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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

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.

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.

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!”

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


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.


“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

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”


    “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.

Springsteen Concert Is An Instant Fenway Classic!

By James Reed

|  Globe Staff                      August 15, 2012

Bruce Springsteen was joined by Steven Van Zandt Tuesday night in concert at Fenway Park. He plays at Fenway again Wednesday night.

Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Bruce Springsteen was joined by Steven Van Zandt Tuesday night in concert at Fenway Park. He plays at Fenway again Wednesday night.

Five minutes from Fenway Park a new breed of T-shirt cropped up on the streets Tuesday night. In the familiar Red Sox font, the messages read ­“Bosston” and “Dancin’ in the Park.” Another one said “Bruce” with the ­Citgo appearing in the corner.


Savvy business venture? Sure. But those shirts also spoke to the incredible draw Bruce Springsteen has in this town. Tuesday’s sold-out show — a tour de force of old-school showmanship and heartfelt connection with the audience — was a testament to why.

It was the first of two nights before Springsteen and the E Street Band head to Gillette Stadium on Saturday. Springsteen had been to Fenway for a triumphant two-night stand in 2003.

The thing to remember about Springsteen’s concerts is that the first hour, as solid as it is, is always a warm-up. It’s as if he and his longtime backing band need to wind all the way up before letting all hell break loose; how telling that Springsteen’s energy was higher two hours in than it was at the top of the show. Clearly he and the band feed off not only one another, but also the enthusiasm of the crowd.


Bruce Springsteen performed in front of thousand of fans at Fenway Park during the first of two concerts over two days.

     Springsteen at Fenway

Starting with “Atlantic City,” they hit a stride and rarely let up. A triple attack hit hard: “Because the Night,” “Johnny 99,” and “Darlington County.” “Because the Night,” which Springsteen co-wrote with Patti Smith, gave guitarist Nils Lofgren a starring turn. Literally: he twirled at warp speed while playing a punishing solo.

A five-piece horn section prominently featured Jake Clemons on saxophone. He’s the nephew of the late Clarence Clemons, who later, during “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” was lovingly presented in a silent video montage that drew rapturous applause.

Songs from the group’s new album, “Wrecking Ball,” had more muscle but also nuance that’s not as apparent on the record. “Shackled and Drawn,” with its chain-gang stomp, was fervent with gospel overtones, while “Jack of All Trades” exuded a quiet grace. And “We Take Care of Our Own” was a ­poignant addition to Springsteen’s canon of songs about compassion and the human condition.

They somehow shoehorned an ­awful lot of classics into the final hour without making them feel rushed: “Thunder Road,” “Born to Run,” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” “Glory Days,” and “Dancing in the Dark.”

Sprawled onstage, Springsteen feigned exhaustion (or maybe that was genuine) after that last one, but he had one more jolt in him. Before wrapping up with “Twist and Shout,” he and the E Street Band tore into the Standells’ “Dirty Water,” just as they did at their Fenway shows in 2003, except without Peter Wolf this time.

Three and a half hours later, Springsteen parted with an announce­ment that was hard to ­believe: “We’ll be back tomorrow night!”

Bruce’s return to Fenway prelude to Sox’s rising?

Club must figure out who and what it is to help restore its fading luster

By Peter Gammons | Archive08/13/12 11:41 AM ET

The last time Bruce Springsteen played Fenway Park was 2003. He opened with an homage to Boston music by playing the Remains’ version of “Diddy Wah Diddy,” and the highlight was his exorcism of the mythical curse at the wall during an unforgettable version of “Mary’s Place.” And, of course, a year later, the curse was broken, Boston won two World Series in four years, and all was right and good in Red Sox Nation.

Bruce returns to Fenway on Tuesday, with loyalists begging that his tribute to The Olde Towne Team be “The Rising.” There have been no pennants since 2007, no postseason series won since the American League Division Series in ’08, and the Red Sox haven’t even made the playoffs since ’09.

The indignant, historic collapse of last September resulted in the exile of Terry Francona and Theo Epstein, and it has been followed by a season wallowing in the mire. Unlike Bruce, whose “I got Mary pregnant” in “The River” shouted out his sense of responsibility, the chaos around this year’s team has led most everyone — except Dustin Pedroia and Ben Cherington, who always beats himself up for trades — to deflect blame like a pitcher who sees a ground ball go through the middle, then stares at his shortstop.

Bruce returns in what is a crucial week for the Red Sox, who are in the meat of a 10-game road trip that could see 2012 turn into a darkness in the heart of town that could lead to several more exiles as they try to figure out where they are going before the 2013 season.

Back in June, with issues smoldering, David Ortiz, concerned for his team, said, “I worry that no one wants to play here.”

It never resonated, and by this weekend, when another key veteran player raised the same issue, those issues seemingly were riding shotgun down the avalanche.

The contempt between players and the Boston media is suffocating. Hey, it is a very tough, often misanthropic city — angry — and players react when John Lackey having a beer with the postgame spread in the Cleveland visiting clubhouse is a Twitter trend (when it is not only allowed, but the team hotel is a block’s walk from the park). But there have been actions that have made several players as popular as Whitey Bulger in their home city.

