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Looking Back at Last Week’s Three Bruce Springsteen’s MetLife Stadium Shows in NJ!

This is a great overview of last weeks three Concerts at MetLife Stadium I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did.  Once again, 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!
Brucewrap2.jpgPhoto by Eason JordanBruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt dance the night away at MetLife Stadium last Saturday night, well really Sunday morning.

I’m still feeling it five days later, the buzz of witnessing three outstanding Bruce Springsteen shows in four nights at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford last Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

As Bruce, members of his family and the E Street Band were finishing “Twist and Shout” at close to 2 a.m. Sunday, fireworks went off over the stadium completing what will go down as a legendary three-night stand.

From the first song, “Shackled and Drawn,” on Wednesday, to the finale on Saturday, Bruce played 89 songs, 61 of them different.

As I finally get my energy back (“maybe we ain’t that young anymore”), let’s take a look at some of the special moments from the swamps of Jersey.

The Saturday birthday show is going to be remembered for many reasons. One is for the delay due to the heavy rains that came through the area. The show, which normally would have started around 8:20 to 8:30 p.m. began at 10:27 p.m.

As Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour” played over the PA, Bruce took the stage and said: “I think I just invited 55,000 people to my birthday party.”

And it was quite the party. A 33-song, 3:09 show with four tour premieres and Bruce mentioning all night that it was his birthday.

During one of those premieres, “Cynthia” Bruce said: “Ahh you’re looking good. When you’re 63 everyone looks ****** good.”

Bruce did quite a bit of cursing over the final two shows.

BrucewrapupMom.jpgPhoto by Eason JordanBruce Springsteen celebrates his 63rd birthday with his mother Adele at MetLife Stadium on Saturday.

After a wild seven-song start (“Out in the Street,” “The Ties That Bind,” “Cynthia,” “Badlands,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” “Cover Me,” and “Downbound Train”), Bruce settled into his normal four-pack of “We Take Care of Our Own,” “Wrecking Ball,” “Death to My Hometown,” and “My City of Ruins.”
Before “My City of Ruins” Bruce said: “We made it!” That’s right! Tonight I’m going to be another year older, IF I don’t get a lightning bolt up my ass.”“I don’t think I’ve played on my birthday, let me see, before the cellphone, before the internet. I believe it was before the manually operated hair dryer. That’s right, you used to not be able to dry your own hair when I played on my birthday the last time.”

Actually the last time Springsteen played on Sept. 22 was in 1992 when he was filmed in a Hollywood studio in front on an audience for MTV’s “Unplugged” series. Last time he played an actual show on his birthday was on Sept. 23, 1988 in Oakland, Calif., on the Amnesty tour.

On Saturday, as he began “It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City” Bruce talked about the start of his career.

“I was 22 years old and took a bus from Asbury Park to New York City. Let’s hear it for public transit. Went up, up, up in the elevator in the Columbia Records building, went into an office and I had my guitar and sat down, and this was the song that got me my record deal.”

Brucewrapupcake5.jpgPhoto by Eason JordanBruce Springsteen brings pieces of his birthday cake to fans.

Gary U.S. Bonds returned for a second straight night to join in on “Jole Blon” and “This Little Girl” before “Pay Me My Money Down” a song that was a highlight of the Seeger Sessions shows in 2006.It was after midnight when Bruce finished his 16th song of the night “Janey Don’t You Lose Heart,” and the crowd started to serenade him with “Happy Birthday.”

“All right, let’s hear it. Are we past 12 o’clock? Is it my birthday? Well then let me hear by birthday song!” Bruce said.

He then called on the band to play “In the Midnight Hour.” ”I’m an old man!” he said. It was the first time “In the Midnight Hour” was played at an E Street Band show since the legendary Dec. 31, 1980 performance at the Nassau Coliseum.

A touching moment came next as Bruce dedicated “Into the Fire” (a tour premiere) to fallen New York City firefighter Rich Nappi and his wife Mary Anne. Nappi, a huge Springsteen fan and a friend to many of us, died while fighting a fire in Brooklyn in April. His friends and family had a big tailgate prior to the show to celebrate the life of the guy we knew as “Fire Rich.”

The main set ended, for the second straight night, with a classic Springsteen back-to-back from an album. “Meeting Across the River” played by just Bruce, a fantastic Curt Ramm on trumpet and Garry Tallent on bass segued into “Jungleland,” where Jake Clemons nailed his late uncle’s signature solo.

After playing “Thunder Road” to kick off the encores, Bruce reflected on the evening.

“Thank you for being with us tonight, and I want to thank you for your patience, we appreciate it,” he said. “Hey I’m glad I got to see you on my birthday, or did I mention, today’s  my birthday? I thought I forgot to mention that, it slipped my mind. Yes, yes! It’s a good one. I’m going to sleep the rest of it away.”

Brucewrapupcake3.jpgPhoto by Eason JordanNils Lofgren and Steve Van Zandt look on as Bruce Springsteen delivers pieces of his birthday cake to fans on Saturday night.

Next up was “Glory Days,” played the only time of the three nights. “It’s my birthday” Bruce again said as he started the song.  In the middle of it, he said “Hey Steve, did I mention it’s my birthday?”Steve: “No you didn’t mention it!”Talk about Abbott and Costello!More fun continued as “Seven Nights to Rock,” a cover of the 1956 Moon Mullican song, was played for the first time in the U.S. on the tour.

