If you would have told me last year that in 2012, I would see Bruce Springsteen live in concert not once, but twice, I would have laughed in your face.
Well, there I was on Sunday night, in a fully packed Copps Coliseum waiting for The Boss to take the stage wondering just how the hell it came to this.
Curiosity is a son of a bitch and it’s what led me to go see Springsteen for the first time in April. That show was good… real good and as humans, we are generally conditioned to repeat experiences that are good so when the opportunity to see him again came up, I couldn’t resist.
Three hours later, I was completely glad I did. I have now spent six hours with The Boss this year and let me tell you, he’s an expert at putting on excellent concerts. If throwing concerts was a video game, Bruce Springsteen would be rated 95 or something. He’s got so much experience and pulls out all the moves to make a show feel special. What moves you say? I’m glad you asked.
Here are the top ten moves of Bruce Spingsteen, in no particular order:
Playing a really really long time
Really, who else plays three hours every night? You know you are getting your money’s worth with the Boss. He gives it up for three straight hours without a break. I don’t even work an hour without a break most of the time.
Pulling a girl from the crowd to sing part of a song.
During the song Waiting on a Sunny Day, it appears Bruce always pulls a cute little girl from the crowd to sing part of the chorus. The girl always sings it perfectly and everyone feels warm and tender inside. Great moment. By the way, I’ll bet money that all parents who have a pit ticket for their child have been training that kid for weeks, if not months, to nail that part. Book it.
Variety of set list
Most bands seem to have a consistent set list for their shows. I know this because I obsess over setlist.fm before a show. Bruce doesn’t. Each time is different, you never know what you’ll get. For example, this show featured Terry’s Song, a track that my buddy hadn’t ever seen live before and he’s seen Springsteen like 20 times. A downside of this is that there ARE so many songs such that I still haven’t heard Glory Days despite seeing six hours of the Boss.
The Boss has phenomenal lighting for the show, perfectly tailored to every moment. There’s the dark single spotlight moment for the tender moments and then there’s “the turn every bloody light on in the arena on so you realize the scope of the show” moment when he plays something epic like Badlands. Light is often an enemy for bands it seems but the veterans know how to use it.
Signs get rewarded
It was probably part of their set list anyway but throughout the set, Bruce would pull signs from the crowd and sing the song that was on it. Effort = reward. Nice touch and a good life lesson for the kids.
Everyone loves Bruce and Bruce lets them crowd surf him from one part of the floor to another. Those people’s nights were made, and really, it just looks cool.
Good stage coverage
The man and his band just have very good awareness on stage and try to get all people from all sides of the arena involved. It’s nice to see someone make a concerted effort to get the whole arena involved. If Bruce Springsteen was a cornerback in the NFL, he would be Champ Bailey or a in his prime Deion Sanders. That’s how good his coverage was. Weird reference, I know.
Excellent backing band
The E-Street band are amazing musicians. Even new comer Jake Clemons is amazing and the crowd made sure he felt appreciated. He definitely had big shoes to fill. There’s so many musicians and one of the aspect about Springsteen’s music that I enjoy is that everyone in the band has their time to shine. There are plenty of instrumental solos within the context of a concert that just highlights how good each individual is. Quite the communal band.
Bruce likes to throw his guitar to his roadie. It seems dangerous but never gets old.
Really good songs
It’s hard not to get wrapped up on the music of Springsteen. The man has got some classic tunes. Dancing in the Dark, Badlands, Born to Run, The Rising, Out in the Street …. It’s hard not to come away satisfied. He didn’t even play Thunder Road. It didn’t even matter.
In conclusion, the show was good. I don’t think it could necessarily replace the sheer awe of seeing him the first time, but it’s nice to see a second three hour show still holds up in entertainment value. My advice is simply: see him, the man is 63, he won’t be around forever.
My Love Will Not Let You Down
Out in the Street
We Take Care of Our Own
Death to My Hometown
My City of Ruins
Spirit in the Night
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
Jack of All Trades
I’m Goin’ Down
She’s the One
Because the Night
Working on the Highway
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
Land of Hope and Dreams
I’m a Rocker
Born to Run
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out