Friday, August 26, 2016

Concert Review: 8/25/16, Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford



So the summer of 2016, I had really only cared about one concert...and for once it wasn't Bruce!  I had been so obsessed about the Guns N' Roses reunion that I kinda forgot that Bruce was coming back to Metlife Stadium this summer.  Shame on me.  Maybe it was because I had already been to the Prudential Center show, and the Barclays Center with Rory, but I just didn't have the same enthusiasm that I usually did in the weeks leading up to this show.  Which to say my excitement was at like an 8 or a 9 instead of the usual 10.  Like I said, shame on me.  And it's almost as if Bruce knew that he was kind of flying in under the radar and wanted to pull out all the stops to really show his fans why he was, is, and always will be the greatest live musician you can possibly see.

I went to this concert with my wonderful girlfriend, whom I had gotten the tickets for her birthday.  Alright, the tickets were more a gift for me, but she was a Bruce fan prior to us dating and had been to about half a dozen concerts before, but this would be our first concert together.  And my God, was it a memorable show.  Four hours!  We had General Admission tickets on the floor, and I was exhausted at the end from just standing there.  I know we at LoS marvel at Bruce's energy and showmanship all the time, but it's really getting ridiculous.  Bruce is older than my parents, and he's not just "not slowing down", he's raising his game and playing some of the longest shows of his life.  And as much credit as we give to Bruce, The E Street Band needs credit too.  They are all close to Bruce, if not older, in age and keep up with him every step of the way.  I noticed a few times Bruce's interaction with Max, Nils, Garry, and everyone else in the band.  Bruce had a look in his eyes like he was almost challenging them to keep up with him.  And they absolutely did, and made it look easy.

So the night started out a little bit rough, as after our tailgate, we went into the concert and were met by enormous lines to get into the stadium.  It was just as I was about to go through the metal detectors that I heard the worst sound I could possibly hear, "Good Evening, New Jersey".  I had never missed the beginning of a concert, especially a Bruce show.  And as I heard the opening chords to "New York City Serenade", I finally got through security and had my ticket scanned.  It'll be ok, I can still catch the end of the song, and see the whole concert.  Nope, we hit another enormous line for getting on to the floor of the General Admission section.  The good news is I can hear the concert, but I was starting to get cranky at the drunks on the line, and the jerks who tried to cut the line, but were caught by the security staff.  Bruce was finishing up "Prove It All Night", when we finally were allowed into the stadium.  But now we have to stop and get wrist bands to get on to the floor.  Alright, now it's getting ridiculous.  I hear the familiar drum intro to "Night" as I finally am walking on to the floor of Metlife Stadium.  It was really only two songs that I missed, and considering the amount of time Bruce played for, it's just a drop in the bucket, but man I couldn't helped but feel somewhat bummed.  The feeling lasted all of two minutes, and by the time Bruce played "No Surrender" I had totally forgotten about those security lines.  And it's nothing I can be mad at Metlife Stadium at.  They're doing their job and security is a real issue.  But if you're going to any of his other shows this summer, allow yourself plenty of time to get into the venue.  Especially if you have GA tickets.

Even though this is The River tour, there were only a handful of songs played from that album, not including concert staples for every tour like "Hungry Heart" and "Out In The Street".  And since he's not touring for a new album, that leaves the setlist wide open for songs from Bruce's entire career, which for a hardcore fan was really exciting.  Like Rory said about Tuesday's show, the setlist last night was kind of somber at times.  And I think the songs he chose to play definitely were speaking for Bruce, especially this close to the election, without him having to make political statements.  I don't think it's a coincidence that "Ghost of Tom Joad", "Jack of All Trades", "Youngstown", "Death To My Hometown", and "41 Shots" were all played.  And Tom Morello being there for guest spots on certain songs certainly added to the political message.  But it wasn't beaten over your head, and it wasn't in your face.  Bruce was simply doing what he does best and expressing his thoughts through his song catalog.  And trust me, there were plenty of rocking tunes that kept people dancing in East Rutherford til after midnight, when they finally called it a night and said good night to an exhausted but thoroughly satisfied crowd.