Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band - July 24, 2003

Show 4 of 6

My fourth show found Bruce and the band in top form. This concert would compete with July 18th for the best of the 6 that I attended. Packed with power, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band gave a blistering, hot performance, on a cool, dry New Jersey Night.

A dry Thursday evening in July found me sitting in the stands of Giants Stadium for the 4th of 6 Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band performances that I would be attending. I went to my 4th Springsteen show of that Giants Stadium summer run with my ex-wife, Nancy. By the time that concert rolled around, I was pretty well versed in the Bruce Springsteen stadium concerts. I had a good idea of what to expect and what the bulk of the show would contain. That made the small surprises even grander.

Our seats were way up in nosebleed land, not quite as bad as night 2, but still high up and nowhere near as good as show 1 or 3. We waited in anticipation, speculating what song Bruce and the band would open with, what rarities we would hear that night, and what songs we looked forward to the most. We also reminisced about the 1999 arena shows.

The band walked onto the stage with the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly playing over the house PA. That was a fun way to kick off the event. Without saying a word, they took the stage, grabbed their instruments, and kicked into The Promised Land to launch the night. What a spectacular choice for an opener! Just like that, night 4 was off and running.

The setlist was exceptional for that Thursday evening, and the first few songs of the night proved it. The Promised Land gave way to The Rising, which fed into Lonesome Day. The first rarity of the evening came with a brilliant, jaw dropping performance of Streets of Fire. The band sounded amazing and Nils, Bruce, and Steven’s guitar work was exceptional! I was blown away and we were only 4 songs into the set. I knew this was going to be an amazing evening.

My favorite song from Tracks came next (My Love Will Not Let You Down) and we were off and running from there. The blistering setlist never stopped with hit after hit after hit. Empty Sky was the only slow and quiet moment out of the first 13 songs. Bruce and the band were executing at a blistering pace and having an incredible time while doing it. Perhaps it was the weather (the first dry night in 3 shows), or maybe it was the atmosphere, or maybe it’s because cousin Ryo was in the audience – whatever the case, this was a solid performance. I was coming off the stupendous marathon rain concert from July 18th that was going to be hard to top. However, The E-Street Band was up for the task and trying their hardest to give a better performance than that one.

When a very special Meeting Across The River was segued into Jungleland, I got goosebumps up and down my spine. This was a moment in live Springsteen history that I had been waiting years for. To finally see it unfold before my eyes left me speechless and tingly. The band didn’t stop there though. They continued into a stunning rendition of Into The Fire that left the audience slack jawed. How was Springsteen bringing so much energy on that night?

The main set closed out with a fine version of No Surrender, and the audience was left to catch their breath while the band walked offstage. We needed every moment of the break to do so. Springsteen had us sweaty, rocking, and enjoying the fine summer night.
The encores were where things really got intense. The first song of the first encore was none other than the classic 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy). How’s that for a show stopper? It rolled right into a boogie-woogie, piano driven, roadhouse rendition of Ramrod that found the band dancing all over the stage and even walking off to leave Professor Roy Bittain to do a little piano solo of his own. The E-Street Band then waltzed back onstage to finish with fire. But Bruce wasn’t done. Born To Run kicked off and while I thought it would be impossible, the crowd got louder. They had to hear us in New York City by that time.

The evening would finish off with the standard encore songs that were played during that Giants Stadium trip, which were fantastic, but not as powerful as the rare beauties that Springsteen had performed for us that evening. The fourth concert of my series was running a very close race with the third concert for best performance of the group. Springsteen and company brought their all and delivered another amazing performance. It only made me yearn for Saturday night when I would be back for my fifth show of the tour.

The Promised Land
The Rising
Lonesome Day
Streets Of Fire
My Love Will Not Let You Down
Prove It All Night
Empty Sky
Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
Working On The Highway
Worlds Apart
She’s The One
Mary’s Place
Meeting Across The River
Into The Fire
No Surrender
Encore 1
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
Born To Run
My City of Ruins
Encore 2
Land Of Hopes And Dreams
Dancing In The Dark

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