Bruce Springsteen @L.A. Sports Arena 3/19/16

Incendiary. Third night in L.A. and you wonder what makes one night just that much better than the others? Yes the set-list changes, and yes this was the final event ever in the Sports Arena, one of Bruce’s favorite venues, and maybe it was that tonight’s seats were in a spot that made the sound just utterly fantastic, as I was able to hear every single instrument crystal clear. Who knows, but tonight’s show was incendiary from the time they hit the stage to the end, 36 songs and three hours and forty-five minutes.

When the tour began I was worried that seeing the River in its entirety many times would get old, the usual reason to see Bruce is the randomness of the set-list, and now 6 shows in, I can honestly say that The River is so perfect, it doesn’t get old at all. They’ve done an incredible job of arrangements on this music, adding nuances to the songs that didn’t exist on the original recordings, adding substance to songs like “Little Girl I Want to Marry You” and especially “Drive All Night”, which is just stunning in its complexity. Roy’s opening piano solo on “Point Blank” is mesmerizing, Steven, and make no mistake about it this tour is Steven’s time to shine as this is as large a role as he has played since the 70’s, his playing, his secondary vocals with Bruce show him to be the perfect rock and roll sideman. It might sound sacrilegious but Jake Clemons’s replacing The Big Man playing doesn’t miss a beat whatsoever. He might not be as big as “The Big Man’, but he can certainly play, and adding some youthful vigor to the band certainly doesn’t hurt.

Highlights: “Prove it all Night” opening the post-River set for the first time in L.A. this week with a blistering solo by Bruce in it. Followed by an incredible version of “My Love Will Not Let You Down” with all three guitarists pushing one another to new heights. A tour premier of “Tougher Than the Rest”, “Because the Night”, well I can see and listen to this live every single night, Nils guitar solo, one of the rare times an E Streeter gets to solo is always spectacular complete with his whirling dervish act. And while I was expecting this tonight, the addition of “Jungleland” always makes a show special. Steve’s mini-solo, Jake making like Uncle Clarence in blowing the roof off the building in the greatest sax solo in rock history.

The encore opened with “Wrecking Ball” with Bruce changing the lyrics to memorialize “The Dump That Jumps” as this was the bands 34th and final appearance at the nearly 60 year old Sports Arena, and clearly the E Street Band will miss this place in future tours. Even “Shout” the usual show finisher had extra oomph to it tonight…and then for good measure one more for Los Angeles, the 36th song of the night and the 45th different song played this week, “Bobby Jean”.

Thanks Bruce it was a fantastic week.

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