Friday, 30 October 2009

Steal Rock Hall Of Fame Show to Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder

During his introduction at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night (October 29), Tom Hanks brought up a good question: "Does rock and roll need a hall of fame?" He immediately arrived at his answer. "Yes. After 50 years of rock and roll, yes." The next five hours were spent backing up Hanks' statement, with performances by Crosby, Stills and Nash, Stevie Wonder, Simon & Garfunkel and Bruce Springsteen (plus a bevy of particular guests), all saluting the now storied history of rock and roll.
Ostensibly, the theme of the night was to bring together seminal rock acts and their influences for a series of greatest hits and all-star jams (Paul Simon brought out old school bopper Dion for a trip through "Runaround Sue," while Springsteen welcomed legendary singer and bandleader Sam Moore), but the most inspired moments from the show came when artists decided to look to the future (or at least the present) rather than salute the past. Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello joined Springsteen for a loud, thumping electric version of "The Ghost of Tom Joad" (complete with Morello's signature guitar scratching), while Wonder brought out John Legend for a trip through Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and an extended tribute to Michael Jackson on "The Way You Make Me Feel."
Following Hanks' introduction (his production company, Playtone, was producing the show for HBO, which will air the concert on November 29), the curtain rose on Jerry Lee Lewis, the 74 year old rock legend who sat behind a piano to pound out "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." He was followed by the first of many montages of moments in rock history (Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar, Elvis Presley on "The Ed Sullivan Show") mashed up with signature moments from the 20th century (Martin Luther King, Vietnam).
Crosby, Stills and Nash ran through a workmanlike set of their own hits and covers, bringing on contemporaries Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor for a few collaborations (including a blistering run through the Allman Brothers Band's "Midnight Rider" and an all-hands-on-deck jam through "Teach Your Children"). Paul Simon's set was more straightforward: He kicked it off with "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" and didn't stray far from his jukebox full of hits for the next 45 minutes. Longtime collaborator Art Garfunkel harmonized with Simon on classics like "The Sound of Silence" and "The Boxer," and while their individual voices sounded weathered by age, the harmonies remained as sweet and haunting as ever.
Stevie Wonder overcame technical difficulties at the beginning of his set (nobody could seem to provide him with a microphone that worked) to deliver a hit-filled, star-studded performance that stole the evening. In addition to his team up with Legend, Wonder also brought on Smokey Robinson (whose sweet croon infused "The Tracks of My Tears" with a stunning grace) and B.B. King (whose run through "The Thrill Is Gone" proved that his voice still has that perfect combination of gravel and honey, even at 84 years old). Perhaps the evening's most surreal moment came when Wonder introduced Sting, who played bass and sang with the R&B legend on an inspired mash-up of Wonder's "Higher Ground" and the Police's "Roxanne."
The night closed with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's typically epic set. Following a sweaty "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," Springsteen just kept hitting peaks: Duets with John Fogerty and Darlene Love, a cover of the Clash's "London Calling," a surprise appearance by Billy Joel (who jammed on three songs) and a final, everybody-and-their-mother grand finale "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher." It was well after 1 a.m. by the time Springsteen bid the crowd goodnight, but the case had been made long before that: Yes, rock and roll does need a hall of fame, and the evening's performers proved that they were the reason why.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Bruce Springsteen: Plays Roll Over Beethoven in St. Louis

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band continued their tour on Sunday night with a gig in St. Louis. One highlight was Bruce playing "Roll Over Beethoven" in honor of St.Louis native Chuck Berry. The song hit was a 1956 for Berry. Also Bruce played "For You" solo on the piano. A solo piano song was a regular feature of the 2002-03 Rising Tour but it hasn't beendone too many times currently. This, as many future shows will be, was a "Born to Run" gig where Bruce played the entire album.

Gig began at 8:24 p.m.
1. Wrecking Ball
2. Seeds
3. Prove It All Night
4. Hungry Heart (crowd surfing)
5. Working On a Dream
6. Thunder Road
7. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
8. Night
9. Backstreets
10. Born To Run
11. She's The One
12. Meeting Across The River
13. Jungleland
14. Waitin' On a Sunny Day
15. Working On The Highway
16. The Promised Land
17. Lonesome Day
18. The Rising
19. Badlands
20. No Surrender
21. For You (solo Piano)
22. Roll Over Beethoven (tour premiere)
23. Surprise Surprise
24. Detroit Medley
25. American Land
26. Dancing In The Dark
27. Rosalita
Show over at 11:23 p.m.
Next gig: Monday night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

At Tuesday show in Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen plays Price You Pay

Quite the setlist for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at their fourth and final night at the Philadelphia Spectrum on Tuesday.
A particular 31-song, 3-hour-and-20 minute show with many highlights including Bruce opening with a song that many fans have had at the top of their request list: "The Price You Pay" from "The River."
It was the first time "Price You Play" had been played since May 27, 1981 in Brighton, Great Britain.

