Friday, June 23, 2006

springsteen at MSG

etlists: 2006

June 22 / New York, NY / Madison Square Garden
Notes: "This is an immigrant song for New York City," Springsteen said before tonight's new opening number -- no, not a song off Led Zeppelin III, but at the moment we can't tell you exactly what it was, either. On the setlist as "American Land," it had a recurring refrain of "home in the American land," but it wasn't "He Lies in the American Land," despite that song's association with Pete Seeger and the similarity in title. A new Springsteen song? Watch this space for more as we know it.... In any case, it was certainly a world premiere, an Irish reel with a Clancy Brothers/Tommy Makem feel to it; lyrically, a vivid portrait of the immigrant experience in the vein of Ry Cooder's "Across the Borderline." At the end, Bruce had one more dedication for it: "for all you travelers out there." All six tour horn players were featured, with Clark and Curt exiting after the opener and returning to the stage for "Poor Man" forward. Also returning to the fold was Patti Scialfa -- after the just-as-long-absent "If I Should Fall Behind," Bruce told the crowd, "She came out of semi-retirement to be here tonight!" During "Old Dan Tucker" Bruce held a sing-off between New York and New Jersey, but he said that this Madison Square Garden show was really a test for the band, playing for "bloodthirsty New Yorkers." And indeed, the crowd ran hot and cold. But here in the current hometown of the Max Weinberg 7, there was a particularly rabid response for the horns on songs like "Jesse James" and "Oklahoma Home," and "Jacob's Ladder" pulled 'em all in. In the encore, "Bring Them Home" was stripped down to feature Springsteen alone on harmonica and guitar, dedicated to Steve Earle. One really nice touch came at the end of "Pay Me My Money Down," when the person who came out to tell tuba player Art Baron "time to go" was not Bruce as usual, but Art's mother. And judging from his priceless reaction, it came as a very pleasant surprise -- quite a sentimental moment. More family and friends taking in the Garden show: Bruce's mother and aunts, Steven and Maureen Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Tim Russert (whose wife, Maureen Orth, wrote the Newsweek story in '75), and in the pit, Dave Marsh, Jon Landau, and Bill Flanagan.
Setlist: American Land/John Henry/O Mary Don't You Weep/Johnny 99/Old Dan Tucker/Eyes on the Prize/Jesse James/Atlantic City/Erie Canal/My Oklahoma Home/If I Should Fall Behind/Mrs. McGrath/How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?/Jacob's Ladder/We Shall Overcome/Open All Night/Pay Me My Money Down
Encore: Bring Them Home/My City of Ruins/Ramrod/You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)/When the Saints Go Marching In