Guitars, guitars, and more guitars: Bruce in LA, 4/27/12

The entire drive home I debated whether this was the best Bruce show I’ve ever seen, and my past and my present fought to a draw. Truth is it is hard to really recall all of the moments of shows of 35+ years ago, so let’s leave it at best of the 7 I’ve now seen on this tour. A multitude of reasons why, but let’s start at the top, which really was the top and was a moment of sheer magic.

I arrived very early tonight, as I was suppose to get a backstage tour at 630P, that was canceled just as I got in my car to leave at 515, reason was that tonight was going to be family only. So I go anyway, sell my extra ticket and figure I will go in and have a bite to eat, a drink and relax in my seat with more than 90 minutes to go before show time. And then the magic occurred, at about 715P, onto an unlit stage with the arena about 40% filled walks a group of about 12 people, and sure enough leading them is Bruce himself, not yet dressed for a show. He steps to the mike and introduces them as his CA. family, aunts, uncles, cousins. He is just showing them the stage, taking photos with them etc. This goes on for about 5-10 minutes with the crowd not knowing what to think of this. Then The Boss guides them off, picks up an acoustic guitar, steps to the mike and serenades the crowed with “For You”, finishes, says see you in a bit and disappears back into the tunnel. Totally surreal, magic! I guess that can be counted as a tour premiere?

Then after a long wait, with the show starting slightly before 845P with another tour premiere, this being “No Surrender” and that began an evening of stunning and ferocious guitar play, and many Lonnie tour premiere this evening, as always night 2 of the back-to-backers turns into something special.  One of the highlights was having Tom Morello back for night 2, and his power intensified “Death to My Hometown” making it an explosion of power and emotion. Then the fun really began,, after “My City in Ruins” they went way back, all the way to Greetings for “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street” with killer percussion duel between Max and Everett. Another appearacne by Morello on “Jack of all Trades” and then a triple-play that was an orgy of guitar play; opening with “Youngstown” where of couse Nils tore the place apart, right into “Prove it all Night” where the three of them (Bruce, Nils, Steve) were shredding the air with their play, as it always has been, “Prove it” is a show-stopper and one great live song, and that went right into the much too infrequently played “Darkness on the Edge of Town” where the intensity coming off of the two preceding numbers had the place in a frenzy. Back to the regular set-list and then for the 2nd time on this tour “Racing in the Street” maybe it is because of the lyric ” in a Camaro with this dude from L.A.” but as he did in ’09 here at the Sports Arena, RITS just kills, Roy’s playing is the perfect use of piano in rock music, Max’s drumming drives the song to a higher place, a 3-4 minutes ballad on the original LP, turns into an epic live in LA, just spectacular. And if that wasn’t enough Bruce brings back Morello for round two of “The Ghost of Tom Joad”, and as I wrote last night, if you haven’t seen this live version, please You Tube it, is is truly beyond description, Morello is from another planet for sure.

In the encores, after the lovely “Rocky Ground”, came another tour premiere, “Bobby Jean”, which while “Born in the USA” isn’t close to being my favorite LP, this is truly a great song, something about “No Surrender” and “Bobby Jean” bookending the show that just seems right, they feel like companion pieces to one another. From there the typical, but I have to say “Dancing in the Dark” which was always to populist for me, has become a great live number and following “Born to Run” which has been revitalized on this tour, are great companion pieces as well.

Full set list:

For You (pre-show) (Tour Premiere)

No Surrender (Tour premiere)

We Take Care of Our Own

Wrecking Ball


Death to My Hometown (w/Morello)

My City in Ruins

Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street (Personal tour premiere)

Jack of All Trades (w/Morello)


Prove it All Night (Personal Tour Premiere)

Darkeness on the Edge of Town (Personal Tour Premiere)

Easy Money

Waiting on a Sunny Day

Apollo Medley

Racing in the Street (personal tour premiere)

The Rising

Lonesome Day

We Are Alive

The Ghost of Tom Joad

Land of Hope & Dreams

Rocky Ground

Bobby Jean (Tour Premiere)

Born to Run

Dancing in the Dark

10th Avenue Freeze-Out.

For the record 3 Tour premieres and 4 personal premieres, quite an evening.

Well I am now finished until Europe in July, although a small chance I can sneak in Newark on Wednesday night….if not, I will be back on 7/9 from Zurich!


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