Sunday, May 24, 2009


Last night, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band wrapped up the first leg of their U.S. tour with a rocking show at the Izod Center at the Meadowlands. It was the second of two nights there - the first seemed to feature a somewhat more conservative set, since Jay Weinberg was sitting in for Max Weinberg for the entire show.

Last night, Max was back, and the setlist was phenomenal. Three songs from The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, and none of them were "Rosalita"! "Incident on 57th Street," "Kitty's Back" and "The E Street Shuffle." Another rarity was "Something In The Night" from Darkness On The Edge Of Town. Why am I so taken by rarities? Because it was my 28th time seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert (not including stuff like the Pete Seeger tribute or the opening of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). I feel like every time he tours, he has something different to offer, his shows have a different narrative. At the same time, I don't think that they are alienating for people who are going to see him for the first time: last night he played "Thunder Road" and "Born To Run," and truth to tell, as much as I am usually averse to hearing songs beaten to death by the awful institution that is classic rock radio, I wouldn't want to see Bruce and The E Street Band and not hear those songs.

Other highlights for me: a rock and roll version of Nebraska's "Johnny 99" (one of his best songs), "Seeds" (a great song which he only released on the Live 1975 - 1985 box set) and a cover of a Stephen Foster song from the 1850s (yes, 1850s) "Hard Times." But there were so many highlights: "Badlands" is a great opener, "Spirit In The Night," "The Ghost Of Tom Joad," "Cover Me," "The Promised Land," "Lonesome Day," "The Rising" and the modern folk classic "American Land" (from the expanded version of We Shall Overcome and also Live In Dublin) always work for me. My only complaint? While I like the Working On A Dream song "Kingdom of Days," I don't think "Outlaw Pete" and "Working On A Dream" work in concert. I'd love to hear "My Lucky Day," "What Love Can Do" (which reminds me of a Tom Petty song) "Good Eye," "Surprise, Surprise" and even "The Last Carnival."

Anyway, I can't wait to see Bruce and The E Street Band when they return in the fall to close down Giants Stadium. I believe that this is will likely be the last big tour that Bruce does with the band, so if you have never seen them, and you've always wanted to, this is your chance.

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