“Dancing in the Dark” saw Bruce with a special dance partner, Steve’s wife Maureen Van Zandt who also played Silvio’s wife, Gabriella Dante, on “The Sopranos.”

After the tribute to Clarence Clemons on “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out” the evening ended with a full-fledged birthday party with 55,000 guests.

As Bruce’s mother Adele came out, Steve said “The boss of bosses has just come on stage. The person responsible for all this.

‘”Yes, she had her work cut out for her 63 years ago,” Bruce followed up.

BrucewrapupAdeleGinny.jpgPhoto by Eason JordanJake Clemons looks on as Bruce Springsteen’s mother Adele, and his oldest sister Ginny join in on “Twist and Shout” on Saturday.

Joining Adele was Bruce’s oldest sister Ginny, his mother-in-law Pat and his brother-in-law Michael Scialfa as a guitar-shaped birthday cake was brought out.“Oh I’m surprised. This is going to take all night now. That’s enough. I just winded myself. That’s about all I can handle,” he said as he blew out some candles and then cut the cake.

As the entire band came down to the front, Steve led a singalong of “Happy Birthday.”

“Cake for everybody” Steve yelled. “The first piece goes to Obie, our first fan, right there.” As Bruce handed Obie, known as “Fan No. 1,” who was in the front row, a slice.

Bruce: “Obie we love you. Obie was following us when we were 16. We love you O!”

Bruce gave out a few more slices of cake before realizing he didn’t have any more plates.

“Someone give me a guitar quick,” he said. “All right, she’s (his Mom) going to join the backup singers, 87 years old. Are you ready? It’s going to be loud as hell! We have any earplugs? Can a man deafen his own mother on his birthday? I don’t know.

“I can deafen my mother-in-law I guess, I can’t deafen my mother.”

That led into a superfun “Twist and Shout” as fireworks were set off at the top of the stadium.

As the song ended, Bruce saluted the crowd.

 

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the last of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 22, 2012

Enlarge Jennifer Brown/The Star-LedgerBruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the last of three nights at MetLife Stadium, as the Wrecking Ball Tour plays September 22, 2012.  The show was delayed due to storms. (Jennifer Brown/The Star-Ledger)The Boss waits out the rain to perform at MetLifegallery (11 photos)

  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the last of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 22, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the last of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 22, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the last of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 22, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the last of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 22, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the last of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 22, 2012

 

“Thank you for being here with us tonight! We love Jersey! Thank you for your patience, we had a great night. And did I mention, it’s my birthday! Mike Scialfa, my brother-in-law, it’s his birthday too. What are the odds?”

 

“Thank you! We love you. Thank you Jersey. Drive safe going home. My mother is for rent for $250 an hour to any parties and Bar Mitzvahs.

“Thanks for a memorable birthday!” We love you, thanks so much for a great night. Thanks for three great nights.”

Now, how ’bout that Friday show, which was my favorite of the three.
I wrote on my blog afterward that it was fun. And looking back a few days later, I still smile and laugh when I think of its highlights.

When Bruce opens with a world premiere  — “Living on the Edge of the World”  — from the “Tracks” box set, you just knew it was going to be a special evening.

It wasn’t perfectly played, Bruce struggled with the words, but it was cool to hear.

“That (would have been) even better if we had got it right,” Bruce said.

BruceSoozie.JPGPhoto by Eason JordanBruce Springsteen and Soozie Tyrell play away on Friday night.

An early highlight was a very intense “Lost in the Flood.”  Great guitar work by Bruce

Every night at MetLife saw a poignant “My City of Ruins.”  On Friday, Bruce said: “Good evening, good evening. My people!” He mentioned how he wrote the song for his adopted hometown.

“It’s doing pretty good.  Who’s been to Asbury Park lately? It’s nice, it’s nice,”  he said.

“Tonight we got a lot of old faces and new faces in the E Street Band, and there’s old faces and new faces in the crowd. Whose never seen the E Street Band before? “ he asked to a small response. “All right, all right, we’re going to do it right for you.”

And as he’s been doing this whole tour, Bruce talked about ghosts. “When you’re a kid, ghosts frighten you.  But as you get older, you realize ghosts are there to walk with you and give you an appreciation of time, preciousness of life, the value of the day, the goodness of things. They’re always all around you,” he said. “We stand blessed in their presence, the people who have come before us and left us with things and given us their love, and worked for us and sacrificed for us, and fought alongside us. So I’m going to do this tonight for all your ghosts. For all the missing brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers and friends and for our ghosts too.

“This is always my favorite time of year,” he continued. “I can pass on a lot of the summer.  After January, New Jersey is deadly. But right here at the very end of summer, beginning of fall, you can feel everything in motion. New things coming, things leaving, people coming, people going.  This is when we used to have a little house party and put all the furniture out in the backyard. We’d get everybody over and get the grill out and see who was there and who was missing.”

Next up was another fun spot, “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street” from the “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” album.  “I wrote this on the bus traveling through New York City,” Bruce said. “I had some friends who let me crash up on 82nd Street when I was writing music for my first record.”

Then he kidded piano player “Professor” Roy Bittan.

“Professor don’t (mess) it up. Professor usually (messes) this one up bad, don’t (mess) this one up. I’m watching you!” he said.

