by Robert Gillis
TD Garden – Boston – 4/21/2009
Tonight’s Springsteen show was arguably one of the best I have seen. Hell, they all are. Best to stop rating them.
Bruce looks thinner, in great shape and his voice sounds fantastic. No earrings or other piercing and shorter hair.
LOVED the new “smoke” effect – Bruce has never done much of that and it works. Patti absent tonight. A very lovely tribute to Danny – an under-lit armchair to the side with his accordion displayed.
Present: The full E Street Band (sans Patti). Great to see Charlie Giordano, and (shades of ’92!) the fabulous Curtis King and Cindy Mizelle from the Sessions Band.
- Adam Raised a Cain
- Outlaw Pete” (complete with new smoke effects) is FAR superior live – SCORCHING! Still a goofy song but really good live. “Can you hear me?” Love it, love the smoke.
- Out in the Street – Now we’re cooking. I’m loving it. Bruce is trim, sounds VERY good.
- Working on a Dream – FAR better live. “Hello Boston!” Springsteen tells us we’re here to build a house, isn’t it done yet? Been working on it since the Magic tour! Full band treatment, almost a joyous anthem. I think this one will become a concert classic, played often in years to come. It’s positively joyous.
- Seeds — The line “The banker man said, ‘Sorry, son, it’s all gone’.”
- Johnny 99 – Full blown band song. Soozie amazing. Perfect.
- The Ghost of Tom Joad: Closes this potent arc of the show. Powerful. Full orchestra. Exceptional. Bruce in silhouette. Great solo by Nils. GOTJ is an underappreciated album. This title track is arguably the most powerful. All three of these songs in this arc talk about the group of people Bruce never forgets: The disenfranchised.
- I’m Goin’ Down – By request; fun song; crowd loved it. Has it really been 25 years since BITUSA?
- Raise Your Hand – the new “going to get signs” song; Bruce collected what seemed to be a dozen request signs and posters and then broke into this classic. RYH has never been a personal favorite but it was well received.
- I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – As part of “Stump the Band” Springsteen chose this ZZ Top song and said, “They don’t know it! They’ve never played it! “Can they do it? Hell yeah, they’re the E Street Band!” And they nailed it. Crowd *loved* it when Springsteen said he was “Nationwide.”
- Growin’ Up – also by sign request; lyrics as whacky as ever, and still fun.
- Waiting’ on a Sunny Day – Well received even though it’s almost a cliché in the show after all these years, but the crowd liked it. No slide by Bruce.
- The Promised Land – And the fans go bonkers. This song just rocks; kid in front of me is high fiving everyone again including me. Springsteen’s harmonica better than ever.
- The Wrestler – Don’t know it at all but Springsteen won a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for “The Wrestler” in 2009.
- Kingdom of Days – dedicated to Patti, who fell off a horse (the crowd thought he was kidding because Madonna did the same thing last weekend) but he was serious, she has bruised ribs and will rejoin the tour later. I didn’t know the Springsteen’s were such equestrians. Daughter Jessica is a competitive rider.
- Radio Nowhere (w/ Jay Weinberg) — The kid is amazing. Max Weinberg’s son, Jay – only 18 but an INCREDIBLE drummer and the crowd loves him. It blew my mind that here I was in this same building, 17 years ago, seeing Bruce sing “Living Proof” about newborn son Evan, (and Jay was a baby then as well). Now it’s 2009, Evan is at BC and Jay is playing drums for E Street. In-Cred-Ible.
- Lonesome Day (w/ Jay Weinberg) – Soozie MAKES this song. LOVE IT.
- The Rising (w/ Jay Weinberg) – Beautiful lyrics and Springsteen sounds far, far better on this one than he has in years. I’ve been to shows where is voice was hoarse – not tonight.
- Born to Run (w/ Jay Weinberg) – Despite the cliché I enjoyed it tonight. House lights up!
- Hard Times – Springsteen thanked Boston for its support for years, dedicated this song to “My handsome son Evan” and “beautiful daughter Jess,” and then talked about the Greater Boston Food Bank. This is a song written by Steve Foster in 1843; will give it another listen Wednesday.
- Tenth Avenue Freeze-out –Bruce swooping and hanging off the mike. And the crowd already singing the “oh’s” to the song as it begins. AWESOME. And there’s the Springsteen slide!
- Land of Hope and Dreams- Nice to have this one back. Perfect for the times.
- American Land – Always fun, well written, great meaning but I miss having the words on the screen. LOVED seeing Charlie trying to play Nils guitar. Bruce introduced the band – and in a first (that I’ve ever seen) introduced someone twice – Garry W. Talent!
