Tomorrow, August 30, 2016, I will be attending my 20th Bruce Springsteen concert. It will be my third time seeing him at MetLife Stadium and my 11th time seeing him in a stadium setting. As any fan or setlist gazer knows, the last two shows at MetLife Stadium were two of the most epic shows in his storied career. Opening with “New York City Serenade” and closing with “Jersey Girl” on both nights is super rare and ultra special. I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen “New York City Serenade” performed live, but I would love to see it again. Hopefully he will make it three for three by opening with that song on the final night at MetLife Stadium.
I’ve already emotionally abused myself for not going to the other two shows at MetLife Stadium. I wanted to go, but figured that one concert would be enough. After seeing the setlists for the first two nights, I just got angry with myself. “I should have done all three,” I constantly repeated in my head. It was a 3 hour, 52 minute performance on night one, and a 3 hour, 58 minute performance on night 2. And I missed them both. What was I thinking? “Backstreets,” “Lost In The Flood,” “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (which I’ve NEVER seen live), “Something In The Night,” Spirit In The Night,” and “No Surrender” all performed and missed out on. A special guest appearance by Tom Morello, missed out on. An onstage wedding proposal, missed out on. All because I told myself one show was enough.
But I do have that one show coming up tomorrow night. And I am hopeful that it will be even better than the first two nights. And knowing Bruce performances as well as I do, it’s not out of the range of possibilities that he performs for 4 hours or more on Tuesday night. But as many women will tell you, length isn’t everything; it’s the performance itself that matters. And with that in mind, as much as I want the longest show ever performed in the USA, I also want the best show ever performed in the USA. I want to see super rarities and cuts so deep that even I have to scratch my head and go “what song is this?” I want to rock so hard that I literally hurt the next morning and need four ibuprofen and three cups of coffee just to get out of bed. And I know that Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band can deliver.
With that in mind, here are some of the rare songs that I would like to see performed live tomorrow night:
Stray Bullet (from The River Boxset)
For a tour supporting The River Boxset I am surprised that more songs from that box set haven’t been performed. Other than “Meet Me In The City,” none of the previously unreleased material was performed live. I’m still not sure how that is possible. Springsteen could make up for that on Tuesday with a rousing rendition of “Stray Bullet.” It is the best outtake on The River Boxset and it is a hauntingly beautiful song that I would love to hear in concert.
Incident On 57th Street (from The Wild, The Innocent, and The E-Street Shuffle)
Always amazing to see in concert, Springsteen performed this one in Europe to open a show. It was just him, the piano, and this song. I wouldn’t mind seeing a reenactment of that. If the band chooses not to open with “New York City Serenade,” this would be an excellent backup choice
Hunter Of Invisible Game (from High Hopes)
This is a terrific song from an underrated album that I have been listening to a lot more lately. I didn’t find High Hopes to be spectacular when it first came out and I ranked it very low on the overall Springsteen album ranking. Yet over the last two weeks, I’ve listened to High Hopes quite a bit, and I must say that I truly enjoy it. One of the hidden gems on that record is “Hunter Of Invisible Game”. It is a beautiful song that has gotten almost no attention since it was released. That’s a real shame
All Or Nothing At All (from Human Touch)
Springsteen rarely plays songs from Human Touch or Lucky Town and when he does, it is almost always one of the title songs. “All Or Nothing At All” is a gem of a song that has almost never been played live. I had the joy of seeing a rare performance of the song at my first ever Bruce Springsteen concert back in 1992 and it was amazing. “All Or Nothing At All” is a powerful song that packs a mean punch. It’s a rocker that would get the crowd moving whether they know it or not. It may have a lot of people pulling out their phones to see what song it was, but it would be an amazing moment to hear this song live again. And it would breathe some much needed life into the Human Touch/Lucky Town albums.
Magic (from Magic)
“Magic” was played almost every night on the Magic tour. Then it was put up on the shelf and as far as I know it was never brought out again. I am not certain how this song would go over in a stadium setting, but Springsteen made “Empty Sky” work in a stadium, so anything is possible. “Magic” is one of the best songs Bruce has written in the last ten years. And while it is politically filled, it is still a brilliant song. And yes, I want to see this song for selfish reasons. I missed the Magic tour, thus I’ve never seen this song performed live. And I want to.
Of course there are other songs that would make the night super special as well. “Trapped,” “Cynthia,” “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City,” “Save My Love,” and “Born In The USA” are all rare enough songs that have a realistic chance of being performed. And any of them would make night three at MetLife Stadium a real treat. Whatever happens, I know the night will be special, because, let’s face it, any Springsteen concert is. If you’re heading out to the show enjoy it! And even if you’re not, be sure to check back here for my full concert review. I’ll try to have it up by next weekend.