 

BrucewrapupNight2Bonds.jpgPhoto by Eason JordanGary US Bonds, second from right, joins Jake Clemons, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt on stage at Friday’s show.

That led into the evening’s special guest, Gary U.S. Bonds, and performances of “Jole Blon” and “This Little Girl.” Bonds was back to sing the same two songs on Saturday.
Bruce said Bonds “came all the way down on that Long Island Expressway, that’s worse than the Turnpike man.”  Bruce had seen a sign for “Jole Blon.”
“This sign right here, I’ve seen at 95 shows,” he said. Bruce asked her how long she’d been carrying the sign. “My whole life” she said into the microphone.
“She’s even got the right key! There’s a prepared fan right there,” he said.

 

Another tour premiere, “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come),” was next after Bruce saw a sign for it. An outtake from “The River” sessions, it is on the 3-CD “Essentials” set. It has only been played a handful of times at E Street Band shows over the years.

The evening’s highlight for many was next.

Bruce performed “Talk to Me” off “The Promise” and probably better known to many from New Jersey as one of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes’ signature songs.

It had been played only four times this tour, including the May 2 show at the Prudential Center in Newark.

The best way to describe it is for you to watch the video below as Bruce tries to explain what to do when you are in trouble with your significant other. WARNING: some may find Bruce’s language offensive. He drops a few F-bombs.

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/Lbni6lWrodE?feature=player_embedded” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

“This Depression,” one of the lesser played songs off of “Wrecking Ball,” changed the tone. It was only the fourth time it has been played.

A song Bruce fans got very tired from past tours, “Mary’s Place” made a nice reappearance. It hadn’t been played since the first rehearsal show of the Working on a Dream tour (March 23, 2009 at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall). Bruce used to do a long rap during “Mary’s Place” on the Magic tour about “building a house” and drew the song out far too long. Just played straight, it was good to hear.

Closing the main set was another of the ultimate Springsteen back-to-backs: “Incident on 57th Street” into “Rosalita.” The tracks are next to each other on “The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.”

Only the third time since 1980 the songs had been played together. As the final piano notes of “Incident” were played, you could feel the anticipation for the first guitar chords of “Rosalita.”

“Incident” was beautiful and “Rosalita” was more fun. Bruce and Steve really hammed it up on the front center extension.

The encores featured “Ramrod” – more fun between Steve and Bruce, and “Bobby Jean,” a song that’s not one of my favorites, but it has not been overplayed lately.

“Dancing in the Dark” saw people dancing all over the place.

BrucewrapupDaniellecrop.jpgPhoto by Ryan DeCarolisDanielle DeCarolis asked to dance with Springsteen guitar tech Kevin Buell, but instead got to dance with Steve Van Zandt on Friday night.

A friend, Danielle DeCarolis had a sign asking to dance with (guitar tech) Kevin Buell. Bruce let her come on stage but she couldn’t find Kevin, so she ended up dancing with Little Steven. Another friend, Kiley Armstrong, had a sign asking if she could dance with a tech and Bruce brought her up. There was also a woman dancing with backup singer Curtis King among others and Bruce had his own dance partner.  Did I mention it was fun?

Show ended with “American Land.”

Interesting note: There were no songs played from “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” Only the second time that’s happened at an E Street Band show since 1977.

Bruce plays a surprise two-song acoustic set for early arriving fans on Wednesday:

The opening show on Wednesday began with an exclusive preshow for early arrivals. As fans entered the front general-admission pit around 5:30 p.m., Bruce, after finishing his sound check, came down to the front of the pit and greeted many fans with a handshake and posed for some pictures. He then took the stage and played two acoustic songs “Growin’ Up” and “For You.”

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform their second show at MetLife Stadium September 21, 2012

Enlarge Saed Hindash/The Star-LedgerBruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the second of three nights at MetLife Stadium, as the Wrecking Ball Tour returns to the area Friday night September 21, 2012.  They will also play September 22. Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger   Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform their second show at MetLife Stadium September 21, 2012gallery (26 photos)

  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform their second show at MetLife Stadium September 21, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform their second show at MetLife Stadium September 21, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform their second show at MetLife Stadium September 21, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform their second show at MetLife Stadium September 21, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform their second show at MetLife Stadium September 21, 2012

 

Wednesday’s special guest was original E Street Band drummer  Vini “Maddog” Lopez who played drums on “E Street Shuffle” and later played the tambourine on two songs during the encores.

Also, it was the only show that Patti Scialfa was at and “Easy Money” (always played when Patti is there) returned to the set list. That led to “Shackled and Drawn” as the show’s opener for the first time this tour. “Shackled” is always a highlight of these shows and backup singer Cindy Mizelle does an excellent job. Quick trivia: Mizelle’s son, Devin Fuller, is a freshman quarterback for UCLA.

It was also the only show Bruce crowd-surfed. He jumped in from the back of the pit during “Hungry Heart” and it was a long way and took him a long time to make it back to the stage. I guess he thought he better not attempt it again. On Friday and Saturday he instead ran through openings set off by barriers that allowed him to go to the back of the pit.

