Everybody who's ever seen Bruce Springsteen live has always told me, "You haven't really heard him until you've heard him live." This, of course, is a pretty standard line for any major fan of any major artist. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to see some really good shows (for a listing, check this out) and anyone who knows me has to tolerate what my wife calls the "Charlie Brown's teacher syndrome" (wah wah wah wah wah wah) when it comes to talking about guitarists and music.
But, really, not to be derivative or anything ... you haven't really heard Springsteen until you've heard him live. And, maybe it's not even so much that as it is about the band. The E Street Band...mmm mmm mmm...
About 9 hours ago, my friend Lonnie Smith and I left the American Airlines Center in Dallas after being treated to two and a half hours of what was, at the very least, the most energetic show I've ever seen. At 58, the "boss" hasn't slowed down and still can move an audience like nothing I've ever seen.
Now, I have nothing to compare this with, of course. People who saw him 20 or 30 years ago are probably in better position to really review this show and I'm sure there are plenty of those out there. But for a first-timer, I can't remember the last time I had my socks just blown off by a concert the way I did last night.
Bruce showed up on stage at about 8:15 (which I understand is pretty much "on time" for him), along with the E Street Band and tore into Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out. It was hard to tell from where I was sitting (we were in the terrace level, right up front center-stage, which gave us a great overall view, but not really what you'd call close - thank God for video venues these days!!), but it was apparent pretty early on that Bruce gets a lot of his energy from the audience and I couldn't tell, but it didn't sound like the audience was giving all that much up front, but by the end of the show, everyone was on their feet, singing along, and giving LOTS back.
Bruce performed some of the best from his new album Magic, including Girls in Their Summer Clothes, Radio Nowhere, Livin' in the Future, Long Road Home, and the captivating title track (which is all about illusion and politics) and made the comment before singing Magic that we were near the end of an eight year run of some really "dark (I think that's the word he used) magic." I bought this CD not long after it was released and have liked it from day one, but seeing him perform these pieces live definitely enlarged my vision of Springsteen's talents. I've always known he was a great song-writer, but had no clue about what kind of performer he was (aside from seeing his HBO special from Madison Square Garden a few years back). And there's an energy that comes across in person that you can't get by watching someone on television.
And, he did a lot of old favorites: Born to Run, Badlands, Jungleland, Dancing in the Dark (where he pulled a bunch of 10- and 11-year-old kids who'd come over from Ft. Worth onto the stage), and Because the Night. My personal fave has always been BTR, and it's a sonic experience just to hear Springsteen shout out, "1-2-3-4," after the break in the middle of the song as they bring it home for the final verse.
If you get the chance, don't miss out on this tour. It's definitely something you'll carry in your heart for a long time.
Here's the set list for last night's show.
April 13, 2008
American Airlines Center
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Reason To Believe
Prove It All Night
Because The Night
She's The One
Livin' In The Future
The Promised Land
Girls In Their Summer Clothes
Last To Die
Long Walk Home
Meeting Across The River
Born To Run
Dancing In The Dark