Some have blamed Bobby Valentine for an inability to relate to the players. Many have blamed “whiny players” for going to ownership about the manager (which is vastly exaggerated, since ownership does not get readily involved with players). Some in the media have blamed Cherington, physical therapists and clubhouse personnel for not allowing “Bobby to be Bobby” — not that anyone has ever given one example to support that theory. Others have blamed Larry Lucchino for forcing the hiring of Valentine, when Lucchino was trying to simply take power.

Has Valentine misspoken on a couple of occasions? Yes. What he said about Kevin Youkilis looked far worse in print than it was when stated, but Youkilis was hurt and unforgiving. Saying that pitching coach Bob McClure was “on vacation” when in fact McClure was home tending to a medical crisis for his 5-month-old was, again in fact, corrected in the next breath when Valentine said, “I apologize.” When speculation began last week that Valentine might be in trouble, owner John Henry dismissed it with a carefully worded e-mail to all media, which avoided a press scrum that probably would have left one dangling participle and fed another day’s news cycle.

If the Red Sox go home next week to play the Angels having lost their upcoming series in Yankee Stadium, and the perception is that this team is in ruins, it could get ugly before the Oct. 3 season’s end, in, naturally, Yankee Stadium. The booing will be spread beyond Josh Beckett.

Yet we may not ever learn if the issues are personality or personnel, culture or simple talent. The team that was envisioned in February has been ravaged by injuries; when Will Middlebrooks, whose development has been one of the Red Sox’s brightest story lines, had his wrist broken by an errant pitch Friday in Cleveland and went on the disabled list, it meant that 25 players had been disabled a total of 29 times. Never have the Sox had who they thought would be the top five in the order (Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Pedroia, Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez) in the lineup together. Where once they were a team that grinded out every at-bat, they have become a team that is 12th in on-base percentage and 24th in walks. Saturday night, the last five spots in the order went 0-for-15 with no walks, and the starting lineup had six players with OBPs under .330. Not good enough.

Then there is the reality of the pitching staff. Now that he is healthy, Clay Buchholz has pitched like an ace. But Franklin Morales is the only starter with an ERA under 4.00, and his 3.29 is based on seven starts and 28 relief appearances. Boston starting pitchers went into a vital Jon Lester start Sunday with a 40-44 record. They were 11th in starters’ ERA (4.83), 10th in quality starts, eighth in innings pitched … second-division numbers. Lester, who can be an elite pitcher, went into Sunday with a 5.36 ERA, knowing far too well that when he and Beckett started, the team was 15-27.

And when one goes back to the beginning of the collapse last Sept. 1, the team is 64-79, the starters 45-57 with a 5.16 ERA. Cherington tried replacing Jonathan Papelbon with trades for Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon, who do not have a save between them, as Bailey has been hurt and Melancon has a 7.39 ERA.

Perhaps this week will be the overture to a Rising. Perhaps Ellsbury, Crawford, Pedroia and Ortiz will all put their injuries behind them. Perhaps Lester and Beckett will have glorious finishes. Perhaps they can begin to inject some young players into the lineup and bring the energy that Middlebrooks gave them.

Most of all, the Red Sox have to figure out who and what they are, admit it and restore what was building the last time Bruce played Fenway. The parts are still greater than the whole, the persons far greater than their perception.

Many of us hear stories about the Red Sox from virtually every opposing team — some even in the National League — and appreciate when Ortiz and some others who legitimately care  privately express concern that the perception within the industry is that the Fenway Park home clubhouse is a place few want to be stationed.

So even if this week remains off the tracks, and the Red Sox cannot restore the pitching or overcome their disabilities, the much-needed peopleprocess of restoring lost trust and understanding has to begin. This is a team desperately in need of taking care of its own, with a fan base that wants to see Jose Iglesias or Xander Bogaerts or someone who can light the fuse that Bruce lit for Jon Landau at the Harvard Square Theatre, where Bruce opened for Bonnie Raitt and Landau exuberantly wrote, “I have seen rock-and-roll future.”

Because right now, the 2012 Red Sox are eerily reminiscent of the ’01 Red Sox, also known as Joe Kerrigan, Carl Everett and the Izzy Alcantara Band.

Bruce Springsteen Guitarist Nils Lofgren Previews Boston Shows

By Jed Gottlieb Friday, August 10, 2012 The Edge,

Bruce Springsteen has made masterpieces and clunkers. (Who still listens to 2009’s “Working on a Dream”?) But for 40 years, his concerts have been consistently epic.

At 62, the Boss just wrapped a European tour with concerts that ran a rock ’n’ roll marathon of three-and-a-half-hours. In front of 80,000 at London’s Hyde Park, he broke his curfew and officials pulled the plug. Next up is a Stateside stadium trek beginning at Fenway Park [map] on Tuesday and Wednesday and Gillette Stadium on Aug. 18.

But for the first time since Springsteen came barreling out of Freehold, N.J., he’s without sax man Clarence Clemons, who died a year ago. For E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren, who spent three decades stationed between Springsteen and Clemons on stage, the loss of the Big Man has been huge.