I thought Wednesday’s show got off to a slow start but picked up with the tour premiere of “Mansion on the Hill” a Bruce and Patti duet into an absolutely stunning “Racing in the Street.” Bittan’s piano reached new horizons.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the first of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 19, 2012

Enlarge Saed Hindash/The Star-LedgerBruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the first of three nights at MetLife Stadium, as the Wrecking Ball Tour returns to the area Wednesday night September 19, 2012.  They will also play September 20th and 21st. Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger   Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the first of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 19, 2012gallery (24 photos)

  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the first of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 19, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the first of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 19, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the first of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 19, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the first of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 19, 2012
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band perform the first of three nights at MetLife Stadium September 19, 2012

 

Bruce said “Mansion on the Hill” was one of the first songs he wrote for “Nebraska.” He talked about going to the Jersey Freeze (in Freehold) as a kid with his parents and grandparents. He said he didn’t really like ice cream, but he liked the cones, so they would cut up the cones and save them for him. Also how there was a big radio tower on the edge of town and his mother would tell him that it was a big giant, and the red lights were the giant’s buttons.

The Wednesday show ran 3:46, the longest of the three.

Some final notes: It was like the United Nations at the shows. Fans traveled to New Jersey from all over the world. There was a group of close to 100 who came in from England. I met fans from all over Europe, Brazil, Canada and Australia. Even driving through Asbury Park and Freehold last week, I saw many fans from all over with cameras checking out the Springsteen sites.

Bruce has played 161 different songs over his 67 shows this tour.

Next show isn’t until Oct. 19 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario. A well deserved break for fans and the band.

There are 18 arena shows scheduled on this leg with the final one on Dec.6 in Glendale, Ariz. Will this be the end of the tour? My guess is no.  I believe you’ll see Bruce and the band back next year for more shows in Europe and another leg or two in the U.S. Going by past Springsteen tour history, I bet we see dates starting in late February, early March running to the end of summer of 2013.

The three nights will go down as a legendary three-night stand (instant classic as they say on the Yes Network). It’s another spectacular chapter in the Bruce Springsteen history book. The man continues to raise the bar higher and higher and is able to jump over that bar every time.

Even at 63, he’s the Energizer Bunny, still going and as Frank Sinatra sung “The Best is Yet to Come.”

Follow @Stan_Goldstein

Bruce Springsteen Opens East Rutherford Show With Concert Debut of 32-Year-Old Track

by: Dave Lifton 2 hours ago

Bruce Springsteen

Jeff Fusco, Getty Images

Throughout the ‘Wrecking Ball’ tour, Bruce Springsteen has reached deep into his catalog to perform some of the rarest songs alongside his numerous hits. Last night (Sept. 21), he opened the second of his three-night stand at MetLife Stadium in E. Rutherford, N.J. with ‘Living on the Edge of the World,’ a 32-year-old song which he had never before played live.

 

As the blurry video shows, Springsteen forgot the lyrics to the section after the organ and harmonica solo and had to rely on the cheat sheet that had been taped below the mic stand at the lower stage. However, the E Street Band sounds as if they had been performing the song for years.

A breathless rocker, ‘Living on the Edge of the World’ was an outtake from 1980′s ‘The River’ that appeared on ‘Tracks,’ the 1998 4-CD box set comprised of previously unreleased songs and B-sides. Many of the song’s lyrics eventually found their way into ‘Open All Night,’ from 1982′s stark ‘Nebraska.’

According to those in the general admission line that afternoon, Springsteen had rehearsed the song at soundcheck, so its inclusion was not a shock to the fans up front. But opening a stadium show with an obscure song tells the crowd that anything can happen. In addition to ‘Living on the Edge of the World,’ last night’s concert featured the tour debut of ‘Mary’s Place’ and another obscurity, ‘From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come),’ another ‘River’ outtake that Springsteen gave to Dave Edmunds and had only been previously performed with the E Street Band on six occasions.

The show was also memorable for a special guest appearance by one of the Boss’ biggest influences, Gary “U.S.” Bonds. The ’60s soul legend sat in on ‘Jole Blon’ and Springsteen’s ‘This Little Girl,’ both of which appeared on Bonds’ 1981 comeback album ‘Dedication,’ which was co-produced by Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt. On the first concert at MetLife on Wednesday, original E Street Band drummer Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez re-joined the band for ‘The E Street Shuffle.’

But perhaps the biggest surprise came at the end of the main set, when Springsteen followed up a rare performance of ‘Incident on 57th Street’ with ‘Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),’ which is how they appeared on 1974′s ‘The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.’ That sequence has been performed fewer than ten times in the nearly 40 years since the album’s release.

Springsteen concludes his stand at MetLife Stadium tonight — two days before his 63rd birthday — before taking nearly a month off. Vegas oddsmakers are not taking bets on what songs he will pull out for this one.

