I went to this show for one specific reason, I’ve always heard that Bruce really brings it in Boston. I can now say that is 100% accurate. This did not disappoint. To me this was the King Kong of Bruce shows for this tour, 3 1/2 hours of high intensity, non-stop greatness.
It opened great and closer even better. From a cool opening of video catching the Bruce entourage entering the ballpark. exiting their cars and walking right onto the stage (set up right under the Green Monster) to Bruce entering with Roy and doing a version of Thunder Road with Bruce singing and Roy on piano, one knew this was going to be special. The prior night in Fenway Bruce had done a fairly straight-forward set-list so I had a feeling this one was going to be a bit crazed…and that it was.
From Thunder Road, Bruce said it was time for some “summer time” music, and off we went, right into Hungry Heart followed by the rarely played “Sherry Darling” into a great cover that was a ’78 tour regular, “Summertime Blues” and finishing the summer set with “Girls with their Summer Clothes”. And he was just warming up.
“We Take Care of Our Own” got things back on normal track, for a second then right into Little Steven favorite and also rarely played “Two Hearts” and Steven was mugging it up big time while sharing the mic with Bruce. Tour regulars “Wrecking Ball” and “Death to My Hometown” complete with a new opening to Death kept the energy going….until they slowed it down a notch with “My City of Ruins” complete with a call out to the recently departed Red Sox legend, Johnny Pesky and a spotlight on the “Pesky Pole”. 10 minutes later it was request time and the rarities came fast and furious.
First and E Street Band world premiere of the Eddie Floyd classic “Knock on Wood” and they nailed it, and it seemed that this song was written with the 2012 version of the E Street Band in mind. Then we went way back for “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street” and then even farther back for “Thundercrack” and then another rarity with the 2nd appearance on this tour of “Frankie”. Another sign request and this one sent Fenway into a frenzy, “Prove it All Night” but not the ordinary PIAN, but this one with the famed “78 intro”, and if you have never heard it in this manner, youtube it now! Bruce’s opening guitar solo is incendiary. A little normalcy followed with “Working on a Highway”, “Shackled and Drawn” and “I’m Waiting on a Sunny Day”.
Then, if possible, we went a little higher, with the always great, and not heard enoough “Backstreets” into “Badlands” and finally “The Land of Hope and Dreams” 2 1/2 hours later, some front stage bows and then the encore set.
A steady rain had started at the end of “Sunny Day” and Bruce acknowledged it with an acoustic version of the Credence classic “Who’ll Stop the Rain” which sequed into “Rocky Ground” which had been shelved in Europe and was a welcome return. Clock was now pressing on the Boston curfew of 10:30P so I was thinking 2 more songs, at this stage. WRONG! Lights up and into “Born the Run”, into a raucous and I believe the first appearance on this tour of “The Detroit Medley” and for you beginners that is (Devil with a Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly/C.C. Rider/Jenni Take A Ride), the medley a staple in the late 70’s has mostly been retired for 3 decades and when it does appear it is a fantastic return. Just getting started as the clock ticked past 10:30, curfew be damned. “Dancing in the Dark” and then another sign request and the first appearance this tour of mid-70’s show closer and Gary U.S. Bonds R&B classic “Quarter to Three”, we are now in full-blown legendary show territory….and we’re not done. the requisite show ender for the 2012 tour “10th Avenue Freeze-Out” where I was fortunate enough to be sitting at Bruce’s feet when he came into the audience (see photo posted last night)…and then one more, with the lead singer of Boston’s Dropkick Murphy’s lending a hand, “American Land”.
This show for me was as good it can be, legendary, Fenway Park, the rain, the set-list, a perfect night, glad I decided to make this stop at the last moment. Next stop Wrigley Field on 9/8.