Monday, September 21, 2009

The Day After

So, last night I saw what had only been done once before...

I saw Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band play Born to Run in it's entirety. So, so very cool. I have to say I was a little disappointed to be in the rafters for this show, after having made it to the pit in front of the stage the last two tines we'd seen the band at the United Center. CByrd's mom was with us, and we did have a great time, but looking down into the crowd down front...I did have moments of real envy.

Oh well, we can't all make it up front every time.

Colene had a brief chat with a gentlemen coming from the bus to the arena, he asked her how many times she'd seen Bruce, she answered 10 times. He responded that it was only his second, and the last time was 32 years ago. It was a nice moment to remind me of how far Springsteen's reach is, and how many people his music speaks to.

No Surrender
Johnny 99
Cover Me
Outlaw Pete
Hungry Heart
Working on a Dream
Thunder Road
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Born to Run
She's the One
Meeting Across the River
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The Promised Land
Radio Nowhere
Lonesome Day
The Rising
* * *
Hard Times
Da Doo Ron Ron
Rockin' Robin
I'm Goin' Down
American Land
Dancing in the Dark

So, we started with the very welcome "Seeds," I've loved that song since it first appeared on the Live '75 - '85 box set. So powerful and angry, and so very appropriate for the current state of the US. The whole first bit of the show, from Seeds to Cover Me, were clearly the "recession set" for the night. Ending with Bruce repeating "Times are tough now" several times over to end Cover Me.

After that things got more fun, with Bruce going into the crowd for "Hungry Heart," crawling along the wall that separated the pit from the rest of the general admission floor, singing, and calling for the audience to sing along, the whole way. It was quite a moment, and my pang of envy was very, very strong for a few minutes there.

"Working on a Dream" was rough, and Bruce laughed that "Ladies and gentlemen, I hear the sound of the E Street Band fucking up! It can still happen after all these years... It ain't pretty." Little Steven Van Zant sidled up, and Bruce continued, "Steven said I missed a verse, so it was the Boss-man's fault."

Then, Bruce stopped....

"What we are about to do we've only done once before, in a little theater in Red Bank.” He added, “When we made this record we were close to being dumped by our record company. This was our last chance."

I gotta say, seeing the band run through the album in toto (in red above) was a real emotional experience for me. CByrd and I had our first dance to a live version of "Thunder Road" at our wedding, and she and I held each other as the song invited us into the album. I found tears on my cheeks during "Backstreets," which always makes me think of my closest friends, no matter how far away they may be, and how long it's been Dave, Larry, Ken, Shea...the whole "San Diego Crew." Then again with "Meeting Across the River" (With Richard Davis guesting on stand-up bass, just as on the record, and Curt Ramm, who also played on "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out," on trumpet) going into "Jungleland," which is just a musical statement that I find amazing every, single time I hear it. Bruce's wails as the album closes out are simply heart-wrenching to me.

After they wrapped up Born to Run with Jungleland, the band took a deserved bow, then went into a string of what have to be called tour staples at this point. "Promised Land" is a very important song for Bruce, so I always welcome that, but I may start adding my voice to those who say we don't have to hear "The Rising" at every show anymore. I love it, it's one of my favorites, but it would've been nice to see something that we don't see all the time. Hell, I'd even welcome "Born in the USA" at this point. "Waiting on a Sunny Day" was fun, with Bruce pulling a kid from the pit to sing a chorus, and almost not making it all the way there tossing the acoustic to his guitar tech. "Uh, sorry," got a laugh.

The main set ended with "Badlands," but you'd hardly know it, as they were pretty much right into the requests/stump the band/sign collection section without leaving the stage. This has become a huge highlight of shows for me. I love watching the band scramble to figure out a song and almost always pulling it off. We got a bonus with two "stump the band" requests, "Da Doo Ron Ron," and "Rockin' Robin," neither ever played by the E-Street Band before. Good fun, but I have to say the "Mony Mony" from the Spring was more exciting (of course, I was in the pit). Then to "I'm Going Down" by request, "American Land," "Dancing in the Dark" (with a whole chorus line of kids from the pit), and the always-welcome "Rosalita" ending the night.

A few thoughts from the rafters....

Who are these people who go to shows and act like they don't want to be there the whole time? The family of three right next to me, well...they never cracked a smile the whole night. I understand some people don't dig Springsteen (philistines, but whatever...), but why in the hell are you at the show? Why sit there with a sour look on your face the whole time? And it wasn't like dad dragged mom and son out, he looked like he was pissed off, too. Amazing.

Very much looking forward to Milwaulkee in November. Back into the general admission, and another crack at the pit.

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