Videos Bruce Springsteen Caps Nearly 4 Hour MetLife Show With Fireworks





The inimitable Bruce BROOOOCE Springsteen returned home to New Jersey last night for the first of three shows at MetLife Stadium. This was the first time Springsteen has played the stadium which replaced Giants Stadium (where he played 25 times between 1985 and 2009), and he made it a special one: crowd surfing during “Hungry Heart,” bunny jumping on “Rosalita,” pulling people up to dance during “Dancing In The Dark,” and unleashing a torrent of fireworks for set closer “Twist and Shout.” Overall, he performed 30 sweaty, orgiastic songs over nearly four hours! Check out plenty of clips below.

http://youtu.be/lpVklAA2hGY

http://youtu.be/WNwGqTm9v6w

http://youtu.be/MJkgcTzHmuE

Among the highlights: a buoyant “Sprit In The Night,” “Prove It All Night” (with the guitar-heavy classic rock “’78 intro”), a very fun arrangement of “Working On The Highway,” a delicate “Racing In The Streets” (with that beautiful, insistent organ driving the song’s long and winding outro), and the return of Patti Scialfa (she’s missed a bunch of shows recently), who duetted with her husband on semi-rarities “Mansion On The Hill” and “Human Touch.”

http://youtu.be/3NzPEPengGA

 

http://youtu.be/iZKk4AJH2Lo

Bruce Springsteen Rocks In The Rain at Chicago’s Wrigley Field On Saturday Night

About midway through Bruce Springsteen’s show at Chicago’s Wrigley Field on Saturday night, the rain started coming down, so what did Bruce do? What he usually does. Play “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” this time a solo acoustic version.

The rain still kept coming, but that didn’t stop Bruce and the E Street Band delivering another strong show, a 27-song, just under three-hour performance which for the second straight night featured guest appearances from Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Rage Against the Machine’s BruceWrigleyFriday.jpgPhoto by Jeff RossBruce Springsteen and Nils Lofgren perform at Friday’s Wrigley Field show. They were back in the rain on Saturday night.

Tom Morello.

Vedder joined in on “My Hometown,” “Darkness on the Edge of Town” and the evening’s final song “American Land.” Morello played on “Death to My Hometown,” “This Depression,” “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and “American Land.”

It was the U.S. debut for “This Depression” which had only been played twice in Norway in July. Morello played on the album version of the song on “Wrecking Ball.”

Also “Pay Me My Money Down” a popular song from the Seeger Sessions Tour in 2006 was played.

BruceWrigleynight2.JPGPhoto by Frank CiottiBruce Springsteen plays to the crowd at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday night.

Show began at 8:14 p.m. local time (an hour after New Jersey)

 

1. The Promised Land 2. The Ties That Bind 3. No Surrender 4. Hungry Heart 5. We Take Care of Our Own 6. Wrecking Ball 7. Death to My Hometown (with Tom Morello) 8. My City of Ruins 9. E Street Shuffle 10. Pay Me My Money Down 11. This Depression (with Tom Morello) 12. My Hometown (with Eddie Vedder) 13. Darkness on the Edge of Town (with Eddie Vedder) 14. Because the Night 15. Working on the Highway 16. Shackled and Drawn 17. Waiting on a Sunny Day 18. Who’ll Stop The Rain (solo acoustic) 19. Ghost of Tom Joad (with Tom Morello) 20. Badlands 21. Thunder Road

Encores: 22. Rocky Ground 23. Born To Run 24. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) 25. Dancing in the Dark 26. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out 27. American Land (with Eddie Vedder and Tom Morello)

Over at 11:12 p.m. for a 2:58 show

http://youtu.be/7uAr5JRPc3g

Concert review: Bruce Springsteen at Wrigley Field

Greg Kot Music critic12:46 a.m. CDT, September 8, 2012
Bruce Springsteen packs his concerts to bursting, and still it wasn’t enough Friday in the first of two sold-out shows at Wrigley Field. There were 28 songs, 18 musicians and singers in the newly expanded E Street Band, and guest shots from Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello.

And then there were the ghosts.

“May you walk with them well and listen to what they tell you,” Springsteen said with a wry smile. He devoted the sole extended monologue of the night to the departed, and returned to the theme again and again, right up until the end when he paid brief tribute to his late friend and on-stage foil, saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

“Are we missing anybody, tonight?” he shouted at one point. It was both a personal and political statement, punctuated by “We are Alive,” which linked the civil rights, labor and immigrant movements across the centuries to the present-day struggles of society’s voiceless.

Though Springsteen made no overt political speeches or statements – the words “election,” “Occupy” or “1 percent” were notably missing in action – there was no mistaking the subtext of many of his songs. This was a night devoted to several potent ideas, notably the power of informed dissent, and the dignity and opportunity afforded by a day’s work. For Springsteen, the ability of men and women to roll up their sleeves and earn an honest wage is as sacred as any human right. He may be a rich rock star now, but he grew up in a blue-collar New Jersey family and was immersed in a community where everything had to be earned, sometimes at great personal cost.

That struggle was put into wrenching perspective by the midsection of the show, which drew heavily from his latest album, “Wrecking Ball.” Though the recording sounds constrained with its flat production, the songs have acquired teeth on this tour.

The E Street Band played with renewed vigor thanks to the injection of some fresh faces, including a five-piece horn section with Clemons’ saxophone-playing nephew, Jake. The horns and reeds underlined the Celtic-punk of “Death to my Hometown” and the hard swing of “Wrecking Ball.” Springsteen’s smile turned to a scowl on the scalding indictment of the entitled in “We Take Care of Our Own.”

The set’s musical reach was typically wide and ambitious, touching on everything from protest folk to soul and hard rock, with Garry Tallent’s bass a towering presence throughout. Morello’s guitar solo brought home a scarifying “Ghost of Tom Joad” and Vedder’s harmony vocals accented the desperation just below the surface of a chilling “Atlantic City.” “We Are Alive” evoked Johnny Cash, and Curtis Mayfield’s civil-rights anthem “People Get Ready” echoed through “My City of Ruins” and “Land of Hope and Dreams.”