“It was a giant challenge to re-create the band and another chapter without Clarence,” Lofgren said from his home in Arizona. “I saw it as the biggest challenge I’ve ever been through with the band … But Bruce has navigated it pretty spectacularly.”

While Clemons’ nephew Jake Clemons has joined the band, he hasn’t replaced Clarence. Instead, the younger Clemons is part of a five-piece horn section.

“There is no Clarence II, just like there is no Gary Tallent II, Roy Bittan II, and so on,” Lofgren said. “But having the horn section is great, having Jake and Ed (Manion) share the sax duties is great. Bruce has so many songs that lend themselves to horns, it’s good that we can put them to use every night.”

The E Street Band now features 18 members who play dozens of instruments, from guitars and fiddles to accordions and glockenspiels. Lofgren calls it “the greatest toolbox in rock ’n’ roll history.” And with three “new” albums to pull from (2011’s “Wrecking Ball” and the double-disc re-issue “The Promise”), there is plenty of fresh material.

“Sometimes all the pieces are roaring at once, and then a moment later, the show is just Bruce with a harmonica and guitar,” Lofgren said.

By the end of the night, everyone’s covered with sweat and occasionally blood — Lofgren tore his rotator cuff during a stage tumble in the spring; he’s had both hips replaced after too many rock star leaps from the drum riser.

The guitarist began with Neil Young, toured with Ringo Starr and has a small but successful solo career. His latest album, “Old School,” features Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers and Foreigner frontman Lou Gramm. But he says he’ll always be ready when Bruce calls.

“I’ve trained my whole life for this,” he said. “As long as my health is fine, I’ll keep doing this.”

Bruce Springsteen, at Fenway Park, Tuesday and Wednesday. Tickets: $75-$103; Bruce Springsteen, Gillette Stadium, Aug. 18. Tickets: $40-$101;


Record Breaker! Bruce Springsteen Plays His Longest Show Ever 4:06 in Helsinki On 7.31.2012

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!

BruceHelsinki.JPGBruce Springsteen performs an acoustic set before his show in Helsinki, Finland on Tuesday.

You just knew this was going to be a special night at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, Finland.

Tuesday was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s final show in Europe on this leg of the Wrecking Ball Tour. They’ve been on the road since May 13.

So how bout this to wrap it all up? A four-hour-and-six minute, 33-song show! And what an incredible set list. There were five tour premieres. And on top of that, Bruce came out an hour before showtime to perform five songs acoustically (three of those tour premieres if you want to count them). So the early-arriving fans got 38 songs!

The 4:06 time is the longest Bruce Springsteen show ever. It beats the 3:48 show in Madrid on June 17. And don’t forget, this man is 62-years old!

Pre-show treat starts at 6:30 p.m. local time (seven hours ahead of New Jersey)

Bruce comes out early to “Thank fans for following” him on this tour. He plays these five songs solo acoustic:

Set list:

1. I’ll Work For Your Love (tour premiere) 2. Leap of Faith (tour premiere) 3. No Surrender 4. For You 5. Blinded By the Light (tour premiere)

According to Charles Landau who posted this on “At the end of ‘Blinded,’” he climbed down to the audience, and he began a ten minute run of the barrier. Shaking a series of hands (and occasionally getting a peck on the cheek from young Helsinki women), he collected cardboard signs which would occupy his dressing room as he composed the set list.
“Each time he climbed the risers on his way to the left or right, completing a full lap of the stage, the crowd would erupt in a cheer, likewise when a young pink-haired fan gave him a hug, before he received her written request. Afterward he came back to the microphone to say, “Thanks to all you regulars and thanks for making it a lovely summer for us, and we’ll see you in a little while!”

The official show begins at 7:53 p.m.

1. Rockin’ All Over The World (tour premiere) 2. Night 3. Out In The Street 4. Loose Ends 5. We Take Care of Our Own 6. Prove It All Night (with the 1978 Intro) 7. Wrecking Ball 8. Death To My Hometown 9. My City of Ruins 10. Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street? (sign request) 11. Be True 12. Jack of All Trades 13. Downbound Train 14. Because The Night 15. Lonesome Day 16. Darlington County 17. Light Of Day (sign request) 18. Shackled & Drawn 19. Waitin’ On a Sunny Day 20. Back In Your Arms (tour premiere) 21. The Rising 22. Badlands 23. Land of Hope & Dreams


24. We Are Alive 25. Born In The U.S.A 26. Born To Run 27. Detroit Medley (tour premiere) 28. Glory Days 29. Dancing In The Dark 30. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out 31. I Don’t Want to Go Home (tour premiere, sign request) 32. Higher and Higher (tour premiere) 33. Twist and Shout

Bruce mentions the four-hour mark as he leaves the stage at 11:59 p.m.

This was a show for the ages. Is the bootleg out yet?

(Thank you to my friend Gina for compiling the set list on the Springsteen fan site BTX).

Next show: Back in the U.S.A. for the start of a stadium leg at Boston’s Fenway Park on Aug. 14.

Follow Stan Goldstein on Twitter @Stan_Goldstein

Video of “Light of Day” from Helsinki:

Here’s a great video of “Back in Your Arms” (the ladies always like this one):