Bruce came on around 7:30 with just Roy Bittan on the piano and performed a rare, piano-only, version of “Thunder Road.” That made my night right there. But it only gets better. Next came a sing-along “Hungry Heart” followed by “Sherry Darling,” “Summertime Blues,” and “Girls in Their Summer Clothes.” Bruce called these the “summertime hits,” and they really were as the beautiful summer evening turned to night.
Next was “We Take Care of Our Own;” the first or many off of the new album, Wrecking Ball. A smooth Transition right into “Two Hearts” with great companionship between Bruce and Little Steven Van Zandt. Next up was “Wrecking Ball” followed by “Death to My Hometown;” both songs preceding the most powerful song of the night: “My City Of Ruins.” Bruce had his ever present “story time” before the song began. Bruce spoke about how ghosts are all around us, not to be scary, but to keep memories. He spoke of “The man who stood there (the late Clarence Clemons)” “The man who sat there (the late Dan Federici)” and “The man who’s foul pole has been there for all these years (The very recently deceased Johnny Pesky.)
Next came a change of tempo with a cover of “Knock on Wood” by Eddie Floyd, this was quickly followed by a rarity “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?” Bruce introduced his next song as “something to catch the audience off guard and to make us stand out when we were opening for a band.” The band tore into the lengthy “Thundercrack” with an outstanding guitar duel at the end between Springsteen and guitarists Nils Lofgren and Steven Van Zandt. The pace slowed for only a short while when Springsteen played “Frankie;” an emotional song about his brother that Bruce “wrote sitting on my front porch.” Bruce took a fan’s request to play “Prove It All Night” but with the 1978 intro. The guitar solos by Bruce and Van Zandt were out of this world and the song hadn’t even begun. A booming rendition of a popular song to say the least. Next was a fan favorite: “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”
Bruce downed a Fenway Frank and chugged a Beer on stage, all while strumming his acoustic before diving into “Working On The Highway” which led right into “Shackled and Drawn,” my favorite song off the new album. The E Street Band played an amazing “Waiting on a Sunny Day” with vocals by a young fan in the audience. Right in the middle the rain started to come down. Ironic. Next was one of my all-time favorites “Backstreets” followed by “Badlands” then, previously unreleased “Land Of Hope and Dreams.” A powerful trio to say the least.
There was no real encore, but I guess you could call it a 30 second break before Bruce came on playing “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” a CCR cover. Followed by “Rocky Ground” with great vocals by Michelle Moore. Then the Band busted out “Born to Run” followed by “Detroit Medley” then an awesome “Dancing in the Dark,” where a lucky lady got to dance with Springsteen on stage. Springsteen grabbed another fan poster requesting “Quarter to Three;” a Gary “U.S.” Bonds cover. Bruce playfully refused to play it until Little Steven and a young fan from the audience doused Bruce with a soaked sponge. Next was the superb “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” with a pause and a standing ovation for Clarence Clemons, right after the line “The Big Man joined the band.” An emotional tribute of photos was shown on the big screen. Finally, Dropkick Murphys bassist Ken Casey sung on stage during the final song “American Land.”
The night was phenomenal to say the least. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band put on the best show I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to a lot of shows. I highly recommend attending a Springsteen concert at least once, whether you are a fan or not. It’s a breathtaking experience.
Late Clarence Clemons’ nephew has replaced him on saxophone. The boy has big shoes to fill, but he’s doing a damn fine job, and the band and audience feel the same way.
Bruce Springsteen, August 15, 2012. Fenway Park
Thunder Road (Piano only)
Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochrane cover)
Girls in Their Summer Clothes
We Take Care of Our Own
Death to My Hometown
My City of Ruins
Knock on Wood (Eddie Floyd cover)
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
Prove It All Night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Working on the Highway
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
Land of Hope and Dreams
Who’ll Stop the Rain? (CCR Cover)
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
Quarter to Three (Gary “U.S. Bonds cover)
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
American Land (With Ken Casey from the Dropkick Murphys)