Springsteen and his many accomplices framed the heavy stuff with dance songs and fist-pumping celebration. “Prove it All Night” set the tone, followed by a ferocious “My Love Will Not Let You Down” – one of the hidden gems in Springsteen’s songbook, especially because of Max Weinberg’s atomic drum fills.

The E Streeters played until a few minutes shy of midnight, closing with a cover of the Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout.” Springsteen’s shirt was soaked through as he and the band stepped to the lip of the stage to join the shimmying couples in the aisles. Even after blitzing through 3 ½ hours nearly without pause, neither the band nor the audience seemed to be in a hurry to call it a night.

greg@gregkot.com

Bruce Springsteen set list Friday at Wrigley Field:

1 Prove it All Night

2 My Love Will Not let You Down

3 Out in the Street

4 Hungry Heart

5 We Take Care of Our Own

6 Wrecking Ball

7 Death to My Hometown (with Tom Morello)

8 My City of Ruins

9 Spirit in the Night

10 Trapped (Jimmy Cliff cover)

11 Jack of All Trades (with Morello)

12 Atlantic City (with Eddie Vedder)

13 Lonesome Day

14 I’m Going Down

15 Darlington County

16 Shackled and Drawn

17 Waitin’ on a Sunny Day

18 None but the Brave

19 Ghost of Tom Joad (with Morello)

20 Badlands

21 Land of Hope and Dreams

22 We are Alive

23 Thunder Road

24 Born to Run

25 Dancing in the Dark

26 Jungleland

27 Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

28 Twist and Shout (Isley Brothers cover with Vedder and Morello)

 

Springsteen And The E Street Band Shake Philadelphia

Tris McCall/The Star-Ledger By Tris McCall/The Star-Ledger

PHILADELPHIA – The precipitation had stopped. If it had been a baseball game, the tarpaulin might still have been covering the infield. It had rained all afternoon — sometimes drizzling, sometimes pouring — and the forecast promised thunderstorms. But the Philadelphia Phillies weren’t playing at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday night. They’d handed the keys to their home to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, a rock and roll outfit currently making the rounds of major league stadiums. The ticket read rain or shine. And no matter what the weather might be, the Boss was determined to bring the sunshine.Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-LedgerGiordano, Gayton, Lofgren, Danielian, Ramm,

Manion, Springsteen, Clemons, Wee-street.jpginberg

The rock star, who has made his not-so-secret desire to be a preacher manifest during the Wrecking Ball Tour, asked for heavenly cooperation. Early in the show, he looked toward the cover of clouds and commanded the rain to stay where it was. Yet midway through another concert spent with his foot on the accelerator, he might have been secretly wishing for a downpour. It was hot and muggy in Philadelphia, and the musicians sweated like pugilists in a heavyweight bout.

As it turned out, Springsteen’s prayer was answered: The skies never opened. Perhaps in gratitude, and perhaps driven by whatever daemon it is that makes these musicians treat every show as if it was their last before getting whisked away to a penal colony for life, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band held the stage for nearly four hours. They did not take breaks. Upbeat numbers were bayonet charges. Ballads were so intense that they couldn’t have been called breathers. Even the pause between the main set and the encore was barely a heartbeat. For a moment after “Land of Hope and Dreams,” the baseball stadium was dark, animated by thousands of ecstatic, overheated spectators demanding more. Then the lights went back up, and Springsteen and company returned to the business of delivering maximalist rock and roll, full of wild crescendos, false endings, lengthy singalong codas, saxophone breaks, gang chants, stage stunts, and camaraderie between musicians who’ve been at this game since March.

The spring leg of the Wrecking Ball Tour played arenas, including the Izod Center in East Rutherford and Prudential Center in Newark. The group upped the ante in Europe this summer, taking the act to giant football pitches and festival stages. Ever since returning to the North American continent last month, the E Street Band has been casting its spell in sports stadiums. (The group will be at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Sept. 19, 21, and 22.) Center field is an odd place to find confessional, poetic rock music. But Bruce Springsteen is so committed to the grandest gestures possible — and sustaining them as gallantly as he can — that he manages to make venues the size of Citizens Bank Park feel as intimate as church. With the same playful irony that he has always commanded, Springsteen looked out at the distant sections of the stadium, and likened the show to a summer backyard party.

For awhile, it looked as if he’d make good on that comparison. The band took the stage to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and began the show with a cover of Eddie Cochran’s truancy anthem “Summertime Blues.” They followed with three straight songs from “The River,” the 1980 double album where Springsteen made his love for classic ’60s pop 45s most manifest. “Out in the Street,” “Sherry Darling,” and especially the singalong “Hungry Heart” were candy thrown to a ravenous crowd. Here was a hefty dose of musical sunshine played at top volume by a seventeen-piece band that has never had any problem getting listeners to dance. It seemed logical to assume that the concert would continue exactly like that.

