Bruce Springsteen at Comcast Center Mansfield August 2009, photo by me!
Bruce Springsteen at Comcast Center Mansfield August 2009, photo by me!

by Robert Gillis

August 22, 2009

Tonight’s Springsteen show came as close to a religious experience as, well, the last show. I’m running out of superlatives like “awesome” “in-cred-ible” and “just f**ing rocked,” but tonight’s show at GREAT WOODS was all those things and more.

Seats were amazing; got VERY close and got some amazing pictures.

I was shouting EVERY song, and “Point Blank” was one I’d never seen live.

  • JACKSON CAGE: What a surprise to start the show – great tune.
  • SHE’S THE ONE: Bruce using a screen in back with some red puzzle squares here. GREAT song.
  • WORKING ON THE HIGHWAY: Bruce in a black cowboy hat and the folks next to me singing the riff as it started. Fun!
  • HUNGRY HEART: Bruce called out, “let’s keep the hits coming” and the crowd went bonkers singing the first part.
  • OUTLAW PETE: I was made for loving you baby, you were made for loving me, and I swear Springsteen stole this riff. One of two from the new album. He hasn’t been focusing on the new tunes at all.
  • BADLANDS: Clouds on the screen and I tell you this time I really loved it, cliché or overplayed, doesn’t matter.
  • WORKING ON A DREAM: Beautiful starry sky on the screen with clouds and the moon. I LOVE this song, especially live! I LOVE IT! It’s so inspirational, like a promise, of hope.
  • SEEDS: Powerful as always, with the line again changed to “The banker man”
  • JOHNNY 99: Great tune, with Springsteen and Steve doing a “dueling guitar” bit as a “train” at the end.
  • POINT BLANK: Holy moley, never heard this one live ever! Heartfelt, passionate, amazing.
  • RAISE YOUR HAND: The signs are out! Sue and I had two, one for “Trapped” and “Dream Baby Dream.” We passed our songs along; folks in front didn’t understand to keep passing them so we got them back…
  • FOR YOU: It’s a Springsteen classic but it’s always been my “Go get a pretzel” song but the seats were too good to leave.
  • TRAPPED: So Springsteen holds up a sign for this one and the crowd goes WILD. LOTS of request for it and I’m holding up my sign, showing it to the crowd to say, “See, I wanted it too!” IN- CREDIBLE.
  • WAITIN’ ON A SUNNY DAY: Fun, Springsteen had a kid singing some of the lyrics. “Waiting on a summer day.” Cute!
  • THE PROMISED LAND: Amazing as always, and at the end, Bruce shook hands with a fan in the front row, gently took his hand, and places the harmonica in it and wrapped his hand around it. Class act.
  • IF I SHOULD FALL BEHIND: Requested for Ingrid’s 224th show. Springsteen repeated that and said, “F*ck!” in amazement, adding something like, “We’ve only done 222!” Now that’s obsessive! (Bruce’s voice a bit off on this one)
  • BACKSTREETS: Crowd absolutely loved it and went bananas. Opening keyboards gave me goose bumps. Ending with “… Just you and me babe, just you and me babe.”
  • LONESOME DAY and THE RISING: Great renditions of both, Soozie amazing as always, fans eating it up. Lonesome day, Bruce garbled the opening but can’t make out what he said.
  • BORN TO RUN: Cliché. Overplayed. Loved it. Bruce did the spinning guitar thing. Awesome.
  • ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT): Earlier than I though and it’s clearly a “Jimmy Buffet” type song for Springsteen — you can be fairly certain he will play it every time.
  • DETROIT MEDLEY: A blowup doll (“We have a wardrobe malfunction”) with red hair, horns and a blue dress. Lots of improve including Bruce in the red wig. Hilarious and solid.
  • Thanked us for coming on this very HOT night. HARD TIMES (COME AGAIN NO MORE): PSA for the Greater Boston Food Bank (gave them $20 on the way out and thanked them for all they do)
  • “Dedicated to Pats at home,” only mention of her this evening. AMERICAN LAND: I like it, really need to learn the words.
  • DANCING IN THE DARK: One of the most beautiful moments of this show as Springsteen brings up a little girl (maybe 12 or 13) and danced with her. Carried her back into her seat — adorable.
  • BORN IN THE U.S.A.: What happened with the feedback on the bass? Nearly killed us!
  • TWIST AND SHOUT/LA BAMBA: I love the song and always think of the “Ferris Beuller” scene. Great ending to the night!

August 23, 2009

Seats were incredible; two back from last night and everyone had a great time. Bruce gave away another harmonica. Bruce eating a power bar last night during songs. Tossing water on the crowd again. LOTS of crowd interaction. Steve into it tonight. No Patty ? Soozy incredible. Nils dancing, spinning, burning the guitar. Charlie and Nils trading accordion and guitar work.

