Monday, November 9, 2009


I'm feeling that this may be it for Bruce & The ESB for a little while. I don't just mean the band itself, but here on Burning Wood. It was never my intention to create a forum dedicated solely to the music and discussion of Bruce Springsteen. There are many places to go for that. Great places. But it is so easy to get caught up in the excitement, and after witnessing two of the greatest ESB shows of my life, I figure I'd go out ("for a little while") with a bang.

Briefly, for those who do not know, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band performed both "The Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle" and "The River" in their entireties this past weekend at NYC's Madison Square Garden. A monumental weekend, to say the least, and not without its flaws, for example-

Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Raise Your Hand
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
Glory Days
Human Touch
Lonesome Day
The Rising-

A mood-killing set of music, less "82nd Street," that for me just lowered the level slightly of what an honor it was to see one of tne greatest sets of music of all time in "The Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle," which for my money contained the best versions I have ever seen of "Sandy," & "Incident On 57th Street."

A pat encore of "Bobby Jean," "American Land" and "Dancing In The Dark" was easily forgiven by the special appearance of Elvis Costello on a version Jackie Wilson's "Higher & Higher," that could have modulated another 6 times, and it would not have been enough.

As for NIGHT TWO, it's hard to complain about anything. One friend referred to "The River" has having some clunkers. I'm not sure what they are, though it would have felt better if "Drive All Night," another of the greatest versions I have ever seen, ended the set, and not "Wreck On The Highway."

Best moments:

And my friend, a long-time rock and roller, and someone who had never gotten to see Bruce, getting her wish (which in my mind was NEVER going to happen) and hearing a killer "Atlantic City," her favorite Bruce song and a very welcome sign request.

Worst moment:
Inserting "Waiting On A Sunny Day" in between "Wreck On The Highway" and "Atlantic City."

I realize that's small potatoes, but as another friend pointed out, "When you're a Yankees fan, you come to expect nothing less than a World Series ring."

("Sunny Day" has become the Game 2, home loss for me.)

Sweet Soul Music
No Surrender
American Land
Dancing in the Dark
Can't Help Falling in Love
Higher and Higher

Why not?

Come back later and if all goes well, I'll have Saturday's show up here, and Sunday's show mid week.


soundsource said...

all i can add is I didn't get to see these shows (my regret) but a good friend sent me a copy of higher and higher w elvis costello and all i can day is golly gee gosh almighty those young fellers can sure play that rock and rolla. not to mention some kick ass horn charts.

meems said...

ELVIS COSTELLO?? really??? i would've LOVED that. and i would've loved to hear "atlantic city" too. WAAAAAHHH (for me) YAAAAY (for you)!

OldRockr1 said...

I went both nights as well. Great stuff indeed.

Sunny Day & Wrecking Ball are played way too often though I do enjoy Human Touch.

Gene Oberto said...

"Hey vibes man,
hey jazz man,
play me your serenade
Any deeper blue and you're playin' in your grave

It's midnight in Manhattan,
this is no time to get cute
It's a mad dog's promenade"

If Bruce is on your mind, "well that's all right with me."

Sal Nunziato said...

Hey OldRockr1, "Wrecking Ball" is too new to be played TOO often. I'm still digging it! As for "Human Touch," Bruce & Patti looked a little too much like Neil & Barbra during "You Don't Bring Me Flowers."

big bad wolf said...

wow. i'm envious, but i do get to see him this week, so that will help ease, though not erase, my envy. i've love bruce for 30-some years and i think he puts on the best shows of anyone, but i do wonder about the glory days/dancing in the dark/sunny day problem. is it his way of being aggressive, of saying, y'all will take anything i give you, won't you? i can't imagine there are people coming to the shows for those songs this late in.

Sal Nunziato said...

well, Big Bad, as one friend suggested, maybe Bruce sees "Sunny Day" as the new "Hungry Heart" and "Mary's Place" as the new "Rosalita," since that is how he seems to be using them.

Where are you seeing him, Cleveland?

big bad wolf said...

i guess that could be, sal. still, the hungry heart sing along started from the crowd all those years back, while sunny day seems more something he expects that crowd to go along with. and mary's place was, i think, always a bit forced too; rosalita just was and somehow remains mostly free to this day.
it's all tough to pin down, but the feel isn't there on those songs---though there are a bunch of newer songs that do have it---but he seems to want to make those two have it, and even he, the great one, can't quite pump spontaneity into those songs because he seems to have designed them as prefab spontaneous songs, and the fabrication shows.

to me, it is the other side of the born in the usa coin. he wouldn't play the raucous, dissonant, loud version of that song for years. it appeared to me that was so because he wanted no one to miss the message he intended in it, but by sapping the song of its musical dissonance and vocal complexities, he took much of its meaning and all of its guts and affirmation away. he made it our lesson song, just as he seems to want to make sunny day our happy song. it doesn't work, i don't think. and i adore him.

i'm going to detroit. i saw him in austin and tulsa earlier on the tour and need this last chance.

i'm going to give you a donation soon. this is a wonderful place.

jeff said...

Sal is God.

Anonymous said...

Just listened to the "Wild & Innocent" segment of the concert: Amazing how good it was.

While listening I thought about how only 3 members of the current E Street Band played on the original recording now that Danny is gone.

Was this the first time the album was played in it's entirety live?

Now on to "The River"

Thanks Sal