Heidi & I had some great seats; side view right over the stage. It
was the "Club Level" with waitresses there at the ready to take your
order and bringing the beers and hoagies. The only drawback was that
the sound was a little muddy, but the view was great. Right below
between the seating and the stage was the VIP section, which is where I spotted Chad Lowe
Bruce started off with Thunder Road - The trouble with leading off with this one is that there is bound to be a drop-off with the next few songs. I could have left the show after this one song and been satisfied. Chad Lowe did snow angels. Next up was Radio Nowhere, which pales in comparison, but better than I thought. Clearly written to play in the big arenas. Next up: Lonesome Day.I like this song, and was glad to hear it.
Now comes a song that should be played later in the set. And I say that because it would make the perfect time for a bathroom break. "Gypsy Biker." At least it was a moment to sit down. I really noticed the muddy sound during the next song, "Murder Inc." "Magic" was played as a stripped down acoustic number. Just Bruce vox and fiddle. Pretty chilling. "Atlantic City" was next. I thought "OK, now we are starting to pick it up again."
The next song was "Candy's Room." The first time I saw Bruce was in HS, during the tour for The River. I piled in a big old smashed up Lincoln with five other dudes and a case of beer. I was wedged up against the door in the back seat next to a guy I'd never met. The whole way there he'd chug a beer and then repeat over and over again how he'd wanted to hear "Candy's Room." It was a great show and afterwards we all rode around high fiving each other, but not this guy. He was so sad that he didn't get Candy's Room and he just sat in the back seat with his head hung. I thought of him immediately upon hearing Max play the opening bits.
"Reason To Believe" was presented as a vampy blues song with Bruce singing through the mike for his harp at points. After he was done he chucked his harp into the crowd. A highlight for me.
When the band ripped into "Prove It All Night" I had an epiphany about the appeal of nostalgia shows that seem to dominate arena rock shows. Every single person in the Honda Center was on their feet. I was really impressed with Nils solo during the next song, "Because The Night"
"She's The One" was offered next. This is Heidi's favorite and we were dancing from start to finish. I didn't really care for "Livin' In The Future" when I listened to it on the record, but Bruce took a moment to explain it (not paying attention to what's happening over the past eight years) and then kicked into revival preacher mode for a slightly extended version.
One of my favorites "The Promised Land" was next, followed by "Brilliant Disguise." While Bruce was finishing "Disguise" his roadies were affixing a set of effects pedals on the stage. It turned out that these were for Tom Morello, and his guest spot on the next song, "Ghost of Tom Joad." Wow, talk about having learned to make a guitar talk.
It was tough to follow that and the next two songs, "Last To Die" and "Long Walk Home" were a bit of a lull.
But then came "Badlands." Lull overwith.
To close the main set, they played "Out In The Street." One of the joys of a Bruce show is the experience of an arena full of people singing along.
After the encore break, we got "Meeting Across The River" played with just Bruce, Bass and Piano. Chill bump enducing. As if "Born to Run" was on the record player, they went right into "Jungleland" which for me was life affirming. and then he ripped right into "Born To Run" and my recently affirmed life was reaffirmed. Next up was "Dancing In The Dark." There was a guy in the pit who had his little girl with him. She was about six, and spent the whole show perched on her Daddy's shoulders totally loving the show. During DitD, Bruce signals for them to come forward, and the pit "crowd surfs" her up to the stage, and Bruce brings her on to the stage to dance the Courtney Cox part. I hope this makes it to youtube.com.
The show closer was "American Land" from the Seeger sessions record. What a great ender.