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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
Bruce Springsteen fans from Asbury Park and beyond blog about The Boss
FIRST PERSON: Springsteen delivers the goods in Louisville
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About this blog
The writers of this blog are not music critics, and they don't consider a second (or third, fourth or fifth) mortgage to be a perfectly reasonable course of action to pay for front-row tickets, but despite being a whole lot more middle aged than ...
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Bruce Springsteen
The writers of this blog are not music critics, and they don't consider a second (or third, fourth or fifth) mortgage to be a perfectly reasonable course of action to pay for front-row tickets, but despite being a whole lot more middle aged than they were when they first put \x34Born in the U.S.A.\x34 or \x34The River\x34 down on the turntable, still feels like Bruce has something -- OK, a lot of things -- to say about our country and the way we live our lives, things that not a lot of other artists are saying. And whether he's talking about the knife that can cut this pain from your heart, the house that's waiting for you to walk in or what that flag flying over the courthouse means, he's nailing down feelings that are so universal that they can raise your spirits and break your heart at the same time. Plus, let¹s face it, the man rocks.
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Bruce Springsteen with part of the horn section

photo / Anne Haines



Not an especially long show (for Springsteen, that is – most bands’ fans would keel over in amazement to get three hours and change), not an especially rarity-laden setlist, no special guests – but last night’s show in Louisville just worked. The setlist [which you can find here] covered all the bases from break-your-heart-and-heal-it-again emotion (My City of Ruins) to flat-out rollicking fun (Open All Night), Bruce’s voice was in fine form despite a very busy week, and the band played the only way they seem to know how to do at this point – like the world’s best rock & roll band at the absolute top of their game. This tour continues to be so full of heart & spirit, and given Hurricane Sandy’s recent devastation, last night felt to me like a particular heartfelt ministry.

Just a few highlights:

Bruce greeted Louisville (a little ways into the show) by quoting local native Muhammad Ali: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” And as he departed the stage at the very end, after ushering all the band members off with various hugs, kisses, fist bumps, etc., he turned to the audience, blew a kiss, then struck a boxer’s pose and feinted a few jabs. Couldn’t hear him, but I’m pretty sure he said it again – “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” In this corner…!

I’d actually been a little skeptical about “Shackled & Drawn” as an opener, until Louisville. When you’re there in person, it works beautifully, with Bruce chanting and urging the audience to join in – the audience gets involved right away, even before the stage lights come up.



“Hungry Heart” came in early and got the crowd-surfing out of the way. Fellow Blogness correspondent Leann and I (along with a few friends) got lucky in the lottery and were right in the center of the pit, and Bruce surfed right over us. A really fun experience (though intense – Bruce apparently creates the approximate gravitational force of a minor planet, pulling every body with any kind of mass towards him, and to say there was a bit of jostling in the pit as he sailed past would be an understatement), and a first for me!

“Wrecking Ball” has been changed up just a bit. “My home’s on the Jersey Shore” [long pause while the audience roared supportively] “yeah we’re gonna fight that f**kin’ hurricane.” Given the occasion, it was a good change from the humorous line about mosquitoes.

“My City of Ruins” was incredibly intense. I expected it to have taken on new meaning, but was surprised by just how much it affected me – I was in tears.

“Streets of Philadelphia” was dedicated to someone Bruce had met before the show. Not a song I would have expected in a million years, and I found it absolutely heart-wrenchingly beautiful. It transitioned directly into a ferocious “Atlantic City” that practically lifted the roof off the KFC Yum! Center (look, I’m sorry, I didn’t name the thing), and from that into “Because the Night” followed by “She’s the One.” A fantastic four-pack that left me breathless.

The first sign request of the evening came from a young man celebrating his 20th birthday, who wanted to hear “Growin’ Up.” The sign asked for a story as well, which he didn’t get, but I think he may have been OK with that. At the point in the song where Bruce used to go into some wild tale or other, he found the birthday boy in the crowd, noted that “I was your age when I wrote this song,” and called him up onstage to sing the rest of the song with him. I’m not sure I have ever seen a more ecstatic human being – leaping up and down with the biggest smile on his face – and when it came time to sing, by golly if the kid didn’t know every single word! You never heard “I was the cosmic kid!” screamed with such total fervor. Bruce seemed to love it, and said something about being able to power the next five shows with all that energy. Most of the band had big grins on their faces as well.

That energy carried through to the next song, also a sign request – a rollicking “Open All Night” featuring the horns (about whom I cannot say enough good things; they were just fantastic all night) and impressive rapid-fire lyric delivery from Bruce. You can tell that the horns have, by this point in the tour, become solidly integrated with the band. They are comfortable and loose – and this song fell apart a bit in the middle in that “we were having too much fun to get it perfect” kind of way, prompting Bruce to proclaim “The E Street Band’s been f**kin’ up for forty years!” (followed by a statement to the effect of “and now we know how to recover from it!” which led back into the song,  back on track). This was just way too much fun for any normal humans to be having. An absolute blast.

Musically, the rest of the show delivered about what you expect it to. “The River” was, as it always is, spine-tinglingly gorgeous. I was pleased to get both “Land of Hope and Dreams” and “Rocky Ground,” which are favorites of mine and carry the message of this show and this tour so beautifully.

“Rosalita” was the final sign request of the night – well, not quite; the request didn’t come via sign but via an item of ladies’ lingerie, which I’d noticed Bruce collecting when he was on the back-of-pit platform during “Darlington County.” Yes, someone put their “Rosie” request on some fancy undies. The guy standing behind me had also brought a “Rosie” sign, which he’d enthusiastically held up as “Born to Run” ended, knowing that if if it was going to get played that would be the spot; he’d never gotten the song after quite a few shows, and when it started, he was leaping up and down with so much pure glee. Sometimes, some of the highlights of a show don’t even happen onstage, and I just love watching the joy on people’s faces as t hey experience a great performance of a song they really love.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable show filled with heart, spirit, and plenty of sheer fun.



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