Last night, I had the pleasure of attending Bruce's show in Pittsburgh, PA. This one for sure started out hot. Below I will do my song by song analysis of the entire setlist. Just for the record he soundcheck The Clash's "Clampdown," also I Wanna Be With You and Light of Day. Song by song analysis:
CLAMPDOWN: Tour premiere. Not a ton of people knew this one, including myself. But man did it kick some serious ass. Very cool version that the band did, Tom Morello took some verses and Bruce took the rest. Very cool to hear and they pulled it off very well.
Badlands: A great segway from a hot opener. Almost everyone who was sitting down rose from their seats from the opening drum beat. You could tell Bruce was having a very fun time with it and the crowd was eating it up. Again, always an amazing song to hear at a Bruce show. Showcases the band very well.
Johnny 99: I was very surprised to hear this one this early. He usually saves this for the mid-setlist but it surprisingly flowed very nicely from Badlands. Something may have seemed a little off but nothing where it made the song sound bad, a good version but the section in front of me sat down during this one.
STAND ON IT: Tour premiere. A very nice surprise and a fun one. Bruce started out by praising the newly inducted E Street Band in the Hall of Fame and then jumped right into this one. Love the songs on Tracks and wish he would pull them out more. Folks didn't know this one near me but they were up and clapping along to it. Should be played more often, they killed it.
Seven Nights to Rock: This early?!? No problem. Bruce was for sure in the mood for mixing up the setlist tonight. He got his guitar and said "Let's keep this going!" In terms of a blow out rock fest! Very cool to hear this one, although in encores he usually goes crazy and jams his head on Roy's piano and does funky guitar work but none hear. Instead, he did a duet with Patti towards the end which honestly killed it. Such great energy up to this point. Patti and Bruce were confused on what to sing and at what points. Made for a good laugh but killed the energy from the song. Good performance nonetheless.
High Hopes: First time hearing this one and it did not disappoint. Bruce and the band sounded fantastic and was better than I was expecting it to be.
Just Like Fire Would: So glad he is playing this one in the United States! Great song and love the version that the E Street Band does. Hopefully he keeps this one around, it's one of the highlights from the new album and deserves to be played live.
Hungry Heart: We all know what this consists of by now. Funny enough though someone made a very cool Bruce balloon. Yes, a live sized balloon of Bruce. Bruce loved this one and actually crowd surfed with it. Very funny to see.
I WANNA BE WITH YOU: Tour premiere. First time played since 2008. Right after Hungry Heart Bruce took sign requests which actually consisted of more balloons and Pittsburgh was dubbed "The night of the Balloons." This would be the first sign request of the night. Bruce claimed the band may not know it although they sound checked it right before the show. Awesome as always. This was gonna be my sign request for Philadelphia in 2012 so glad I was able to finally here it. Started off with Bruce, then Roy joined, then they kicked right into it. Sounded great and Bruce was having a blast with it.
Back in Your Arms: The next and last "sign request." Bruce did not have the sign but he said he saw it when out in the crowd. Great opening speech by Bruce and it followed by probably the most incredible version I've ever heard of the song. An awesome surprise. Loved this pairing with I Wanna Be With You.
Wrecking Ball: Again, you all know it. Sounded good.
The Promised Land: Good to see this song making some appearances. It deserves to be played and the crowd got back into it all rising from their seats and singing in concert the "Blow Away!" part of the song. Great song and came at a great time.
Youngstown: This one was dedicated to the "Youngstown Ohio Girls" who had a sign behind the stage. Sounded simply incredible. Nils stole this one with an incredible and crowd rising guitar solo at the end. Bruce's vocals sounded on point. Quite possibly the best version I've heard myself.
Lonesome Day: Not bad, doesn't get played a ton so nice to see some shake up in the setlist. Band sounded very good on this one along with Bruce.
Mary's Place: I've always loved this one. A true party song with E Street. Gotta love how he starts it off slow and then the band picks it up, drops slow again, then picks right back up. Always an awesome one to hear and Bruce seems to like playing this one when I'm in attendance which is fine by me.
The Ghost of Tom Joad: Ok, Tom Morello may have won me over here on his guitar work. I was not a huge fan of Tom but after I saw this live, I have a new appreciation for what he brings to the table. Once again, a good majority of the folks were sitting in the section in front of me but as soon as Tom Morello went off on guitar a majority rose up and gave him a standing ovation. Great guitar work and both Bruce and Tom sounded great.
Radio Nowhere: Love this one! Glad he is bringing it back. Only third time he has played it this year and first time on the US tour. If you've seen this one, you know it brings a punch. The band sounded on point.
The Rising: We all know this one by now. Bruce and his stage crew have worked in some very cool light shows during these songs. Something I noticed different from the Wrecking Ball tour. Very cool stuff and as always a welcome song.
Land of Hope and Dreams: Again, we all know this one as well. Actually kind of found it to be a little stale. Maybe because he has been playing it a lot but something was missing from it for me. Not bad but not incredible either.
The Promise (Solo, Piano): Wow! My first time hearing this and I can see why people love this version. It is simply amazing. A very nice surprise and Bruce sounded fantastic.
The Wall: Very moving introduction speech. When I first heard the audio of this song live, it didn't match the epic proportions on the record. Now hearing it today, the band has worked on this one and it sounded simply amazing. I felt just as moved as I did when I heard it on the album. A great one to play and hope he keeps this one in the setlist for all to hear. Very moving.
Born in the U.S.A.: It is finally back! Looks like he will finally be playing this one back on US soil. The perfect segway from The Wall. Favorite part had to be Max's solo at the end. Always sounds great but even better live and in person. The usher for my section was loving this one.
Light of Day (w/ Joe Grushecky): Yes! This sounds fantastic. Bruce and Joe traded off each line and they sounded great together. I think I may have actually enjoyed this one more with Joe taking some lines. He sounded great and paired with Bruce even better. Great version. Bruce announced after this song the two dates he and Joe will play Soldiers and Sailors Hall in Pittsburgh on May 22 and 23.
Frankie Fell in Love (w/ Joe Grushecky): Yes, again! What a surprise, second time ever played with the E Street Band. My favorite from the new record and finally got to hear this one! Hard to say this but dare I say that Joe sounds better on this one than Steve? The band sounded much better on this take than the first one in Perth, Australia earlier this year. Pretty cool to see this one thrown in the encores.
Born to Run: Every single one of us knows this one. Crowd was loving it.
Dancing in the Dark: This one just takes too long now with bringing people up on stage. I would much prefer the more upbeat version of The Rising tour like on the Barcelona DVD. Good to see people having fun on stage but I would rather him play this song and maybe throw in one more song in encores.
Tenth Avenue Freeze Out: We all know this one too. Great tribute to the big man and Danny towards the end as always.
Shout: This was my first time hearing it live and wow! The crowd ate this one up with every single person throwing their hands up in the air and going crazy. My friend, his first time going to a Bruce concert, was thrilled he played this one and he loved it just as much as everyone in the arena.
Dream Baby Dream: Bruce started off by thanking the fans for all their long and dedicated support. Very touching and then followed by a haunting version of Dream Baby Dream. Incredible.
All in all, the show was superb and I can say I honestly had no idea what he was going to pull out next as he was going crazy and playing whatever. Loved all the songs off Tracks and some very nice setlist shakeups with Seven Nights appearing early and throwing in Frankie Fell in Love and Light of Day in the encores. An awesome night and well worth the 5 hour drive from Jersey. This tour is about to catch fire, but you can argue that it already has.
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