“The Last Dance” the final show of the ’14 tour, was a full assault of guitars, loud and hard was clearly the message tonight, and lots of surprises. Stevie was back with the band after finishing his Norwegian duties filming Lilyhammer and great to have his presence, he clearly brings out another side of Bruce. 8 tour premieres tonight, in fact the first 7 shows of the night were premieres, another 3 that were premiere for me, made the journey to Uncasville, CT, well worth it. Thanks to old friend Jeff Dellin for driving back and forth.
For the casino theme a double shot opener of “Another Roll of the Dice” with Bruce wanting to know how much everyone lost, “because they had to lose to pay me for being here”, into “Leap of Faith”, because what else is gambling, but that? Both rarely played from the non E Street Band albums, Human Touch and Lucky Town respectively, both great to here, would be awesome if the material from these two records were embraced by Bruce and the E Streeters. Then the biggest surprise one could imagine, a cover of Van Halen’s “Jump” which was note for note perfection, proving the band to be the greatest bar band ever. Next off of the Tracks compilation CD, “Frankie” and then it was request time and Bruce was going for the obscure tonight. First up, and while it is May, when a little girl of about 5-6 years old walks on stage carrying a sign that was as big as she was, you have to play the song. So on 5/18/14 came the earliest in the year rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, then a world premiere of “7 Angels” off of Tracks as well, and it killed, causing Bruce to muse afterwards that they need to play this one more often. It was a reward to a fan carrying the sign request for “at least the past 10 shows” according to Bruce, “Don’t Look Back” made it’s tour premiere as the 3rd straight request and the 4th in a row was the great “Darkness on the Edge of Town”. Now a welcoming back of Steve with a Stevie doubleheader, first the tour premiere of “You Can Look, But you Better Not Touch” with the two trading lyrics, followed by my premiere of my favorite song off of High Hopes, “Frankie Fell in Love”. After seeing 6 songs on this tour, so glad to have seen it. Time to blast away with a seven pack of guitar fury, can’t be described in any other manner.
1) Adam Raised a Cain
2) “High Hopes” with Morello soloing
3) Youngstown w/ Nils delivering his usual brilliant solo.
4) Murder, Inc.
5) Johnny 99 with the horns joining in
6) Cadillac Ranch
7) “I’m a Rocker” a tour premiere
Next up, another rarity, “Loose Ends” a recorded track from ’79, but not released for 20 years, and a great great song, Steve considers it one of Bruce’s classics.
The typical twofer of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” which as I’ve stated many times, never gets old, and “The Rising” leading into “Badlands” dropped down from its usual early set placement to the closer for the main set tonight.
The “encore section” opened with “Born to Run” earlier than usual, followed by “Ramrod” which continued the guitar army theme of the night and had a tremendous moment of the classic break at the end of the song with Bruce asking Steve, “Steve, what time is it”, Steve milks it for about 30-45 seconds, before giving a long passioned, “It’s Bosssssssssssss Time”. Next up “Dancing in the Dark” but the pick to dance with Bruce tonight had Steve pointing to someone in the audience, and the someone was Maureen Van Zandt, Steve’s wife, who also played his wife in The Sopranos. Dancing was followed by “10th Avenue Freeze-Out” which finished with the band taking their bows at the front of the stage and instead of the typical solo intros and Bruce’s rap about “you’ve just seen the hard-rocking, etc., etc., etc.” tonight it was “you’ve just seen the legendary…call out to audience “E Street Band”. One more calling out of instructions to the band members with Bruce walking to mic and saying “for the Last Dance” and it was time for “Jungleland”, always awe inspiring.
The band departed with Bruce hugging each and every member and talking about playing to 4 million people on the “Wrecking Ball/High Hopes” tour and thanking each and everyone of them for helping them come through hard times (Clarence’s passing), “so while we’re apart”, “Dream Baby Dream”. And it was over.
This U.S. leg of about 20 shows after South Africa/Australia/New Zealand, all in mostly mid-sized cities has been perceived as a warm-up for a larger tour in major markets later this summer. It was the thank you that made me think this isn’t going to happen. Bruce calling this the end of the “Wrecking Ball/high Hopes” tour, made it feel like just an extension of the ’12-’13 tour, that just happened to have a new CD recorded during a break. There was bunch of complaints in ’12 from the smaller cities Bruce hadn’t got to, I believe that was what the past 6 weeks were for, closing that loop. I think it will be awhile before we see another tour.
If that is the case the WB/HH tour had me see 25 shows, worth every penny of it!!!