In addition to the entire "Born In The U.S.A." album being played, Bruce broke out "Higher and Higher" a 1967 hit by Jackie Wilson that the E Street Band use to play in 1977 and "Save the Last Dance for Me" a song he played one time on the "Magic" Tour.
Also Vini Lopez, the original drummer for the E Street Band, played on "Spirit In the Night."

Gigs began at 8:24 p.m.

1. The Price You Play (tour premiere)
2. Wrecking Ball
3. Out in the Street
4. Hungry Heart (w/ crowd surfing)
5. Working on a Dream
6. Born in the USA
7. Cover Me
8. Darlington County
9. Working on the Highway
10. Downbound Train
11. I’m on Fire
12. No Surrender
13. Bobby Jean
14. I’m Goin’ Down
15. Glory Days
16. Dancing in the Dark (Bruce's mother, Adele, dances with him onstage).
17. My Hometown
18. The Promised Land
19. The River
20. Long Walk Home
21. The Rising
22. Born to Run
23. Higher and Higher (request)

24. Spirit in the Night (with Vine “Maddog” Lopez on drums).
25. Loose Ends (request)
26. Kitty’s Back
27. American Land
28. Save The Last Dance for Me (tour premiere)
29. Waiting on a Sunny Day
30. Thunder Road
31. Rocky Theme (on trumpet) into Rosalita

Show over at: 11:44 p.m.

If you were at the show, please post your thoughts. On paper, this looks like it may be the show of the tour.

Next show: Sunday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The entire "Born to Run" album will be played.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Plays last gig at Giants Stadium to Bruce Springsteen

The album highlighting the that shot him to superstardom, Bruce Springsteen has rocked Giants Stadium in New Jersey for the last time.
Friday night's gig which drew nearly 60,000 people and lasted for more than three hours was the last concert at the venue in East Rutherford. It will soon be demantled to create parking for a new stadium.
The show was the fifth that The Boss and the E Street Band had performed there since September 30. Album sets all featured. And like previous gigs, the final concert opened with a new song called 'Wrecking Ball'.
During the gig, Springsteen and his bandmates played the Born in the USA album from front to back. Overall, they performed 31 songs including seven encores and closed the night with 'Jersey Girl'.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Giants Stadium to Bruce Springsteen

Giants Stadium has life left only a few months, and unhappy, when the concrete bowl sinks into the swamps of the Meadowlands, it will be a demolition of New Jersey's own design. The irony is not lost on Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band, who have been opening every show of their stadium closing run with an aptly named song called "Wrecking Ball." It's a new song, the day of playing off the news, the way good folk songs are supposed to. Call it the Woody Guthrie way. The song fades out with a familiar sounding "whoa ohh" sing along, as Springsteen taunts some metaphysical wrecking ball to just try and smash him and his mighty band off the stage.
The E Street Band showed no signs of fatigue Friday night as it checked off the second show of its five night run at Giants Stadium. The road more or less nonstophas been band for the past three years, and with only one month to go before a touring hiatus of indeterminate length, Springsteen and his band hardly hinted at their exhaustion.
The stadium to honor, Springsteen opted to play a classic album from the E Street Band glory days during each night of their current run. The schedule has him playing Born To Run and Born In The USA twice, with the remaining night, this past Friday, dedicated to a classic of equal weight: the mournful, anthem-stuffed Darkness On The Edge Of Town. Songs from Darkness are often the choicest cuts of any Springsteen show, so the satisfaction of hearing the album blown to bits in its entirety was something of a foregone conclusion.
The only question was whether there were any surprises left to be wrung out of old warhorses like "Badlands," "Adam Raised A Cain," or the life affirming an them of better days to come: "The Promised Land." Surprises or not, however, 40,000 diehards singing every word of that last song in drunken unison is one of the finest musical moments mankind can muster.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

