Courtesy of a kind deed by a good friend I attended Bruce Springsteen’s concert last night at St. Paul’s Xcel Center. The concert was laced with powerful renditions of Springsteen’s 9/11 songs from his current recording “The Rising.” I was struck by how many in the packed audience of 19,000 already knew the songs from “The Rising” and were able to sing along with the performances. Add to the wallop of those songs the impact provided by Bruce being backed by the E Street Band, all the folks he played with in the ’70s and ’80s as he made his reputation and became famous: Steve Van Zandt, Roy Bittan, Danny Federici, Nils Lofgren, Garry Tallent, Max Weinberg, and the Big Man, Clarence Clemons. It felt a little like a historic occasion.
Given Bruce’s songbook and his gift for writing anthemic songs, it was inevitable that lines from his old songs would find a new resonance in this show. Thanks to the venue and the sentiments expressed in the song, Bruce’s performance of “Badlands” brought down the house: “…it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.”
Brian Lambert’s review in the Pioneer Press comes closest to capturing the experience. We also ran into Pioneer Press reporter and Bruce fanatic Rick Linsk, whose “The Rites of Springsteen” had helped get us in the right frame of mind.
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