Final night of the 3 show week, and was expecting and received a high-energy performance (not that any are ever lacking), but afterall it was Friday night.
Looks like we might have a new show opener, for the 2nd night in a row, “Land of Hope & Dreams” moved from the main set closing position to the opening slot, and it definitely sets the proper tone, seamlessly into “Cover Me” and then a Darkness doubleheader which was the signal that this was going to be a special evening. First the seldom played live “Adam Raised a Cain” and into the even more seldomly played “Something in the Night”, and Bruce and the arena were on fire. Standard next five songs, “Hungry Heart”, “We Take Care of Our Own”, “Wrecking Ball”, the ever amazing “Death to My Hometown”, and “My City of Ruins”. Pretty incredible that over the 13 year life of “My City”, the song has gone from a message for Bruce’s old haunts of Asbury Park, to a remembrance of 9/11, to the memory of Clarence and Danny and old friends and now into a combo of the Jersey Shore again, and the memory of old friends..
Bruce reached way back for a kick-ass version of “E Street Shuffle” with the percussion duel between Everett and Max leading into a full front stage horns blaring finish. One would imagine that when Bruce penned this song, this is exactly how he imagined it being played live.
Request time, and tonight was Bruce at his best playing with the multitude of requests, starting with a “Dance With a girl from Hungary” request, and that he did, bringing a woman from the 2nd section of the floor up and having the band launch into Seeger Sessions fave, “Pay Me My Money Down” into request #2, the rarely heard “I’m Goin’ Down”, request #3 of “The Ties That Bind” and finishing the request section with the 2nd full-band performance ever of the incredible “Devils and Dust”. And then time to whip the audience back into a frenzy.
How better to do that then the trio of “Because the Night”, “She’s the One”, and “Shackled & Drawn”, mission accomplished. “Waiting on a Sunny Day” always perfect for a quick restroom break, and then into Stevie favorite the Eddie Floyd/Steve Cropper classic “Raise Your Hand” And then for me some magic. I had written earlier this week that “Badlands” and “The Rising” had become a bit, let’s say boring for me, at this juncture, well tonight, I don’t know what it was but both tunes (Rising then Badlands) were incredible, maybe the band had a shot of 1970’s Dave Herman Bruce Juice, but they just took off and were perfect into main-set closer “Thunder Road”.
Encore time, and it was time for Ms. Kitty to make one of her rare appearances, and there she was, the mighty force of the E Street Band for 14 minutes of incendiary “Kitty’s Back”, this song is without a doubt the best showcase of the talents of the E Streeters. tonight wasn’t the 18 minute version we had in Pittsburgh a month ago with 11 solos, but 14 minutes and 4 solos were more than enought, just incredible. From there it was the traditional full force closing of “Born to Run”, “Dancing in the Dark”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “10th Avenue Freeze Out”.
Three hours and 5 minutes of power, thanks to old and dear friend Mary Ann for accompanying me, sorry I missed even older friend Joey who was in the house.
And this morning woke up to the announcement of a June/July European tour. London’s Calling?