Bruce Springsteen Hits the ‘Backstreets’ at Madison Square Garden on Monday night
Bruce Springsteen’s three-hour-plus show at Madison Square Garden on Monday night was one that started off as a bit of a repeat (the first six songs were the same played at Friday’s MSG show) but picked
up speed toward the end and had some set list twist and turns
.Photo by Stan GoldsteinBruce Springsteen dances with a young girl during “Dacing in the Dark” at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
It slingshotted with the tour premiere of “Backstreets” near the end of the main set. Then “Land of Hope and Dreams” was played to close the main set. The normal main set closer “Thunder Road” was not played for the first time this tour.
Show began at 8:26 p.m. with the band taking the stage as Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York” played.
“New York City!” Bruce yelled out as the house lights stayed on and they broke into:
1. Badlands Same opener as Friday. Always has been one of Bruce’s powerful choices to open a show.
2. We Take Care of Our Own Still sounding good 3. Wrecking Ball Big applause when the Giants were mentioned.
4. Out in the Street The third time in the past four shows this has been played but it still sounds a bit rough. Again there’s confusion when Bruce asks other band members to sing along at the end (“Come on Stevie”) as in past tour and no one really knows how to respond.
5. Death To My Hometown Keeps the crowd on its feet
6. My City of Ruins Before the song, Bruce said he’s “the ambassador of peace between New York and New Jersey. I want to bring peace and harmony to the bridge and tunnel crowd. He then told the same story as Friday (and as he did at the 2000 MSG shows) how the Statue of Liberty “happens to be in New Jersey. We love ‘New York, New York.’ It’s one of the greatest theme songs about a city and it happens to be sung by a man from New Jersey. “There’s the World Champion New York Giants who happen to play in a stadium that’s in New Jersey. “It’s like having the Empire State Building be called the Garden State Building and leaving it in New York.” Bruce then asked who came from New York, New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut. He did the ususal speech how “your voice, legs and feel will hurt after the show and your sexual organs will be stimuated.” He then saw a bunch of people sitting on the side of the stage and said “we got to get your lazy asses out of your seats.”
Song is still one of the show’s highlights. Very powerful when Bruce introduces the band and then says “are we missing anybody” and a spotlight shines over Danny Federici’s and Clarence Clemons’ spots.
7. Spirit in the Night (tour premiere) “We’re going to play somethig we haven’t played yet. We’re going to go way back,” Bruce said. He mentioned they used to go to this pond on a Saturday night as he broke into the song. I figured we would hear this one sooner or later. It’s always good and at one point, Bruce lies down on the center extension right next to the crowd.
8. Thundercrack (sign request) Bruce grabbed the sign from the front fo the stage. He saw it while playing Spirit. I love hearing this song but not sure how much the Garden crowd was into it. Neither this song nor Spirit were on the printed set lsit.
9. Jack of All Trades Point of the show where Bruce brings things down a bit and talks about current times and struggles.
10. Trapped Has become a favorite of Bruce’s lately. as it was played at the second Philadelphia show (March 29), in Washington, D.C. (April 1) and at the second Izod show (April 4). Crowd always digs it.
11. She’s The One Does this song ever disappoint? One of the many songs where Jake Clemons really stands out. Jakes been doing a great job. A friend texted me after the show and wrote “Love Jake!”
12. Easy Money Another of the new songs that has been in the set list every show. I still love how the horn players play an individual drum.
13. Waiting on a Sunny Day Looks like it’s here to stay. The crowd participation song. A young boy sang with Bruce and later did the knee slide with him.
14. The Promised Land I’ll say what I always say… Rotate this one out every once in awhile.
15. Apollo Medley (The Way You Do the Things You Do/634-5789) Bruce talked about how playing soul music allowed him to play “Elks halls, bar mitzvahs, Foodtown openings, intermission of drive-in movie theaters” among other places when he was growing up on the Jersey Shore. He said how he saw a soul singer in the 1980s in California and loved how the women reacted when he sang way down. He then asked all the women at the Garden to scream three different times and he said this is the reason why he plays music, almost as much as for that reaction as for the money. Before the crowd surf, he once again chugged two beers from the platform at the back of the pit.
16. Because the Night Where the show, which for whatever reason had slowed downt, started to take off. Great guitar solo by Nils. Patti sings along with Bruce at one point and it doesn’t work. Not the best song for her to sing along on.
17. The Rising Continues to have a great crowd reaction.
18. We Are Alive Not sure the crowd fully appreciates this one as there always seems to be a lot of talking.
19. Backstreets (tour premire) Highlight of the evening. “New York City” Bruce yelled out before Roy Bittan hit those magical notes on the piano. Garden crowd loved it. Played very well. Bruce just said “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” at the end.
20. Land Of Hope and Dreams Closed the main set. First time “Thunder Road” hasn’t closed on this tour. This wasn’t played the past two shows. Nice to have it back and it made for a fine closer.
Encores: 21. Rocky Ground (with Michelle Moore of Long Branch) Bruce said “Madison Square Garden is always a special place. When I was a kid, when TV was first invented, every Friday night there were the fights at Madison Square Garden that we gathereed around this tiny screen to watch. There was the Gillette razor commericals too.”
This seems to get better and better every show.
22. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) Is this ever not fun? Only second time it’s been played on the tour. Before it started Bruce said “Spotlight on Steven. Spotlight on me: A little more spotlight on me!” and: “There’s only one way to send you home!” A screw up toward the end when the horns played the wrong part. Steven immiediately motioned to them that it was wrong and Bruce laughed. At one point, Bruce jumped up on a riser behind the drums.
23. Born To Run Houselights turned on for the remainder of the show. This song never gets boring. Watching the crowd with the lights on is always amazing.
24. Dancing in the Dark Thought maybe we’d get “Glory Days” in this spot. Bruce brought up a little girl to dance with him.
25. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out Bruce jumped up on the piano and again closed the show with a tribute to Clarence Clemons. Bruce goes to the stage at the back of the pit, and stops the band for 90 seconds as a video montage of Clarence is shown. Tonight there were different clips than the previous two shows with more recent clips of the Big Man. I noticed Bruce’s guitar tech, Kevin Buell, even come out to the side of the stage to watch the video. “We’ll be seeing you. Thank you New York!” Bruce said before leaving the stage.
Show over at 11:29.
Overall a very good show which got better as the night went on. Not sure the crowd was into it tonight as they were on Friday at the Garden.
A couple friends and I agreed that the Izod show last Tuesday was a bit better. And one friend, who has been to every show except one, says the Washington, D.C. show was the best one he’s seen on this tour.
Celebrities spotted: Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan, Jon Stewart and Jesse Malin. Also noticed one of the big video screens (right side facing the stage) had problems for much of the night. It froze for a bit, then went out, then just the bottom part worked. One internet posting I read said there were problems with one of the back video screens also.
A banner seen in the crowd: “E Street Lesbians Love Bruce”
This was my sixth show in 13 days and I enjoyed them all. Every show has its highlights and I’m looking forward to the May 2 show at the Prudential Center in Newark. Be interesting to see how much the set list changes by then.
Next show: Thursday at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich.
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