Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Concert Review: 4/25/16, Barclays Center, Brooklyn

Well, I finally made it.  First, OB went to a show in Newark.  Then, my mother saw him in Los Angeles.  But, on the final night of the American tour, I was able to see the man myself.  I have to admit, it was looking a little bleak there for a while, but I have to thank my mom for securing a ticket to me so I could see Bruce one more time.  With musicians dropping like flies these days, it is important to see the acts you love while you still can.

What can I say that hasn't already been said at this point?  Every time I go into these shows, I'm expecting "the bad one", the one where we can see the signs of aging and the dip in quality.  You might call this thinking pessimistic, but honestly: how long can a 66-year-old keep performing at such a high level?  And yet, here I am, about to write yet another glowing review of a Springsteen concert.

While it wasn't Bruce's first time in Brooklyn, it seems that many people in the crowd were first-timers at a Springsteen concert.  They had a ton of awkward energy, from shouting during Bruce's speeches (Bruce: "The River....was an album....." Drunk Guy: "That FUCKIN' rocked!"), to forming a conga line during "Dancing in the Dark".  There were also many rookie mistakes, as beer was spilled all over my aunt, one girl was drunkenly escorted out before The River was completed, and it looked like it might be the first crowd to drop Bruce during his "Hungry Heart" crowd surf.  Give it time, and I'm sure Brooklyn will build up its alcohol tolerance and upper arm strength.

As for the concert itself, I have to say, despite my slight skepticism for seeing The River performed live, Bruce made it feel like an entirely unique experience.  Slower songs like "Independence Day", "I Wanna Marry You" and "Drive All Night" were given longer introductions and unique live additions, allowing the songs to slowly wash over you.  On the other end of the spectrum, Bruce was able to get the audience going for bar-room bouncers like "I'm a Rocker" and "Ramrod", making the 20,000 seat stadium feel like an Asbury juke joint.

After The River, Bruce treated the audience to rarities, with three songs not on Bruce's formal studio albums ("Loose Ends", "Trapped", and "My Love Will Not Let You Down").  As my first introduction to Bruce was Live in New York City, it was especially sentimental to hear "My Love Will Not Let You Down".  A young girl was brought on to sing about half of "Blinded by the Light", and Springsteen added additional covers of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" and Prince's "Purple Rain" (which set the internet abuzz after Saturday's performance).

The audience began to leave during "Shout", assuming it was the end of the night.  However, as "Shout" ended, Bruce reached back for another guitar, and, bam, "Bobby Jean" was closing the night.  By my count, this was the tenth official Springsteen concert I've seen (not counting a performance for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), and it was just as special as the rest.  Given that it took so long to get tickets, I tried convincing myself I wasn't missing much, or that I'll wait for the next tour.  But, it was yet another fantastic evening, and I cannot wait for the next tour.

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