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ISBS Concert Review: Bruce Springsteen at Continental Airlines Arena, October 9, 2007

By Brian | October 10, 2007 | Share on Facebook

Watching Bruce Springsteen perform is like watching a freight train run at full speed. While standing on the track. In front of the train. Without earplugs.

At 58 years old, Bruce is still the hardest working man in rock & roll. He hit the stage with a hard rocking Radio Nowhere, and basically played straight through for more than two hours. And when I say played straight through, in most cases I mean he actually played straight through. A song would end, “Mighty Max” Weinberg would rattle the drums over the last chord, the crowd would go wild, and then Bruce would run to the back of the stage, grab a new guitar from a roadie, run back to the microphone and yell, “1, 2, 3, 4!” and off they’d go into the next song. The energy required to maintain this pace showed in Bruce’s perspiration, but not in his music. Every hard rocking tune was loud and electrifying. Bruce’s emotions ran from exhilaration (Candy’s Room) to anger (Livin’ in the Future) to fun (Dancing in the Dark) to unadulterated soul (American Land).

The E Street Band did its part, to be sure, and while the sound was amazing, I’d say their body language ranged from “keep up with him if you can!” to “man, I’m getting too old for this…” Of course, I can’t say I blame them. The only true weakness in the band is Bruce’s wife, Patti Scialfa, who’s voice is really not strong enough to be doing duets with her husband on slower songs. But who am I to deny Bruce a little nepotism? After all, it’s his show…

As to the setlist, I was once again impressed with Bruce’s abilities as an artist and as an entertainer. Here’s a man who released his Greatest Hits disc in 1995, and now, twelve years later, he can put on a 23-song show that uses only four of those greatest hits, and with nary a complaint from the crowd. It also speaks to his confidence in his new disc, Magic, from which he played eight of the eleven tracks. Bruce Springsteen has clearly never heard the term “filler.”

Some other reviews of the show that I’ve read this morning called out the crowd as being more subdued than previous crowds. And while it’s true that Bruce did say, “Philly was louder than you guys” at one point, I think it’s relevant to note that the average age at the show probably pushed into the high thirties. Philadelphia was probably louder because it’s more of a college town, and so Bruce probably draws a younger and more energetic audience. Ironically, here in New Jersey, where Springsteen exists somewhere between “Icon” and “Supreme Being” status, his shows are as much about nostalgia as they are about the music.

Whatever your agenda, though, you come away from this show fully satisfied, vicariously exhausted, and with a not-so-insignificant degree of hearing loss. And that, as they say, is rock & roll.

Topics: ISBS Reviews, Words about Music | No Comments »


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