Yet from there, Springsteen took a sudden right turn. For the next forty-five minutes, he dove into darker waters. Subjects that have been preoccupying him ever since the release of the “Wrecking Ball” album, and surely well before that, took center stage: mortality, rebirth, alienation, resistance to economic injustice, and the fear that American rapaciousness has taken precedence over American compassion. “My City of Ruins,” a song from “The Rising” that uses Asbury Park as a symbol of resilience in tough times (and which quickly grew to mean much more), has been the centerpiece of the Wrecking Ball Tour from the beginning. On Sunday night, Springsteen juxtaposed “Ruins” with a magnificent, near-elegaic version of “Lost in the Flood,” an early epic song about street drifters that pointed the way toward much of his subsequent writing. The star punctuated “Flood” with a roaring guitar solo that announced, if anybody had missed it, that the concert had found a higher gear.

There have been no major hits from “Wrecking Ball,” but the Boss continues to be energized by it anyway. Just as he did at the arena shows, Springsteen made the new album a focus of the concert, closing the main set and opening the encore with material from “Wrecking Ball,” and finding room in the show for seven of its eleven songs. Because it is not an E Street Band recording — most of the basic tracks on the album were played by Springsteen and his producer — it took the group a few shows to figure out how to communicate the Boss’ present vision to a mass audience.

That work has been completed. The new songs have achieved stadium size without sacrificing their nuance, and just as remarkably, they’ve become showcases for Springsteen’s musicians. Pianist Roy Bittan imparts grandeur to the dignified “Jack of All Trades,” and guitarist Nils Lofgren caps the piece with a solo redolent with quiet pain. “Shackled and Drawn” provides a moment in the limelight for bright-voiced New Jersey singer Cindy Mizelle, who helps Springsteen realize his Preacher Man ambitions. “We Take Care of Our Own,” the single from the set, has become a canvas for Max Weinberg to splatter, Abstract Expressionist-style, with his masterful drum fills (Weinberg, who kept cool in the drummer’s chair on a hot night and never missed a stitch, deserves special praise, and perhaps a purple heart). “We Are Alive,” which was a shambling, arhythmic wreck at early concerts on the tour, has matured into the song that Springsteen always meant it to be: something like Woody Guthrie reimagining ”Ring of Fire,” and a dedication to crusading idealists throughout history. Garry Tallent, Springsteen’s undersung bassist, held the piece together as it chugged toward the finish line.

These musicians have been so good at exploring the dimensions of the “Wrecking Ball” songs that it’s hard not to wish they could all go back into the studio together and re-cut the album. That’s not going to happen: The Boss doesn’t go backward. But they’ve given Springsteen’s introspective writing a heartbeat loud enough to fill a stadium — one capable of pushing a sold-out crowd straight to the point of exhaustion. And as for their mastery over the older stuff, well, was there ever any question?

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band When: Sept. 19, 21 and 22, 7:30 p.m. Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford

Bruce Springsteen Flirts With The Four-Hour Mark in Philadelphia

Tris McCall/The Star-Ledger By Tris McCall/The Star-LedgerThe Star-Ledger

Two hours into his Sunday night concert — the first of two scheduled for Citizens Bank Stadium in Philadelphia — Bruce Springsteen was sprinting from one side of the stage to the other. More than three hours in, he was spinning around on his back, guitar in hand, singing “Rosalita.” Almost three and a half hours after the stadium lights went down, he pulled a woman out of the audience, slow danced with her, and then picked her up like a groom carrying a bride across the threshhold, and brought her back to her friends. He took no breaks, paused only briefly before his encore set, and led his band through the obligatory false endings, cavalry-charge outros, and crescendos that would not be curtailed. This was rock and roll maximalism at its purest, done by a man who gives the impression that you’d have to rip the guitar out of

 

his hands to stop him from strumming.bruce-springsteen.jpg

Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-LedgerThe unsinkable Bruce Springsteen takes Citizens Bank Park.

How much stamina does Bruce Springsteen (and the members of his E Street Band) have?  Let’s put it this way: There were two enthusiastic superfans in front of me at the show. They began playing enthusiastic air guitar during the first song, and kept it up for hours. By the encore, they were spent. Springsteen kept going. Their instruments were imaginary. His was real. “He kicked my butt again!,” said one of the guys. He kicked everybody’s butt again, fella. And here’s the amazing thing: He’s going to do it all again tomorrow night.

Mind you, none of this happened in the controlled climate of an arena. This concert was out on the outfield grass of a major league ballpark on the kind of night that prompts some players to ask out of the lineup. It was hot, wet, and sticky in Philadelphia. A few songs into the show, and the musicians’ clothes were already soaked in sweat. Springsteen’s voice sounded pleasantly ragged, and I wondered if all the touring had gotten to him, and if it would give out during the second half.

Then something odd happened. As the members of the audience worked themselves up into the customary froth, the E Street Band seemed to get dryer. Springsteen’s singing grew stronger. By the end of the concert, he was testifying like a street preacher visited by the Holy Spirit. Rain was in the forecast, and he prayed that it wouldn’t come. Did the skies open? Of course not. The Boss gets what he wants.
Altogether, the E Street Band played 25 songs in the main set, and 8 in the encore. As this was a Bruce Springsteen concert, they took it easy for exactly none of them. A few ballads were tucked in to give drummer Max Weinberg a blow, but by the end of the set, he looked about ready to pass out. He never dropped a stitch, though: Weinberg was terrific as always. He should be getting combat pay.

