Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Concert Review: Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen, or The Boss as he often goes by, has been at this music thing for decades. New Jersey born Springsteen has long carried the spirits of the state along with him on his musical voyage to take over the country and most of the world with his good ol' rock music. Known for his soaring sound and poetic lyrics, Bruce has built up quite a reputation as a magnificent artist as well as an artist that puts on one hell of a live show. Following the release of Bruce's latest album, "Magic," he decided to load up the E-Street Band once again and hit the road.

For a long while, Bruce has sat atop my "Artists I Most Want to See Live" List. So when it was brought to my attention that he would be indeed touring with the E-Street Band, I had to jump on this opportunity because you never know how many more you'll have. With a long understanding and appreciation of Bruce without ever spilling over to his fanatic fan base, I was indeed pumped to see the show in person. I was lucky enough to pull floor seats along with three of my friends for the Philly show on October 5th. I was also fortunate to meet up with some more of my friends from the great state of Delaware to enjoy the Bruce festivities. Amazingly enough, as my friends and I went up to get our wristbands for general admission, we managed to slide up 200 spots in the GA lottery to land pit seats, making a great show even more unbelievable. We quickly entered the Wac Center a mere two people between us and the stage.

Thanks to a blend of brews and cigars my anticipation was soothed but ready to spring at any moment. Then, right on time, Bruce and the E-Streeters took to the stage. The non-stop concert spanned over two hours with the band moving quickly from one song to another so as to keep the concert bouncing. My basic concept of a Bruce show would be that it is similar to a sort of church service. Lots of music, everyone participating, and just a good vibe all around. Ok, maybe this doesn't sound like a church that you or I have ever attended, but you get the idea. Truly, my assessment was not far off. The vibe was definitely better than any concert I have attended, and the band executes extremely well, especially for it being one of the earlier stops on the tour. The set list played out as follows:

Radio Nowhere
No Surrender
Lonesome Day
Gypsy Biker
Reason to Believe
Candy's Room
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
The Promised Land
Brilliant Disguise
My Hometown
Darlington County
Devil's Arcade
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
Girls in Their Summer Clothes
Born to Run
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
American Land

While there were a good amount of new songs, and of course some songs were left off that I wanted to hear, I really couldn't complain. This being my first Bruce show I got to see "Born to Run," "Brilliant Disguise," and "Candy's Room," the latter two being personal faves. "Incident on 57th Street" was supposed to rear its head, but sadly did not debut until the following night. Most of the songs certainly pleased the fans, and as for the new tunes, they're good songs and I had no problem hearing them, even preferring to hear "Girls in Their Summer Clothes." The only major complaint was Bruce changing up the set list during the show, subbing in "My Hometown" over "Adam Raised a Cain," which is a much more concert friendly song. A typical highlight was "Born to Run" with the houselights up. Trite, I know, but I can't deny that song for what it is. From the most hardened Bruce fans to the people who just showed up for a good show, that song is just electric when it blazes through the arena. There's really no way around it, and if you don't feel that song when it's played live, then you're a liar. A fucking liar.

Overall the show was all I could have wanted and more considering where I was in the pit. It was an exciting, fun concert, and for the first time I was in a pit and wasn't worried about some douchebag causing problems for me or people around me. Those Bruce fans are all about enjoying themselves, not interfering with others.

Granted there are about 4 levels of thought on Bruce:

IV. Hate him - don't like his music, Jersey, or anything about the guy.
III. Think He is Overrated - enjoy "Born in the U.S.A." and "Dancing in the Dark," but don't get what all the fuss is about.
II. Good fans - like most of his music, have an idea what most of his songs are, and his significance to music in general.
I. Lunatics - know everything about Bruce, his family, and friends (I'm talking daily activities, hobbies, places the Springsteens' like to hang out), can name all the E-Street Band's middle names, and own a bootleg copy of Bruce's kindergarten recital from 1954.

I fall comfortably in the Tier II category, and I'm fine with that. I take Bruce for what he is, and I have a great respect for his music and know that it is a good time when Bruce is playing. So as far as this concert goes, I was more than pleased with the experience, and if you're anywhere in Tier IV or III and you have some money laying around, I say go to a Bruce show. He might be able to change your mind. So with that, I cross Bruce off the top of my "Must See Live" List. Who's next? It's hard to say, but they'll have a lot to live up to after seeing Bruce.

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