[Editor's note: Friend of Blogness Jeff Brown (@yobeav) is our guest blogger for the day, offering his impressions of last night's Springsteen show in San Jose.]
Photo by Rhondda (@RhoAsh)
A week off between shows seems to suit Bruce and the E Street Band. They came at the San Jose crowd well rested and ready for battle. Opening to the strains of “The Magnificent 7” theme, Bruce once again did his own intro — as he put it, “The only man in rock & roll that introduces himself!” A typical No Cal crowd took a while to get off their seats and get loud.
Two from the new album, “We Take Care of Our Own” and the title track, “Wrecking Ball,” opened this three-plus-hour epic affair. The San Jose crowd gave a small cheer in adopting the “Giants” line for their own local team. The first strains of “Badlands” immediately charged the crowd, as did the ovation for Jake Clemons on the solo. Jake drew huge a huge response every time he stepped into the spotlight last night. Making it three out of four from the new album, they followed with “Death to My Hometown.”
As if sensing the crowd still wasn’t dialed in, Bruce went into preacher mode. “I see some old faces and some young faces,” he chided. “We’re here to wake you and shake you and take you to higher ground.” His final counsel to the masses was, “We’re here to make you wake up in the morning and say, what the f–k happened to me?”
The band then rolled into “My City of Ruin,s” and half way through Bruce went into the roll call. It seemed kind of early for that, but with 16 people on stage now was a good a time as any. Bruce went “searchin’ for my baby” but Patti wasn’t on stage. As he put it she was home, “keeping the kids out of the drug stash.” Bruce hugged up close to Gary standing in Patti’s normal spot and cried, “He just won’t do.”
My seat was right behind the main sound/light board and I could see the prompter. There were a lot of audibles and the first one of the evening was “Thundercrack” in place of “E Street Shuffle.” He held the mic down in the pit for people to sing the “all night” parts. Bruce described their efforts best when he said, “This is why I’m the one getting paid.” Nils and Bruce blistered the solo at the end.
“Jack of All Trades” followed and so did the first visible sign of people heading for the lobby. I Tweeted, “must be the 1%’ers.”
Another audible followed — the screen showed “Trapped,” but the band ripped into “Murder Incorporated.” Bruce and Steve did the guitar honors this time.
Prompter screen showed “Youngstown,” but thankfully they played a rollicking, kick-ass version of “Johnny 99.” All the horns came out front and the crowd train whistled with the band.
“My Love Will Not Let You Down” was next, then “Shackled and Drawn” followed.
Faces lit up all around me when the first notes of “Waiting on a Sunny Day” were played. It was the loudest they had been all show. The little boy Bruce pulled out of the pit to sing had the arena howling. He had the whole package while singing, including a nervous Elvis wiggle.
“The Promised Land” kept the crescendo going as Jake nailed the solo.
I wasn’t ready for what came next. Confusion reigned on the faces around me as Roy played the first notes of “Backstreets.” Once the audience figured it out a huge ovation began. An amazing version of one of my favorite Bruce songs.
“American Skin (41 Shots)” came next with no mention of the latest news from Florida.
The “Apollo Medley” brought out the playfulness of Bruce and the crowd. He took a foray into the middle of the pit. He was then sent back to the stage via the hand highway. Bruce was picked up and deposited back on stage. Lets’ see Adele crowd surf like that.
Two from “The Rising” followed; the title track and “Lonesome Day.” Playing the sixth tune from Wrecking Ball next with “We Are Alive.”
“Thunder Road” was greeted with hands raised and a loud explosion of voices when Jake once again nailed the sax solo.
Michelle Moore came out for “Rocky Ground” and showed off her wonderful voice. The rap section was well received as well.
Reaching back to The River, “Out in the Street” charged everyone up for the home stretch.
The house lights came up and so did the thousands at HP when “Born to Run” thundered in. “Dancing in the Dark” was next and some people who shouldn’t be dancing were. The young girl Bruce pulled up from the pit to dance seemed to have lead in her shoes. Bruce then asked Steve if it was time to go home. Thankfully Stevie said no. Call the repairmen because the roof is about to be blown off.
“Rosalita” came out and I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it. We west coasters have to be thankful when this classic is pulled out. This and “Backstreets” on the same night? Hallelujah!
The finishing touch on the show was “10th Avenue Freeze Out.” Bruce made his way to the middle of the pit again. The San Jose crowd screamed for nearly two minutes as video showed The Big Man in all his glory.
One word popped into my head as I filed out: Epic. No tour premieres but an over three-hour show. Not to be a counter but this was No. 22 for me and it ranks in the top 3 of all of them. Since the West Coast probably won’t get a stadium show, this is it for No Cal on this tour. Bruce and the E Street Band made sure we got more than our money’s worth.