The group continued the tradition of sign requests (fans in the front row hold up placards with songs they’d like to hear), airing “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” “Cadillac Ranch,” “I’m on Fire,” and a showstopping rendition of “Jersey Girl.” They opened the show with a cover of “Summertime Blues” and closed with an inexhaustible version of “Twist and Shout.” Heck, they might still be playing it. Somebody ought to go by the stadium and check. They can’t stay there forever; eventually, the Phillies are going to need it back.

My review will run in Tuesday’s paper. Here’s the very long setlist:

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND Summertime Blues Out in the Street Sherry Darling Hungry Heart We Take Care of Our Own Wrecking Ball Death to My Hometown Lost in the Flood My City of Ruins Spirit in the Night Green Onions Good Rockin’ Tonight Cadillac Ranch I’m on Fire Candy’s Room She’s the One (with a bit of Mona spliced in) Jack of All Trades Human Touch Working on the Highway Shackled and Drawn Waiting on a Sunny Day Jersey Girl The Rising Badlands Land of Hope and Dreams

ENCORE We Are Alive Thunder Road Born to Run Rosalita Dancing in the Dark Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out Can’t Sit Down Twist and Shout

 

Springsteen Shares U.S. Ideals With World

When people in other countries hear him, they connect with the appeal of his message of liberty and opportunity.

 

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play Sunday and Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play Sunday and Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
READER FEEDBACK

Tobias Peteris a political reporter and news editor at the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper in Cologne, Germany; he is visiting The Inquirer as part of the International Center for Journalists’ Arthur F. Burns Fellowship Program‘Born in the USA!”

“Born in the USA!”

Bruce Springsteen is singing, echoed by the roar of a stadium crowd. Thousands of voices, thousands of arms in the air, singing to one person, one country, America. But it’s not New York or Los Angeles. The chanting Bruce Springsteen is enchanting Barcelona.

How is an artist so closely identified with the United States doing this? You can easily imagine Springsteen rocking Philadelphia – twice this Labor Day weekend – but Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, and even the Czech Republic?

True, the Boss is speaking the universal language of rock ‘n’ roll. Also true is that Springsteen touches on universal experiences when he sings about relationships. Has there ever been a deeper song about friendship than “Bobby Jean”?

But this is only part of the story. Springsteen is successful globally because he is a genuine American artist representing his nation’s highest ideals and aspirations. “If my work was about anything, it was about the search for identity, for personal recognition, for acceptance, for a big country,” Springsteen once said. “I’ve always felt that’s why people come to my shows, because they feel that big country in their hearts.”

What people in other countries hear him singing about is the American Dream, and they connect with the universal appeal of that message. A good life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – that’s what most people around the world are hanging their heart onto. “Life should be better and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement,” historian James Truslow Adams wrote in 1931. “Everybody’s got a hungry heart,” Springsteen sang 49 years later.

Of course, not everybody goes from rags to riches – and the pursuit of happiness is not only about that. Springsteen’s songs reflect that complexity of the American Dream. He tells the stories of those whose lives are far from perfect, but who manage to keep dreaming and carry on. For them, the American Dream is like that fancy old car in the garage that they sometimes think they’ll never be able to drive again. But they keep working on it anyway.

It’s like  that guy Springsteen sings about in “The River.” He became a father too early. He got a union card for his 19th birthday, but then lost his job. He has plenty of reasons to curse his life. However, he still has the river, his place of dreams, to dive into. And he continues to go there, even after the river goes dry. It is a sad story, yet consoling to see the protagonist always returning to his favorite place.

Life doesn’t always go the way you want it to, and sometimes dreamers can fail and be failed. Springsteen understands that. And that understanding makes him seem to be someone you know, even though you’ve never met him in person.

In Kevin Major’s novel Dear Bruce Springsteen, a teenager named Terry writes to the Boss about the tough times he’s having, about his dad running away from home, and his mom’s new husband. He thinks his musical idol will understand.

“It’s got to be great to let loose like you do onstage,” Terry writes. “To rip into a song with all you got and have everything what’s inside you come out. And not have to answer to anybody for it.”

Springsteen’s music is a way to reconcile your dreams and your disappointments. That’s universal.

In his latest album, Wrecking Ball, Springsteen goes beyond the personal, penning an angry answer to the financial crises that have affected people around the globe. And, as the Hollywood Reporter has stated, the album relies on “an amazing sweep of influences and rhythms, from hip-hop to Irish folk rhythms.” It is simply made for people all over the world.

But this weekend, the Boss will be singing in Philadelphia, providing a bit of reconciliation for his own torn country. Springsteen is a liberal, but his work often refers to the Republican values of Abraham Lincoln, who fought to expand opportunity for those who were supressed and enslaved, as Jim Cullen points out in Born in the U.S.A.: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition.

“The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” Franklin D. Roosevelt said that in 1932, reflecting the American willingness to always face the next frontier.

Eighty years later, that is the essence of Bruce Springsteen’s message: Try whatever you can to make the pursuit of happiness a successful undertaking for as many people as possible. It’s a message as appealing to the people in Barcelona, Berlin, and Prague as it is to this weekend’s fans at Citizens Bank Park.

So, Dear Bruce Springsteen, all that is why I am going to be in the crowd when you rock Philadelphia. I’ll be the one wearing the glasses with the thick frames, which are popular in Europe right now, and singing along with a German accent to “Born in the U.S.A.”

If you see me, give me a smile. Just a smile.

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.”