Springsteen Delivers

Bruce Springsteen brought the E Street Band to Atlantic Canada for the first time, and seemed pretty pleased to do so. Playing to around 30,000 people at Moncton's Magnetic Hill venue, The Boss mentioned several times he was happy to be in a new area for the group, and thanked the crowd for being so energetic, and knowing his music.

While it wasn't one of the extra-long shows that have appeared at various times on the road this year, Springsteen still played longer, and harder than most bands do over two nights. His 26-song set lasted three hours, almost to the second. Kicking off with No Surrender, and wrapping up with a cover of Twist and Shout, the show was a mix of big hits, classics, and several cuts from this latest album, Wrecking Ball. There were also a couple of tour rarities, in the now-ritualistic practise of choosing hand-written signs from the front rows of the audience, and playing what intrigues him the most. This night saw a cut from his Seeger Sessions album, Pay Me My Money Down. While it started out a little sloppy, the band soon kicked into gear, and it was one of the highlights of the night. Another request saw Springsteen alone at the piano for the love ballad If I Should Fall Behind.

The extra-large E Street band got lots of solo time, including an incredible twirling guitar solo by Nils Lofgren in Because The Night, and a sweet shout-out to violinst Soozie Tyrell, as Springsteen pulled a "I Love You Soozie" sign from the crowd, and played the request for Darlington County, which feature one of her solos. But the surprise was how much star time new sax player Jake Clemons is getting. The nephew of the late E Streeter Clarence Clemons, he joined the group for this tour, but at first his role was downplayed in announcements as being a member of the new horn section. However, he's stepped right into his uncle's shoes. He handles all the classic sax solos, such as the iconic blast in Born To Run, and also gets to join Bruce centre-stage for a bit of banter and lots of face time on the video screens. He's already a fan favourite, with I Love Jake signs in the audience.

Opening sets by The Trews and Tom Cochrance and Red Rider were well received, and Springsteen gave them a major shout-out, bringing both bands on stage for the Twist And Shout singalong. Shaking hands and patting backs, Springsteen led his band off-stage at the end, and was the last person to leave, blowing kisses to the crowd.

Here's the full set-list:
1. No Surrender
2. Working On The Highway
3. Hungry Heart
4. We Take Care of Our Own
5. Wrecking Ball
6. Death To My Hometown
7. My City of Ruins
8. Spirit In The Night
9. Pay Me My Money Down
10. Jack Of All Trades
11. Because The Night (best song of the show, figured several of us)
12. Lonesome Day
13. Darlington County
14. Shackled And Drawn
15. Waiting On A Sunny Day
16. Promised Land
17. If I Should Fall Behind
18. The River
19. The Rising
20. Badlands
21. Thunder Road
22. Born To Run
23. Glory Days (best crowd reaction)
24. Dancing In The Dark
25. 10th Avenue Freeze-out
26. Twist and Shout (with The Trews and Tom Cochrane and Red Rider all coming on stage to sing along)

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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