Bruce & The E Street Band fight the wrecking ball

Nashville, TN
11/18/09

Wrecking Ball
Seeds
Trapped
Something In The Night
Hungry Heart
Working On A Dream
Thunder Road
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Night
Backstreets
Born To Run
She’s The One
Meeting Across The River
Jungleland
Waiting On A Sunny Day
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Two Hearts
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
Lonesome Day
The Rising
Badlands

Ring of Fire
No Surrender
Bobby Jean
American Land
Dancing In The Dark
Rosalita
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher

There are few privileges in life that match seeing Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. OK, I lied. There aren’t any. For three hours, troubles are gone, sorrows are lightened, and there is a community of people in which you can belong. The ones screaming out the first verse of “Hungry Heart”, the ones jumping to their feet when the opening chords of “Badlands” pulse out. When the light come back up, I don’t know the people next to me. I probably wouldn’t even like them. But there we are, sharing a moment for those three hours. Amused, enraptured, taken aback, and always moving, a step or two closer to the land of hopes and dreams.

I think last night was the last of these shows I”ll see. I think it’s the third to last one that will be. Something in the mood, something in the performance just spelled “Goodbye.” It wasn’t always somber. The arena jumped and rocked and smiles were passed player to player, in the joy of the moment. But the softer moments were so tender, they seemed so meaningful that I can’t believe this is just another tour.

Clarence Clemons looked as moved and as contemplative as anyone can, when he blew away everything else with his solo on “Jungleland.” And when Springsteen came to the end of “Backstreets”, he softly, carefully echoed “’til the end”, over and over, until he built the song into a second climax.

The centerpiece of this show was a full-album outing of Born to Run. Springsteen said a few things first, talked about how this was a huge album, because he had signed a three album contract and the first two had been released and had sunk rather quickly. And they played it. Thunder Road, 10th Avenue Freezeout, Backstreets, Meeting Across the River, Jungleland. BAM. BAM. BAM. And they the survivors walked forward– Stevie Van Zandt, Roy Bittan, Gary Tallent, Clarence Clemons, and the Boss himself. “These are the guys who played on the record,” he said, “Along with ‘Phantom Dan’ Federici (with a finger point to the sky on the last name).

The song that seemed to best fit the night was the opener, the brand-new “Wrecking Ball”. Ostensibly “about” the destruction of Giants Stadium, where Springsteen debuted the song, it’s not about that at all. It’s about time and age, and the distance between what we are and what we become. “So raise up your glasses and let me hear your voices call,” Bruce sang, “Because tonight all the dead are here/So bring on your wrecking ball.” Some of the dead are literal– Phantom Dan, gone too soon. Most are the selves who we were a week or a month or a year or 35 years ago. But we raised our metaphorical glasses in Nashville, and the voices certainly called. Because what was left was a monument itself. I hope we’ll hear from Bruce & The E Streeters again soon. But if not, I could never complain. Some things are destined to live longer than bricks and mortar and wrecking balls.

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One Response to “Bruce & The E Street Band fight the wrecking ball”

  1. Amy Says:

    Wow…..I am soooooo jealous!

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