playing entire Darkness album Bruce Springsteen rocks Giants Stadium

On a night when you get the full Darkness on the Edge of Town album played, Bruce pulls out a classic Elvis Presley song and the E Street Band is definitely on top of their game, that combined to make for one pretty damnnice gig at Giants Stadium on Friday. Hearing Darkness from start to finish made it a classic gig of course. This was played much tighter and much better l than at the Count Basie Theatre benefit in May of 2008, the only other time the album was played in it's entirety. A shorter gig timewise than Wednesday (3:14 to 2:50) but both gigs had 29 songs.
Start Time: 8:24 p.m. Again a pretty early start. Roy and Nils came onstage first. They weren't shown coming out from backstage on the big screens as they were at Wednesday's show. Bruce came up on the side stage with Clarence, walked him to his spot, gave the Big Man a little kiss and headed to the center mic. "Glad you came out to help us tear down this old girl," Bruce said. 1. Wrecking Ball I like this song. It's powerful and I like that it's a New Jersey theme. song. Again trumpet player Curt Ramm played on this. The stadium lights stayed on for the entire song. The lyrics were not put up on the big screens tonight as they were at Wednesday's show.
2. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out "Jersey! Let them hear you in New York City!" Bruced yelled out. The words "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" were shown on a fast crawl on the big screens. They did this at some shows earlier this tour. Bruce played to the far sides of the stage and when he got to the part "The Big Man joined the band" he pointed up to Clarence. Always fun. Well done tonight.
3. No Surrender A song I like but have tired of lately because Bruce does play it a lot. But tonight it actually looked to work well in this spot. A real rocking version. The big screen behind the stage showed an old record album collection, some guitars, some saxophones and then sold old photos of Bruce and the band including the photo of the band that's on the back cover of "The Wild, the Innocent and The E Street Shuffle."
4. Outlaw Pete A staple on this tour in an early slot. Again Western scenes were shown on the big screens. The "Can You Hear Me?" part works well in the big stadium.
5. Hungry Heart looks to be back in the setlist all the time now. Bruce had the fans sing the first verse as usual. Once again he ran into the back of the pit and jumped up and shook hands with fans and slapped high fives with many of them. He told the band to keep playing after he finally got back onstage and collapsed on his back, I think he may have wanted a few seconds to catch his breath after running around the entire pit like that. Pretty amazing. "Sounds good!" he said as the song was finishing. 6. Working on a Dream "Good evening New Jersey. So glad to be here at Giants Stadium tonight," Bruce said. "So glad to be back home. the E Street Band has been touring, touring, touring, touring... and practicing, practicing, practiing, practicing just for tonight." It was time to start the Darkness portion of the gig. "For Giants Stadium we tried to think of something particular we could do. The other night we did 'Born To Run,' tomorrow 'Born In the U.S.A.' and tonight 'Darkness.' Bruce said. "This was an important record for us. We had one hit and then three years off due to some trouble and hard times. "This album has been the body of our sets for the past 30 years."
7. Badlands Big screens showed a cloudy sky. Great as always. "Is there anybody alive out there tonight?" Bruce yelled out. 8. Adam Raised a Cain A real hot and smokin' version. Great guitar work by Bruce. "That was worth the price of admission," a friend send to me when the song finished.
9. Something in the Night Hearing these first three in order, brought me back to my senior year of high school when I first bought this album and listened to it over and over. 10. Candy's Room Hasn't been played enough this tour and any time it's played, is a good part of the show.
11. Racing in the Street Okay, I have to admit it. For the second straight gig I got tears in my eyes. It was "Meeting Across the River" on Wednesday. Tonight it was "Racing." Maybe the best version I've ever heard of this song and I first saw this played live in 1978. Just a perfect performance. The crowd was into it, Roy's piano playing was as brilliant as ever and the acoustics were awesome. One of those moments when for those few minutes everything seems perfect in the world. The ending musical part of the song just kept getting stronger and stronger. The woman next to me said "It's gorgeous." In my notebook I wrote: "Incredible! Wow!" Anyone who was at the gig will be talking about this version for years. The highlight of the night.
12. The Promised Land Nice to hear this in a different spot in the setlist.
13. Factory Not sure if this is anyone's favorite song, but since it's not played that much, it was good to hear.
14. Streets of Fire A classic that is not played enough. Sounded great. Nice guitar work by Bruce.
15. Prove It All Night A hot, hot version. Incredible Nils guitar solo (think Youngstown, Ghost of Tom Joad etc.) At one point Nils was holding up his guitar with one hand and still playing it with the other hand. Another highlight.
16. Darkness on the Edge of Town Just like on the album, the final song. Sort of sums it all up.
