Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Springsteen Makes The New Classic

You've read the story, now here's my review of the Springsteen show. It'll appear in the paper Thursday.

By Patrick Ferrucci
Register Entertainment Editor
HARTFORD — A full hour after he was supposed to take the stage at the Hartford Civic Center Tuesday evening, Bruce Springsteen finally emerged to the raucous strains of "Radio Nowhere," the first song on Bruce and The E Street Band's first album in five years, "Magic," which was also released Tuesday.

On the first day of his national tour, Springsteen brought old and new together for a show that so completely bested any of the previous Boss shows this reviewer has ever seen. Unlike many of the tunes of the last Springsteen and E Street disc, "The Rising," tracks from "Magic" sounded great live, blaring from the speakers and shaking the foundation of the arena.

Whether it was somber "Gypsy Rider" or the buoyant "Girls In Their Summer Clothes," the new songs sounded perfectly in place next to classics like the keyboard-driven "She's the One," the bleak "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and the chant-ready "The Promised Land."

The early set highlight had to be a tingle-inducing performance of the classic "Night," with Springsteen and guitarist Stevie Van Zandt nuzzling up to each other and screaming the classic chorus. Both the rollicking "Reason to Believe" and anthemic "The Rising" got the fans out of their seats and dancing, pumping their fists and smiling.

Springsteen and the nine-piece E Street performed on a large, simple stage. There were no huge televisions behind them, no huge lighting setups, no over-the-top pyrotechnics. This was a classic rock 'n' roll show. The fans showed up to see Springsteen and the group, and they delivered a fiery set short on props, large on excitement.

Besides The Boss, the star of the show had to be drummer Max Weinberg, who Springsteen sorely misses when he tours without E Street. Weinberg started the set by pounding away, almost John Bonham-like, on "Radio Nowhere," and he never stopped keeping terrific time and leading the charge.

In the middle of all the fun, Bruce never missed an opportunity to take shots at the Bush Administration, speaking about wire tapping, six years of lies and more. It made the new tunes, especially, more valid and vital.

The show's only down note came when Bruce and wife/guitarist/background singer Patti Scialfa dueted on the title track from "Magic." The atmospheric tune felt disjointed and messy until midway through when the rest of the band entered. But that's getting a bit picky. This was a set for the ages. When the group closed the set with "Badlands," you could tell the fans got their money's worth and were more than OK waiting the hour it took Springsteen to get on stage.

Unlike the long break before the beginning of the set, the band took the shortest encore break I've ever seen, ending "Badlands" and coming back on the stage with seconds to jump into the encore, which began with "Girls In Their Summer Clothes," moved into "Thundercrack" and then climaxed with the classic "Born To Run."

The show ended with the bouncy "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" and the "Seeger Sessions" tune "American Land," which sounded great with E Street. But, you know what? Everything sounded great. I've only been to five Bruce and E Street Band shows now, but this one clearly topped them all. It's fitting it happened on "Bruce Springsteen Day in Connecticut."

1. Radio Nowhere
2. The Ties That Bind
3. Lonesome Day
4. Gypsy Rider
5. Magic
6. Reason to Believe
7. Night
8. She's the One
9. Livin' in the Future
10. The Promised Land
11. Town Called Heartbreak
12. Darkness on the Edge of Town
13. Darlington County
14. Devil's Arcade
15. The Rising
16. Last to Die
17. Long Walk Home
18. Badlands
19. Girls in Their Summer Clothes
20. Thundercrack
21. Born to Run
22. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
23. American Land

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