Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band - August 31, 2003

Show 6 of 6

It was the final night of the band’s historic ten-night, sold out run at Giants Stadium in support of The Rising. For their last New Jersey show, Springsteen and the band pulled out all the stops. They played rarities, classics, unexpected crowd pleasers and more. This was one of Bruce’s finest moments in New Jersey and I was a proud member of the audience.

On the final night of the Giants Stadium leg of The Rising tour, Cathy and I spent time tailgating in the parking lot with her co-worker and her co-worker’s husband, drinking and talking Bruce Springsteen. The husband, ironically named Bruce, had attended close to 50 shows at that point. I was impressed as it would only be my 12th Springsteen concert. Bruce had travelled all over to see Springsteen in concert and was a huge fan.

Cathy laughed as it was only her 2nd time seeing Bruce (both of them with me). With excitement surrounding everyone, we finished our drinks, said our goodbyes to Cathy’s friends, and made our way to the seats. We were pretty high up for this concert, but I was just happy to be there. Bring on the band!

Anytime that Bruce Springsteen opens a show with a rare treat like Cynthia, well, you just know that it is going to be a grand night. Such was the case at the end of the summer in 2003.From the opening notes of the opening song, the entire audience knew that this show was going to be special. Cynthia filled the stadium, and as this was the first time I ever heard the song live, I loved every moment of it. It was one of the greatest ways to kick off the night, and shattered my expectations for what type of show we were in for.

The next two songs were standard, and that was to be expected. Two more rare treats were next – Night, which was nice to hear, followed by Lucky Town, which was totally unexpected. I am one of the minority fans that loves the 90s solo Bruce albums. Lucky Town and Human Touch are two strong albums, in my opinion, and anytime Bruce performs them in concert with the E-Street band makes me very happy. 5 songs in and Bruce had already thrown us 2 rarities. We were going to have fun on that night!

A couple more “standards” were played then a rousing rendition of Spirit In The Night, followed by a blistering Because The Night, graced our ears. Springsteen’s guitar was on fire for the performance of that song, and Max was mighty on the drums, keeping perfect time and slapping the skins with a mission. The band was tight, together, and on tempo, performing with ferocity.

After another hard rocking performance of Mary’s Place, which found Bruce Springsteen once again preaching to the crowd about a house of love built by members of the E-Street band (including their individual introductions), things got really heated. Lost In The Flood was trotted out, and the insane live version left jaws hanging open. Just when the crowd thought that Springsteen might think about coasting to the end of the show, he pulled out a rarity from the first album. A song that doesn’t get many live performances, Lost In The Flood was much appreciated, and the crowd roar emphasized that fact.

Oh, but the fun (and the rarities) didn’t end there. The first encore found the E-Street Band delving into their second album with a ten-plus-minute performance of Kitty’s Back. Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt, and Nils Lofgren, all took turns with the solos and Roy Bittan and Danny Federici dueled on the piano and organ respectively. By the time Bruce took the microphone for the chanting of “Kitties back in town!!!” the entire crowd was singing and grooving along. The whole stadium was swinging and jiving.

As with most (if not all) Springsteen concerts, the energy didn’t end there. Glory Days and a show stopping Born To Run were up next and the crowd found a new surge of energy to sing, clap, and dance along. Bruce practically demanded that everyone be standing and jumping in the aisles. The New Jersey fans were more than happy to oblige.

The biggest and best treat, however, came on the very last song of the evening. If Cynthia was an unexpected opener, and Lost In The Flood and Kitty’s Back were deep cut rarities that we never expected to hear, then what did that make the show closer? Bruce pulled out his always fine version of Jersey Girl for the last song at Giants Stadium that year. Hands immediately went up in the air and all the guys grabbed their girls (me included) to sway in time and sing about how we were in love with a Jersey girl. It didn’t even matter that my wife was raised in New York. On that night, she, along with every other female in the audience, was definitely a Jersey girl – stamped with Bruce Springsteen’s approval.

For the final night of an excellent New Jersey Run, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band gave a brilliant performance. No one walked away disappointed. It would have been impossible to.

The Rising
Lonesome Day
Lucky Town
Empty Sky
Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
Spirit In The Night
Because The Night
Two Hearts
No Surrender
Mary’s Place
Lost In The Flood
Into The Fire
The Promised Land
First Encore
Kitty’s Back
Glory Days
Born To Run
Second Encore
My City Of Ruins
Land Of Hope And Dreams
Dancing In The Dark
Jersey Girl

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