Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bruce Springsteen live blog: Night Three at Giants Stadium By Jay Lustig/The Star-Ledger

Bruce Springsteen live blog: Night Three at Giants Stadium
By Jay Lustig/The Star-Ledger
October 03, 2009, 12:59PM

springsteen-and-little-steven.jpgTONY KURDZUK/THE STAR-LEDGERBruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt perform with the E Street Band at Giants Stadium, Sept. 30.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band began the third of their five Giants Stadium concerts at 8:25 p.m., with "Wrecking Ball." This song, inspired by the imminent demolition of Giants Stadium, has opened all three shows. "Bring on your wrecking ball," sang Springsteen, repeatedly, in a challenging tone.

The second song, the always uplifting "Out In the Street," was a real crowd-pleaser, with Springsteen bringing a young fan onstage to sing along with him.

During "Hungry Heart," Springsteen started running around the "pit" section of the stadium floor, as he has on other nights. But instead of running all the way around, he leaped into the crowd at the halfway point, and crowd-surfed across the pit, all the way back to the stage. Unbelievable.

The "Born in the U.S.A." portion of the show began with the show's six song, the album's title track. The band is planning to perform the whole album, in its original order, for the first time ever, tonight.

This follows performances of "Born To Run" on Wednesday, and "Darkness On the Edge of Town," on Friday. Reprises of "Born To Run" and "Born in the U.S.A." are planned for next Thursday and Friday - the final two shows in the stand.

The band first performed at Giants Stadium in 1985, as part of its "Born In the U.S.A. Tour."

I enjoyed hearing "Cover Me," which Springsteen rarely plays live these days, as part of the "Born In the U.S.A." mini-set. I always liked the song, and don't understand why Springsteen has lost interest in it. It sounded very good tonight -- taut and soulful, with two emotionally wrenching guitar solos by Nils Lofgren.

Bruce Springsteen performs his new song 'Wrecking Ball' at Giants Stadium
Bruce Springsteen performs 'Seeds' at Giants Stadium


During "I'm On Fire," Springsteen sat on a stool, without his guitar, on a small stage that extends out into the audience. It was a nice way to make this dark, minimalistic song even more intimate.

He pulled a girl out of the audience at the end of "Dancing In the Dark," and the two danced together energetically.

After "My Hometown" he brought together all the current E Street Band members who played on the album, and had them take a bow with him. "These are the guys who played on the record -- and Phantom Danny Federici," he said. (E Street keyboardist Federici, nicknamed Phantom, died last year.)

I don't like "Born in the U.S.A." as much as "Born To Run" or "Darkness," and don't feel it's as cohesive as those two albums, lyrically or musically. It also has a few songs I've just never liked very much: "Working On the Highway," "Bobby Jean" and "Glory Days." But I do like most of it, and it's fun to hear Springsteen play a lot of songs that he hasn't played much in recent years.

After "Born To Run," Springsteen and the band took another bow, signalling the start of the encores, but did not actually leave the stage. Signs with fan requests were taken during "Raise Your Hand," and Springsteen started the request portion of the show with "Jersey Girl." The second request was an epic "Kitty's Back."

The show ended at 11:16, clocking in at two hours, 51 minutes.

Like first two nights, this was a very solid show. It's hard to pick a best or a worst night.

For the third straight show, trumpeter Curt Ramm has joined the band, and part-time E Street Band member Patti Scialfa has been absent, as she has been for much of the current tour.

Here is the setlist. Songs in bold are from the "Born in the U.S.A." album. Asterisks denote songs not played in the first two Giants Stadium shows.

"Wrecking Ball"
"Out In the Street" (*)
"Outlaw Pete"
"Hungry Heart"
"Working On a Dream"
''Born In the U.S.A." (*)
"Cover Me" (*)
"Darlington County" (*)
"Working On the Highway" (*)
"Downbound Train" (*)
"I'm On Fire" (*)
"No Surrender"
"Bobby Jean"
"I'm Goin' Down"
"Glory Days" (*)
"Dancing In the Dark"
"My Hometown" (*)
"The Promised Land"
"Last To Die" (*)
"Long Walk Home"
"The Rising"
"Born To Run"
"Raise Your Hand" (instrumental)
"Jersey Girl" (*)
"Kitty's Back" (*)
"Detroit Medley (*)
"American Land"
"Waitin' On a Sunny Day"
"Thunder Road"