Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band - October 2, 2009

The last concert I ever attended at Giants Stadium was Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band. When Bruce and the band announced they were closing out Giants Stadium with an early fall run, I knew that I had to get to at least one of those shows. Finances prevented me from seeing more, as originally, attending all five was an option given careful consideration.

Unfortunately, a month earlier, the company I worked for closed their doors and I suddenly found myself unemployed along with all of my colleagues. Fortunately for me, I read great personal finance websites and was prepared with an emergency fund. I also knew unemployment would be assisting me, so I did not freak out too much.

However, spending another $100 on a concert, let alone $400 for four more shows, could not be justified. I even contemplated selling my tickets to the show I did attend. That would put an extra $200 back in my pocket. In the end, after talking with my wise wife, I decided to keep the tickets and enjoy myself. It was a sunk cost anyway, meaning the money was already spent.

Am I ever glad that I decided to see that show! Hands down, it was one of the best (if not the best) Springsteen concert ever attended. (And one day, after I’ve posted all of my reviews of the 15 times I’ve seen him in concert, they will be ranked). It was an amazing Friday night in New Jersey, and the best part was that for 3 hours, there were no worries. I was submerged in the power of rock and roll and enjoyed every second of the magic and the music of Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band.

Cathy and I were galvanized as we entered the stadium. Prior to coming to Giants Stadium, Springsteen had announced that the band would be playing 3 albums in their entirety during this historic closing: Born To Run, Born In The USA, and Darkness On The Edge Of Town. We were getting Darkness which made me quiver with anticipation and glee. Cathy wanted Born In The USA, as she wasn’t as well acquainted with Darkness as I.

The show opened with a roaring crowd and a brand new song written (presumably) for this occasion. Wrecking Ball. What a great song! A typical Springsteen rocker with a catchy chorus and sing along charm, Wrecking Ball was an excellent opener and a hell of a new song.

By the second song of the night, I knew this was going to be one special concert. The band charged into Tenth Avenue Freeze Out and the crowd responded with thunderous applause. We were all happy to hear that one performed. The third song was special for Cathy and I as it has a very deep meaning for us and our relationship. No Surrender found us holding each other and smiling. It’s a promise that we did make to each other, cemented in the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen.

After three more great songs, including an excellent version of Hungry Heart (a song I had not seen performed in a long time), it was time for the main course of the show. Darkness On The Edge Of The Town in its entirety. I got chills when the band started the opening notes of Badlands. I knew by the time they had gotten through the entire album, I would have heard a song that I had never heard live before. I would get some beloved classics, and I would be witnessing Springsteen history.

Badlands was as excellent as ever. It is the only song that I have heard live at every Springsteen show I’ve attended (15 and counting). It never gets old. Adam Raised A Cain was nice. Something In The Night washed over me with a wave of euphoria. One of my favorites on Darkness, it had been a while since I heard it in concert and I was glad to hear it on that night.

Then it was time for one of my all time favorite Springsteen masterpieces, Candy’s Room. The crowd knew it was time too, because they went hysterical when Max started tapping the cymbal with the opening percussion. Powerful and seductive, Candy’s Room was brilliant. A gorgeous Racing In The Street followed and that ended side one.

Side two was up next and the band ripped right into The Promised Land which was as grand as always. What followed was a song that I had never seen live in concert before. While tailgating prior to this show, I had actually heard the band performing it during sound check, which I thought was pretty wild. Factory was performed for the first time in ages. The band was a little nervous, but in typical professional fashion, they nailed it and it sounded brilliant.

The incredible Streets of Fire was next and delivered with power and passion. I’ve always loved this song and The E-Street Band really gave it their all. Prove It All Night and the ever popular Darkness On The Edge Of Town closed out the album performance and the crowd showed their appreciation. History had been made. However, the night of surprises was only beginning.

Perhaps as a warm up for the next night’s show, Springsteen pulled out I’m Goin’ Down and I went nuts. This was another beloved song that I had never heard in concert before. I leapt up and sang every word as loud as I could.

And the surprises still kept coming. The rarely played Be True was played next, followed by an on demand, impromptu performance of Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock which the band did justice to. For a song they pulled out on the spot (thanks to the sign requests), the band was spot on. Springsteen joked about how the song had too many verses, which got a laugh from the crowd.

For the second night of their five night closing run, Springsteen and company were on fire. At the tail end of a long world tour in support of Working On A Dream, they still brought the energy and delivered for the fans. It was a Friday night of fun and celebration in New Jersey.

Filled with surprises, an entire album performance, a brand new song, and some unexpected, rarely played gems, this one of the final concerts ever at Giants Stadium was an amazing experience. And as the last Springsteen concert I’ve ever seen (for now), it was a hell of a way to close out a run.

Wrecking Ball
Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
No Surrender
Outlaw Pete
Hungry Heart
Working On A Dream
Adam Raised A Cain
Something In The Night
Candy’s Room
Racing In The Street
The Promised Land
Streets of Fire
Prove It All Night
Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
Raise Your Hand
I’m Goin Down
Be True
Jailhouse Rock
Thunder Road
Long Walk Home
The Rising
Born To Run
Cadillac Ranch
Bobby Jean
American Land
Dancing In The Dark

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