Luckily for local fans tonight, scalpers were taking a big hit outside Copps Coliseum. The rain didn’t help them, nor did the fact that upcoming tour stops in
Copps Coliseum slowly filled up until the show began. The Boss led the temporarily reformed E Street Band on stage at about eight thirty. They kicked off with a one-two punch of “No Surrender” and “Radio Nowhere” which have been prominent on this “Magic and Loss” tour. “Magic” was sung with a subtle falsetto, reminiscent of Roy Orbison. This is usually performed as a duet with Patti Scialfa, but Springsteen’s wife and E Street back-up singer was absent on this stretch of the tour as was Danny Federici. Bruce explained Patti had to “make sure the house doesn’t burn down” and that Danny’s spot was being filled by keyboard player Charles Giordano. Giordano recorded and toured with Bruce for “The Seeger Sessions”, so he was naturally familiar with the material and a good fit with the band.
Bruce wailed on his harmonica introduction to the souped-up boogie of “Reason To Believe” which kept the crowd on it’s feet. A searing version of “Because The Night” followed, which featured some of the most intense guitar playing one still hears from Miami Steve and Nils Lofgren. Bruce is a fine guitar player too, but he doesn’t play those shredding assaults that he used to pull out. After “She’s the One”, Bruce introduced a new song, “Livin’ In The Future” with a few words about the rapid erosion of civil rights in the United States these days. The song itself borrows liberally from the classic “10th Avenue Freeze-Out” on the 1975 classic “Born To Run” album.
“The Promised Land” and the title track of Springsteen’s 1978 “Darkness At The Edge of Town” record followed. There were a few more vintage songs about disillusionment during hard times, which went over well in this crowd. Much of the audience kept sing along with tunes like “The Promised Land” and especially “
After the sing-along blow-out of “Badlands”, Springsteen dedicated “The Girls In Their Summer Clothes” to the ladies of
Baritone sax player Clarence Clemons, “The Big Man”, has kept a lower profile on recent tours, resulting in much speculation about his health. The man is 66 years old, but when he sauntered out to centre stage for jams like the middle part of “Kitty’s Back”, there was no doubt the man can still blow. Much of the “Wall of Sound” that people mention when describing the production and band sound of the “Born To Run” album borrows as much from the Motown sound as Phil Specter’s style. The follow-up to “Kitty’s Back”, “Born To Run” kept Clarence and the audience busy. While the days of three and four hour concerts are behind them, the E Street Band still brings an amazing amount of energy to the stage. They played encores of “Dancing In The Dark” and the tour’s finale “