Monday, December 6, 2010

Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band - July 15, 2003

Show 1 of 6

This was opening night of the North American leg of The Rising Tour. I had amazing seats, attended the show with family, and would see one hell of a performance from Bruce and the band. Opening night set the bar very high for the remaining five concerts that I would attend.

My first Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band concert at Giants Stadium was also the first time I had seen the band live in over three years. In late 2002, Bruce and the band held a marathon city tour and only scheduled one night in New Jersey (two if you count the rehearsal night, but that was special invitation only). Needless to say that night sold out so fast the ticketing system crashed. There would be no Springsteen concert for me.

Luckily, The Rising tour was one that would last a long time. In the summer of 2003, Bruce made it up to his Jersey fans by performing an unprecedented 10 shows at Giants Stadium. All of these concerts would sell out, but due to the abundance of tickets, no shows were sold out to me. I attended opening night with my Uncle Steve, Aunt Lorna, my cousin Jane, her husband Greg, and my mother. Mom was my date for that concert, and to this day, I am so glad that I took her to see Bruce at Giants Stadium.

We got to the stadium, found our seats, and settled in. I couldn’t believe how good the seats were and how great the stage looked from where we were sitting. Our tickets were for the lower tier, section 118, with a clear line of vision to the stage. These wouldn’t be the best seats I sat in for the run (those would come on Friday night), but they were pretty close. 4 of the 6 nights found me upstairs in the nosebleeds, but for opening night, I was sitting in style.

We waited and waited, wondering exactly when the band was going to take the stage. The tickets listed 7:30, and while we knew the concert wasn’t going to start at that time, I thought that 8:10 was a safe guess. I was wrong. At 8:25, Bruce sauntered onto the stage with an acoustic guitar and performed a stripped down solo rendition of Born in The USA. It was an interesting way to open the night.

From there, the band came onstage and the rock and roll kicked in. New songs The Rising and Lonesome Day were performed prior to the band ripping into a hard rocking version of The Promised Land. This was followed by an incredible My Love Will Not Let You Down from Tracks, and the crowd pleasing Darkness On The Edge Of Town. All of these songs were played before Bruce even addressed the audience.

With a rousing “Good evening New Jersey!” Bruce finally did address the crowd. He talked about how the band had been around the world and now it was good to be back home. Even though he no longer makes his home in New Jersey (having moved to California in the 90s) the crowd ate it up. A couple of slow songs from the new album were next, and then the E-Street Band really cut loose with a true classic.

Sherry Darling was pulled out and this was the only time I’ve ever seen this song performed live. I was so glad to be there on opening night for it. Sherry Darling is one of those timeless Springsteen songs that you just can’t help but tap your feet to. It’s a feel good song for sure and it felt good to hear it.

Other highlights of the night included an extra long, band introducing version of Mary’s Place, a beautiful The River, and a show stopping Into The Fire. As this was the first time I was hearing The Rising songs performed live, I paid special attention to them, and Into The Fire was without a doubt my favorite new song of the night. A haunting, dark, poetic song, Bruce and the band did it justice in the live setting.

A cover song showed up in the encore, but in typical Springsteen fashion, it was a cool cover song. It was also a song that I had never heard before anywhere. Seven Nights To Rock was a cover of a very stylish, bar band song that the E-Street Band strengthened up and delivered with passion. Everyone in the stadium was in awe and fanatics were frantically scratching their heads to figure out what song Bruce was performing. How could he have pulled out one that they did not know, or know about? This rockabilly bar song was a real crowd pleaser and I enjoyed every second of it.

The big hits were yet to come. After My City Of Ruins and Land of Hopes And Dreams kicked off the second encore, Bruce pulled out his biggest gun of the night. The opening chords to Rosalita were picked on the guitar and Giants Stadium erupted with a roar so loud it hurt. The epic, rags to riches, get your girl, Springsteen story in a song is beloved by Springsteen fans worldwide, but none more than in the Garden State. It was a moment of pure enjoyment for us all.

After Rosalita, I was sure that Springsteen was done. What did he have left to pull out? They played Rosalita, they played two encores, it was a wrap. I was wrong. Bruce and the band decided that we needed to hear one more. They pulled out Dancing In The Dark and did a fine rocking version of it. I was very impressed.

That ended the night, and seeing as how it was near midnight on a work evening, I was glad to be heading home. I would hurt the next day, and I would hurt for days to come (due to the number of concerts I attended), but it was worth it. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what the hell I did at work that week (I don’t even work for that company anymore) but I can still tell you what the stadium smelled like moments before Bruce took the stage. That is the power of music. That is the power of concerts. That is why I attend and will continue to attend. That is why I love concerts.

Born In The USA (Acoustic)
The Rising
Lonesome Day
The Promised Land
My Love Will Not Let You Down
Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Empty Sky
You’re Missing
Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
Sherry Darling
Worlds Apart
Out In The Street
Mary’s Place
The River
Into The Fire
No Surrender
Bobby Jean
Born To Run
Seven Nights To Rock
2nd Encore
My City Of Ruins
Land Of Hopes And Dreams
Dancing In The Dark

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

just picked up Springsteen's 'The Promise' box set companion book, amazing original photos and stories frm the Darkness tour. Limited Edition