Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wrecking Ball Tour - Part 2: Boston 3/26/12

I have once again had the opportunity to hear the gospel according to Bruce Springsteen and like the previous eleven or so times, I was once again moved in ways that only music can move and only in ways that the greatest living rock and roll performer can deliver.

Sitting in the best seats I've ever had for a Bruce Springsteen concert and only truly acquired that morning (the full story about getting these tickets will appear soon), I was treated to more than two hours and forty five minutes of Bruce Springsteen along with the E-Street Band - which now features a full horn section (called the E-Street Horns and includes the nephew of the late Clarence Clemons, Jake)  and a bevvy of vocalists (known as the E-Street Choir).

Here's the setlist:

We Take Care of Our Own
Wrecking Ball
Badlands
Death to My Hometown
My City of Ruins
Thundercrack
Jack of All Trades
Jackson Cage
She's the One
Easy Money
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The Promised Land
Apollo Medley (The Way You Do The Things You Do/634-5789)
American Skin (41 Shots)
Lonesome Day
The Rising
We Are Alive
Thunder Road
* * *
Rocky Ground (with Michelle Moore)
Land of Hope and Dreams
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
Raise Your Hand (with Peter Wolf)
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out

Like Johnny D mentioned, Bruce did the corny self-intro here as well. I agree it was corny but I was entertained by it but it did seem odd to follow that intro, which hearkened back to the style of the Apollo Theater in its heyday, with a song from the new record, which has no tie in to that era. That being said, I love the new music very much and I felt it translated very well to the live stage.

During "Wrecking Ball", when he sang the line, "Here where the blood is spilled, the arena's filled, and Giants play the game" the crowd booed quite loudly and actually got Bruce to laugh pretty loud. Seconds later though, all was forgiven here in Patriot land and when this the song ended and led into "Badlands", it was if all systems go, crowd in full aural arousal.

When "My City of Ruins" ended, Bruce got into some banter with some kid in the crowd, who requested a song that as Bruce said, "went way back". After a brief moment getting the band all on the same page, we were treated to the incredible "Thundercrack", a rare gem that Bruce mentioned was a song they used to close their shows with back in the 70's; great performance of a great song.

"Jack of All Trades", which some insiders refer to as the bathroom song, or the beer-run song, was compelling. Did it slow things down? Yes, however, in my opinion, in a very strategic way where Springsteen ins the master of the puppet known as our emotions ans he takes us up, down and around to the point of exhaustion and exhilaration. In fact, when the first chord of "Jackson Cage" was struck, much of the crowd exploded like sixteen thousand (or so) firecrackers as the delight of this rare live song from "The River".

I'll defer to John's review in the last post for the Apollo Medley, I couldn't said it better than Johnny did but I' repeat, it was truly infectious. It did however provide for another odd transition but once the mood was set through the haunting bass line, "American Skin", and it's message was not only heard, but felt and felt deeply. Just recalling it, I can feel that bass line pulsing through my soul.

The pre-encore set closed with what I think is my all-time favorite song, "Thunder Road" and while Bruce insisted on keeping up the crazy charade that musicians like to by leaving the stage, most of the back stood in place and he returned just a minute or so later to begin the encore set with "Rocky Ground" from the new record and featured singer Michelle Moore (who was very well received, deservedly so).

Also notable in the encore set was was the seemingly inevitable appearance of Peter Wolf, who seems to be making a habit of showing up for the Boston area shows, during Raise Your Hand but the real kicker was the last song of the night, "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out". When Bruce got to the line, "When the change was made uptown and the big man joined the band", the band stopped and the crown went berserk, most were pointing upward. The moment of "silence", loudest silence I've ever heard, lasted for about three and a half minutes before the band kicked back into the song and then came out for their final bows as everyone in the arena had realize that when Bruce said earlier in the show, "when you leave here, your arms are gonna be tired, your legs are gonna be tired, your body's gonna be tired...", he really meant it!

I am lucky enough to be seeing him in about three weeks in Albany and I'll let you know the details about that show too.

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