We’ve mentioned before that our respective mothers were hugely instrumental in establishing our Bruce Springsteen fandom for all three of us Legends of Springsteen editors. As such, we are honored to share our first guest post by Mama Toohey. Read on for a stream of conscious review of her experience seeing Bruce Springsteen at Nashville on April 17.
We have been to at least 20 Bruce concerts, but last night's concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena was the best of the 21st century.
First, let's meet the sold-out, multi0generational crowd, singing and dancing in the dark...with our favorite being our friend from New York who played the air guitar and was my partner as we challenged the usher who kept shooing us back out of the aisle (ahem fire regulations).
Opening: the heart starts pounding with Everett Bradley's manic percussion and stage traveling performance of “High Hopes”. “Badlands” followed - one of my top ten all time favorites and “No Surrender” kept the Bruce hysteria going.
What made this concert so great was that Bruce was on high energy from the first note to the closing song (an acoustic version of “Thunder Road”). Half of the concert Bruce performed off the stage, among the people of 'Bruce Nation'.
The band members were spotlighted with The Brass 5 doing their thing with “Johnny 99”. And Jake Clemons has come into his own. Tom Morello's guitar wizardry was amazing on “Ghost of Tom Joad”. (Question: Was he really playing the guitar with his elbows?) Nils Lofgren owned the stage with his moves, spins and hops. Max's drum solo on “Shout” could make a Bruce fan cry with joy.
Other memorable moments include: a cover of “Satisfaction” (Mick would approve); a rousing version of "Downbound Train"; a "Stump The E Street Band" which led to “Burning Love”; and the choreography of “Shackled and Drawn” with all members doing their dancing thing.
The audience had numerous signs, including one that read, "I drove 400 miles to ask you one question"... Bruce feigned nervousness and responded, "Uh oh... it looks like we are opening Pandora's Box." The question was: "CAN YOU FEEL THE SPIRIT??????" Bruce launched into “Spirit of the Night” and the crowd erupted.
Overall, it was three hours and ten minutes of pure joy! All the hits were played: ”Born to Run”, “Hungry Heart”, “Dancing in the Dark” and...drum roll… “10th Avenue Freeze Out”.
A couple of closing thoughts from your baby boomer guest scribes:
- Bruce makes 64 look damn good!
- Congrats to all the members of the E Street Band for their induction into the Hall of Fame
- And the eternal question that haunts us at overtime sports events and great concerts: Who are these people who leave early? Who leaves during “Born to Run”. Are they crazy? Did they just get a call that their house is on fire? Or are they from another planet and just got called home?