sing-along of “Thunder Road.” He and the band quickly returned to the stage for an hour-long, eight-song encore.

Springsteen, who has run afoul of concert curfews, noted the lateness of the performance as 10:30 p.m. neared by introducing his colleagues as the “heart-breaking, Viagra-taking, curfew-hating E Street Band.” They ended the night with a cover of The Standell’s ode to Boston, “Dirty Water” and the Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout.”

 

Bruce Springsteen Still In Glory Days

Electrifying Fenway show rocks with soul and classics

Jed GottliebBy Jed Gottlieb Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bruce Springsteen must be juicing.

Last night the 62-year-old proved he was still the Boss, charging around the stage at a packed Fenway Park [map] for three-and-a-half hours. And he’ll do it again tonight. And then on Saturday at Gillette.

JUICED: Bruce Springsteen, front,...
    Photo by Matthew West
         JUICED: Bruce Springsteen, front, performs with Max  Weinberg on drums and the rest of the E Street Band at Fenway Park last night.

Or maybe Springsteen doesn’t need to raid Manny Ramirez [stats]’s medicine cabinet. Maybe he’s fueled by the bottomless, peerless power of rock ’n’ roll.

As cornball as that sounds, Springsteen’s shows remain religious events devoted to the glory of rock.

The E Street Band put the hammer down for a blitzing encore. “Born to Run,” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” “Glory Days,” “Dancing in the Dark” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” packed together complete with a Clarence Clemons tribute. Later came “Dirty Water” and “Twist and Shout” covers.

My mind was substantially blown — and I’d seen Bruce twice already this year.

Not every moment is genius. Much of Springsteen’s new album, “Wrecking Ball,” can be a drag (and the previous disc “Working on a Dream” isn’t much better).

But when he does the new stuff, he doses the songs with extra juice. Like a gospel preacher, he electrified the simple psalm “We Take Care of Our Own” with rapturous spirit. The E Street horns punched up “Wrecking Ball.” “Jack of all Trades” hinted at “Nebraska’s” pain.

But nothing new cuts, edgy and dull, like a knife through the middle of the soul. Bruce followed “Jack” with “Atlantic City” — a tune that still devastates with desperation.

Post 9/11 Springsteen is full of love, hope and endless shots at redemption: He peppered last night with positivity in his tunes “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” and “The Rising.” I miss the losers who think they’re winners populating the classic catalog. So do many fans.

Cheers of relief seemed to come for the could-have-been lost gems: the teenage yearning of “Spirit in the Night,” “The E Street Shuffle” powered by a jumble of jungeland horns, and a killer “Working on the Highway.”

Springsteen is no nostalgia act, but he depends on his fans wistful desire to return to the past. We’re not living on “Thunder Road” anymore, but Bruce can take us back for a night. All he needs is great rock ’n’ roll.