Springsteen, Revisited ...
Our seats sucked (Mom loves Bruce, too; this was her fourth show) but seeing as how the last time we saw him, we were standing about 20 feet from the front of the stage, it all balances out. And my sense of concerts is that it doesn't really matter where you are if you're in the same arena with the performer. Because unless you're standing against the front of the stage, proximity doesn't really mean anything. And if you're not a young Courtney Cox, it's not like Bruce is going to reach down into the audience and pull you up on stage. He sang Dancin' in the Dark last night as part of the encore, right after Born to Run, and kept everyone in a frenzy.
This is the write-up from
October 21 / Chicago, IL / United Center
Notes: Heading into tonight's show, the first of two in Chi-town, a friend of mine (who can't make it for show #2) was concerned about "First Night Syndrome" -- in which the first of a two-night stand gets a straight "model A" setlist, with all the rarities saved for night two. No worries this time. Who knows, Bruce may go completely off the map tomorrow, but Chicago 1 got a nice batch of wild cards. "No Surrender" had only its third tour airing, "Adam Raised a Cain" was the meat in that always-tasty "Reason"/"She's the One" sandwich, and check out the post-"Promised Land" three-pack: "Your Own Worst Enemy" (played tonight for the second time ever), "Backstreets," and "Cadillac Ranch."
Patti was absent tonight, and Bruce dedicated "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" to her: "Patti sends her regards... it's a kid thing, that's all I can tell ya!" The band's other redhead, Soozie Tyrell, came downstage from behind the piano to take Patti's spot, even dueting with Bruce on "Magic."
Introducing "Thundercrack" as his original showstopper, Bruce said that the song "goes all the way back to the Quiet Knight days." The Quiet Knight was a Chicago club that no longer exists -- Springsteen played a five-night stand there, opening for The Persuasions, back in 1973. Sensing that the reference might not mean much to some in the crowd, Bruce added, "that was way back before the Fire."
Reason to Believe
Adam Raised a Cain
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
The Promised Land
Your Own Worst Enemy
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
* * *
Girls in Their Summer Clothes
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
I'm a big Bruce fan, but I'm relatively new to this party. My first Bruce show was in 2002. And while I own a lot of his earlier stuff, I'm not intimately familiar with all of it the way I am with The Rising and Devils and Dust. So there were moments where I wasn't as plugged into the show as some of the life-long fans around me. Which isn't to say I was bored – it's impossible to be bored at a Springsteen show – but the experience on those songs wasn't the same as on songs from the new album or Badlands or No Surrender.
Born in the USA dropped when I was in high school and I remember my friend Jennifer being agog over Bruce and I remember thinking to myself, "What's the big deal?" It's not that I didn't like the songs, but they didn't resonate with me the way they did with her. I lost touch with her shortly after high school but I wonder if she's still a fan and attending the shows. Maybe I'll run into her someday.
So, another Bruce album, another Bruce tour. At the end of the day, the man still looks damn fine in a pair of black Levi's. And he still feeds off the energy of the crowd and puts on a great show. But then, when there's that much energy, how can you not succumb?
I love the view from a stage. I haven't been on one in a while, but last night, I tried to put myself in Bruce's shoes to understand what it must feel like to be on a stage surrounded by 20-some-thousand people, all bellowing your name: "Bruuuuuuuuuuuuce!"
It's more than I can fathom.