Bruce’s hair is shorter; still wearing the wedding band, drinks lots of water between songs. Clarence walks out on a cane and sits through much of the show; his saxophones are mounted on stands so he doesn’t need to hold them. Nils’ guitar playing scorching. Roy’s keyboards perfect. Max and Jay are awesome although Jay plays too fast sometimes. Nice to see Curtis King and Cindy Mizelle as well. Charlie is also doing a great job. No talks between songs, no speeches except for the PSA and repeated thanks to the crowd. Like the view screen best when it’s used as (drum roll) a view screen. Much better for the folks all the way back!

NIGHT: Good God I LOVE this song. It’s intense, it’s a party, and it’s an anthem. This is going to be a serious show! Definitely underplayed classic from BTR. BTR is such an amazing album and this one is ALWAYS good.

BADLANDS: Get it straight baby: He’s gonna keep playing it.

OUT IN THE STREET: Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh — great tune, keeps the party going.

OUTLAW PETE: Meh. Cowboy hat and boots cute, but meh.

IT’S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY: Very strong performance and well done. This is clearly a show for the fans. This song was never one of my favorites, but nice to hear.

WORKING ON A DREAM: The house building speech is thankfully short and God I LOVE this song. I read in reviews that people don’t like it but live, this is one is a joyful anthem! And I like the clouds and moon and stars graphics.

MURDER INCORPORATED: I love this song. Vocals great, just rocked. Awesome. Powerful guitar work here, too.

JOHNNY 99: Good. The full-blown version does detract from what the song is about, but that’s ok.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: First time I’ve heard it live and a beautiful performance, strongly led by Charlie’s organ. Bruce in silhouette for much of the song. Poignant. Fathers and sons, too much of the same kind.

HEAT WAVE (RIFF ONLY): Not familiar with the song but it replaced “Raise Your Hand” as the “Sign” song. Once woman had a sign for “Racing in the Street” that included a “7-11” store and she told me she drew the whole thing herself.

I’M GOIN’ DOWN: I love the song; it’s a fun tune and has become a party song.

YOU NEVER CAN TELL: After a bit of “which key” band chatter, which is always enjoyable, it was just so-so. “C?, no D. Staying with A”

JANEY DON’T YOU LOSE HEART: This is a fantastic song that really should have been included on BITUSA. Live, it’s just incredible. This was from another sign request: “Janey don’t you lose {heart}” Have not heard this since Fenway.

PROVE IT ALL NIGHT: Savage solo by Nils who brought his A+ game tonight and just amazing. Crowd LOVED it. Quintessential Bruce.

WAITIN’ ON A SUNNY DAY: Lots of reviewers don’t like the song; I think it’s a great, fun tune. Great way to involve the kids.

THE PROMISED LAND: Rocked and another harmonica given away.

THE RIVER: One reviewer said it best: “Really, really stunning. The lighting was very minimalist on this to great effect. More or less straight performance. Bruce gave the audience the vocal (a la “show a little faith there’s magic in the night”) on the lines “they bring you up to do what your daddy done/me and Mary we met in high school when she was just seventeen” or so. Extended, lovely falsetto ending.”

LONESOME DAY / THE RISING: Boston crowd’s LOVE it. I do too. Classic staples of the new era.

BORN TO RUN: Someday girl I don’t know when, he’ll retire this one, but till then, tramps like us will keep hearing it at every show.

GIRLS IN THEIR SUMMER CLOTHES: For a kid’s sixth birthday; Springsteen quipped he’s approaching that number himself, and he brought a woman on to dance with him who looked a bit nervous. This song is a rare exception that it sounds better on the CD – there’s just something magical (no pun intended) about the way it’s arranged in the studio that Springsteen jest never duplicated live.

THUNDER ROAD: After the PSA and very enjoyable. Lots of focus on Clarence this evening and he was on-the-spot all night. Crowd still sings back, ‘Show a little faith there’s magic in the night…”

AMERICAN LAND: Dropkick Murphy’s duet on it, which was fun but sad news for Peter Wolf! And no proposals tonight, either.

GLORY DAYS: Always a blast in concert. No “what time is it” bit tonight although the crowd was shouting “Boss Time” when Springsteen kept yelling, “Steve!” Boston loves this one, I think, because of our baseball connection.

DANCING IN THE DARK: No dancing with somebody from the crowd on this one tonight, just a straight performance segueing straight into

TWIST AND SHOUT/LA BAMBA: As Springsteen pretended to “collapse” on stage an “EMT” came out and gave him oxygen. The songs? AWESOME!

HANG ON SLOOPY: Didn’t quite “get” this one; wasn’t very good. Goofy but not in a good way.

GROWIN’ UP: That’s better! Springsteen clearly doesn’t want to leave! Seemed a bit odd this late in the set but such a fun song!

HUNGRY HEART: One more! One more! And we got it — icing on the cake and a song to send us on our way. A joyful ending for the night. And my wife rushed to the pit, and came back euphoric – she was holding Bruce’s hand (“he’s sweaty!”) Him holding hers, and hugging him! She was beyond thrilled and I am incredibly jealous!

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