Saturday, November 24, 2007
SPRINGSTEEN ROCKS BOSTON! Part 3, the last part.
The Born in the U.S.A. album was represented by a with Bruce playing the acoustic guitar with a raw aggression punching up the studio version of Working on the Highway along with some yowls and hoots. Lyrically, I can't help but think it was an intentional lead into Devil's Arcade from the new CD as the lives of the characters seem to parallel in many ways. Devil's Arcade is not for the faint of heart. It's lyrical and vocal content require a specific audience response for the proper effect, that is quiet and attention. From what I've read, this was a bit trickier on last night but in this performance, it seemed that the audience was captured without distraction and effectively rewarded as the beginning notes of The Rising, from the CD of the same name, were played. The Rising is one of those songs that constantly builds on itself, even when I listen to this song on CD, I can feel that "Rising" in the music and the lyrics as they play off each other. I love this song and live, it is not only electrifying, but moving as well.
Bruce gave us two more from Magic at this point with Last to Die and Long Walk Home. When I first heard these songs in the CD I couldn't wait to see how they translate live. These are songs that really highlight the brilliance of this band as a unit and how each player contributes to the whole. There are certain songs that strike particular emotions that contribute to how they feel when you hear them. One of my favorite Springsteen songs that just tugs at something inside of me is No Surrender, absent in this performance but Last to Die seems to pull at those same emotions and Long Walk home was a good choice rhythmically to bring me back to the performance I was watching from the place I seem to go when I hear those songs.
The main set closed with Badlands, from Darkness on the Edge of Town, a classic track that had all 18,000+, including this fan, on their feet singing along with nearly as much passion as Bruce himself. There wasn't much time to breathe though because we all knew they weren't done yet; not with the show or the surprises. Us diehards are always browsing the set lists from previous performances on the tour and trying to predict what we might hear. Throughout the tour, the encore set has been fairly standard with some, but few surprises and nothing for sure that would have had any of us guessing what we were in store for except we knew for sure that Born to Run would be in there somewhere.
The first song was as predicted, considering it had been placed there for all but two shows on the tour, Girls in their Sumer Clothes from Magic. This song was made for the live show and we were all invited to sing the first chorus as Bruce held the microphone out to the audience while moving his hands in a conducting manner and mouthing the words for those who may not have known all of the words. I particularly love the bass vocal range hat finishes the chorus. As the song ended, much to our surprise and delight, the show officially went into overdrive with the tour premiere of Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out from Born to Run. Peter Wolf, in the audience the previous day, took the stage during this crowd pleaser to kernoodle with Patti Scialfa and Springsteen himself. Wolf a Boston native and local hero didn't add much to the performance but the crowd was happy to see him and he certainly didn't take anything away from the performance either. Quite frankly, the idea that we were hearing this song really just elevated the adrenalin levels and trust me, there was no way you would believe that every performer on the stage was a card carrying member of the AARP. Simply breathless and it wasn't about to stop as a tightened up jazzy, bluesy, Federici-fied version of Kitty's Back from the Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle continued to mesmerize the crowd. We all knew that this was going to be a great show and it's hard to consider a specific Springsteen show as "something special" but I think having seen him nine times, all special, I can say without hesitation, this show was truly something special.
The rest of the show, anyone of us diehards could have predicted if you told us there were only two songs left. And while predictable, they were nothing short of brilliant. The legendary Born to Run, from the album of the same name is not only a signature song, but proof of the love and passion Springsteen brings to his performances and his fans. Compare it say Sting, who has admitted to dreading singing Roxanne as it is painfully obvious to anyone who might take a moment to observe him during the performance, Springsteen performs Born to Run with the same intensity and perhaps even increased appreciation as if it were a song he wrote the day before and he were introducing it for the first time. The show closer was American Land from the "American Land" reissue edition of The Seeger Sessions CD. Lyrics were provided, karaoke style, on the big screens above the stage and the crown responded in kind. When it was all over, we weren't brought down, but lifted up to a place very few performers can take us. To see Bruce Springsteen live is beyond just any concert performance, it truly is a spiritually moving event and when the E-Street Band is along for the ride, there is just no limit to how high they can take you. The End.