- Rosalita – Crowd went bonkers. LOVED IT
The band was in top-form; Springsteen sounded amazing and was INTO it. GREAT SHOW.
by Robert Gillis
TD Garden – Boston – 4/22/2009
- Badlands – at the concession stand for this one, but we have heard it before.
- Candy’s Room – All right! Crowd loved it; and I immediate notice (as I do all night) Springsteen’s voice is VERY CLEAR. Songs like “Radio Nowhere” and “Rising,” that he sang gruffly before, are now perfect.
- Outlaw Pete – The song is goofy but GREAT live and I love the smoke effect. “Can you hear me? Can you hear me?” and the crowd freaks. By the way, Sue ALSO picked up that the riff in “Outlaw Pete” sounds EXACTLY like “I was made for loving you baby” by KISS.
- She’s the One — Awesome
- Working on a Dream – great song and really great live. This was Springsteen’s first “guitar toss” to a roadie and I wonder if they get fired if they drop the guitar? Great sax by Clarence.
- Seeds and Johnny 99 – INTENSE guitar work from Springsteen and Nils. Exceptional work by Roy. The band is in perfect sync, a well oiled machine, and CLEARLY having fun.
- Youngstown – no GOTJ tonight but this song is also perfect for this arc of the show. Nils was ON FIRE on the guitar.
- Raise Your Hand – It’s a perfect way for Springsteen to head into the crowd for signs. He collects what looks like 20 of them and then sorts through them. Then he starts mouthing the words DeNiro used, “Are you talking to me??” Hilarious!
- I Wanna Be Sedated – Not a misprint, tonight’s “Stump the band” was this Ramones classic. Steve is a HUGE Ramones fan and Springsteen and Steve seemed to LOVE the challenge, and nailed it. Seeing Springsteen perform “I wanna be sedated” was surreal and a sure sign of the apocalypse. But it was great!
- Spirit in the Night – Holy shit this is a GREAT song and I just loved it. The band is really getting a workout and everyone has moments to shine. Charlie fills in nicely for Danny’s organ playing. Close-up on people in the audience looking at Springsteen like they’re seeing the face of God. Seriously.
- For You – My “go get a pretzel” song, although it received FOUR separate sign requests.
- Waiting’ on a Sunny Day – Cliché but fun.
- The Promised Land – Another OMG I love this song. The harmonica, the drums, memories from so many listens. Just PERFECT. During this song there was this was young kid – he was maybe 15, looking up at Bruce with total awe. Bruce tousled his hair and the kid looked like he’d seen God. Good to know the new generations love Springsteen like us older Tramps!
- Jungleland – OH MY GOD! I yelled and the crowd went ballistic. It has not happened in years but I got chills and goose-bumps – no kidding – the band nailed it; the crowd knew all the worlds and it was a religious experience.
- Kingdom of Days – Dedicated to Patti who did fall off a horse.
- Radio Nowhere (w/ Jay Weinberg) – FAR, FAR better vocals on this than in 2007. Springsteen’s voice was perfect and not screeching all night. Jay is a machine on the drums and the crowd really likes him. “Springsteen: “He’s gonna run with the big dogs!”
- Lonesome Day, The Rising, Born to Run (all w/ Jay Weinberg) – The band is INTO the show tonight, smiling at each other, saying funny things to each other, dancing, mixing it up… Just excellent.
- Hard Times – A very nice speech about the greater Boston food Bank and them being “On the front line doing God’s work.” We donated $25 to them.
- Thunder Road – Crowd sang a lot of the song; Springsteen enjoyed it, walking around a lot (as he did all night) shaking hands, smiling. Dedicated to Sam and Jessie (“I love you so much.”)
- Land of Hope and Dreams – So glad to have this one back. Really reflects the hope for these times.
From backstreets: “Dropkick Murphy’s guitarist Tim Brennan onstage, down on bended knee, proposing to his girlfriend Diane. She said yes — credit Nils with getting her answer on mic — and Springsteen told the crowd, “This is gonna be their wedding song.”
To me… It seemed… strange. Tim taking the mike and saying, “Thanks, Bruce” and then proposing. It didn’t seem romantic; Diane seemed terrified on the stage… Dunno, just felt – forced is the right word. It felt forced. Hope she wasn’t upset with him doing that!
- So Young and in Love (w/ Dropkick Murphy’s’ Tim Brennan) – Bruce said this was their wedding song.
- American Land (w/ Dropkick Murphy’s, Jay Weinberg) – Lot of fun but don’t think I’d see the Dropkick Murphy’s in concert. Song just rocks.
- Glory Days (w/ Dropkick Murphy’s, Jay Weinberg) – Just awesome; feels “right” for Boston and I love the “Hey Steve, what time is it,” “It’s BOSS-time!”
- Seven Nights to Rock – one more! Great way to end the night!