At the end Bruce brought Steve, Max, Garry, Roy and Clarence to the front of the stage for a bow. "These are the guys who made the record. And Phantom Dan Federici" A very touching moment.
17. Waitin' on a Sunny Day Bruce made a long toss of the guitar and tech Kevin Buell may have made his best catch ever. The guitar sailed far to the side on a long toss and Kevin had to actually hustle to catch it. When he did, even Bruce stopped and clapped for him. "The wind took it!" Bruce joked about his bad throw. We have seen Bruce do a lot of crazy things, tonight was pretty crazy. He actually jumped into the side seats between sections 108 and 109 (Off of Steve's side of the stage) and got into the front rows. At first the crowd was singing along and Bruce said "that's terrible!" Then he found a young girl to sing a long with him.
Raise Your Hand Instrumental (Collecting Signs) The handwritten setlist had Bruce doing the sign portion to start the encores but he changed his mind and decided to do it here. He was telling Steve to get his guitar. Bruce found one sign that read: "The Boss is in N.J." and he put it by his front microphone stand.
18. I'm Goin' Down (sign request) Bruce didn't show the sign at first and just started playing. I like this song, but some of us were hoping for something else since he's going to play it on Saturday. At one time it was a long lost song but it seems to be played a good amount now. It's always fun to hear though.
19. Be True (sign request) Always great to hear this B-side. Not played enough. One of the few times it's been played this tour. At the end of it, Bruce started to sing: "The warden threw a party in the county jail." and the next song was:
20. Jailhouse Rock (sign request, tour premiere) So cool. Bruce Springsteen singing an Elvis Presley classic. I'll have to check but I believe it's the first time the song has ever been played by Bruce and the E Street Band. He did play it at a Rainforest benefit gig at Carnegie Hall on April 12, 1995. The crowd was so into it. Nils had a nice guitar solo. Fun.
21. Thunder Road To hear 55,000 people sing along on the "Show a little faith, there's magic in the nightYou ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright" part is just magical. 22. Long Walk Home Yea! Lonesome Day was not played! Yeah!!!!! First time it's been out of the setlist for a long time. I'll have to check for exactly when. "Last to Die" was written in this spot on the setlist. Very nice to hear Long Walk Home. First time it's been played since the first Asbury Park rehearsal show on March 23. Steven sang some of it toward the end, just like he did on the Magic Tour.
23. The Rising Crowd got into the song. It started to rain just as the song was finishing up.
24. Born to Run Jay Weinberg came out to play drums. House lights turned on. Crowd goes nuts.
Encores:25. Cadillac Ranch Bruce saw a sign earlier and asked the person in the pit to hold it up. Bruce sang "Driving through the Ho-Ho-Kus night." 26. Bobby Jean Not a favorite of mine but I haven't heard it too much lately, so it even sounded good tonight.
27. American Land Bruce brought out some members of the Sessions band to play on this: Larry Eagle, Ed Manion, Curt Ramm and Art Baron. If you add Curtis King, Cindy Mizelle, Charlie Giordano and Soozie Tyrell, you had eight members of the Seeger Sessions Band onstage. Fun moment when Bruce was introducing the band. He introduced Clarence as the "Saxaphone author!" and Clarence held up a copy of his new book. Bruce then said "the biggest man on the New Jersey Turnpike!" Bruce then brought over a copy of the book to Clarence and had him autograph it for him. Bruce then took the signed book, had a big smile on his face, and put it down on the side of Max's drum.
28. Dancing in the Dark Fun as usual, Bruce did not bring anyone up to dance with him tonight.
29. Rosalita "We got one more for you. Sending this out to Patti" Steve then pointed out a sign to Bruce that read: "Eli Manning called. He wants Rosalita!" Nice to hear but "Kitty's Back" was on the hand-written setlist. Funny moment: The past two gigs have had a roaming hand-held camera in the pit. Tonight the cameraman was singing along very loudly to Rosalita. He was having a good time! Steven was splashing Bruce with a wet spongue and at one point, Bruce's guitar string broke and Kevin was right up there quickly with another guitard. Bruce handed the bad guitar to his with his right hand and grabbed the good guitar with his left. "Thank you Jersey! We love you! Look you tomorrow night" Bruce said as he left the stage. Gig over at 11:14 p.m. Clocked in at two hours and 50 minutes, much shorter than Wednesday's 3:14 but the same amount of songs were played.
Notes: A bit of steady rain started as the Rising was finished and it was raining for most of the end of the gig. No PSA tonight, not even a mention for the foodbanks either, but they were there collecting money which is always nice to look. Neither "Johnny 99" or "Seeds" in the setlist tonight. Likely one of the rare times they haven't been played this tour, I'd look it up but it's almost 3 a.m. and I'm too tired. No Patti Scialfa tonight, Bruce did say she would be there tonight, but she wasn't. I think he said we'll look her on Saturday. "Wrecking Ball" was soundchecked several times as was "Long Walk Home" and "Last to Die." Spotted in the pit: NBC News anchorman Brian Williams. Weather wasn't too bad. In the pit it was pretty warm for most of the gig, people were even saying it was a bit too warm since most had jackets etc.