Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bruce Springsteen - 2012-03-09 - New York City

Bruce Springsteen
& The E Street Band
March 9, 2012
The Apollo Theater
New York City, NY

101. Intro
102. We Take Care of Our Own
103. Wrecking Ball
104. Badlands
105. Death to My Hometown
106. My City of Ruins
107. Intro / "The Beginning Of It All"
108. The E Street Shuffle
109. Intro / "We Have A New Record Out"
110. Jack of All Trades
111. Shackled and Drawn
112. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
113. The Promised Land
114. Intro / "Hotter Than You Know"
115. Mansion on the Hill
116. Outro

201. Intro / "Come On, Singers!"
202. The Way You Do the Things You Do
203. 634-5789
204. The Rising
205. We are Alive
206. Thunder Road
207. Intro
208. Rocky Ground (w/ Michelle Moore)
209. Land of Hope and Dreams
210. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
211. Hold On I'm Coming

312. We Take Care of Our Own *
313. Death To My Hometown ** (w/ Tom Morello)
314. Jack Of All Trades ** (w/ Tom Morello)

* From "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" 2/28/2012
** From "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" 3/2/2012

Notes (from
On June 5, 1992, Bruce Springsteen warmed up for his first tour without the E Street Band by sending out a "dress rehearsal" show live over the radio airwaves. While the tour itself wouldn't start for another ten days, listeners everywhere (and a handful of contest winners in-house) got a sneak peek at the upcoming tour. Twenty years later, and Bruce is doing it again: this time not on terrestrial radio but via satellite on SiriusXM; this time with the E Street Band, with an album headed up the charts instead of down, and not from a "mysterious location" but rather from the place where stars are born and legends are made, Harlem's historic Apollo Theatre.
Thing is, Friday night didn't feel like a tour warm-up. It wasn't touted as a rehearsal show, and it didn't feel like one — it felt like a special night curated for the Apollo Theater. Which, no matter what takes shape further on down the road, is exactly what it was: from the band coming out and rubbing Harlem's legendary Tree of Hope as they each took the stage, to Springsteen's delightedly over-the-top self-introduction ("A young man who was born in the U.S.A.... won an Academy Award... the hardest working white man in show business!") to the tributes to soul greats, the special appearance of vocalist Michelle Moore, and the blasting apart of the fourth wall that separates performer and audience in this 1,200-seater. By the time Springsteen began scaling the walls, climbing into opera boxes and out onto the edge of the lower mezzanine, we'd already lost track of how many times he'd ventured into the crowd. It was hardly something he'll be able to repeat at a Corporate Arena Near You.
That said, the new album got a workout, giving a taste of things to come with all songs performed on Fallon returning plus the tour debuts of "Shackled and Drawn," "We Are Alive," and "Rocky Ground." "Shackled" was a Sessions Band-style tour de force, with all the vocalists down front on an a capella intro, even Garry stepping to the mic, and Cindy Mizelle bringing it home at the end: "I want everybody to stand up and be counted tonight!" "Rocky Ground" brought the album's featured vocalist Michelle Moore to the stage, with Bruce recalling fondly how long they've worked together, from Asbury Park holiday shows to The Rising and beyond.
"On our new record," Bruce said, "our motto is dancing and crying." And hand-in-hand with that theme of resilience in the face of adversity and loss, the spirit of Clarence Clemons was very much with us tonight — Bruce and the E Street Band's first full show without him. There was a collective breath held as the "Badlands" solo approached in slot three... and an exhale of relief as Jake Clemons stepped out of the five-horn line-up to do his Uncle (and Bruce and the band and the song and himself) proud. It wasn't much later that Bruce addressed the loss directly, honoring the Big Man, his fans, the band, and our communal bond in the process.
He touched on it first in a mission statement after "Death to My Hometown": "We're so glad to be here with you tonight at the legendary Apollo Theater. We're glad to be here again — we've missed you. Tonight we've got some old friends and some new friends with us... but our mission remains the same. We're here to bring the power, hour after hour... we're here to put a whoop-ass session on the recession... we're here to bring a smile to your face, an extra beat to your heart, and to raise your spirits high in these hard times."
But it was in the next song, a horn-heavy "My City of Ruins" with a newfound groove, that Springsteen met the elephant in the room head on. "Roll Call!" he shouted, introducing each member of the band, who each took a solo. And when they were done: "Are we missing anybody?" There was a tentative feeling in the crowd as a whole, and one of the most moving moments of the night was as we first wondered, is this really what he means? And the look on Bruce's face as he beckoned said it all. He was giving us permission. "Are we missing anybody?" he asked again, and this time the crowd knew to respond. Soon he was telling us, "The only thing I can guarantee tonight... if you're here and we're here, they're here."
In the encore, "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" brought an even more moving salute to Clarence, Bruce first holding out the mic to the crowd for "kid you better get the picture," and soon bringing the song to a complete halt after "the Big Man joined the band," the crowd hollering in tribute, the moment stretching out before the entire horn section played that quick, signature solo in unison.
These were moments when we acknowledged loss, particularly of Danny and Clarence. Important moments that it felt like we needed, as an audience, and that reminded us of the courage it must take for Bruce and the band to soldier on without their longtime brothers in arms. But we didn't feel just loss all night. We celebrated, we raged, we gasped (jesus, don't let him fall off the balcony, or the tour is over before it starts!), we grooved, and we dug deep into "Soul Music! The Apollo! Home of the Gods and the True Temple of Soul!" In a lengthy and clearly heartfelt salute to the music that is inseparable from the venue and that also nurtured his own musical soul, Bruce described it as "an education." Geography: "Funky Broadway." Math: "99 and a Half Won't Do." Religion: Aretha. Sex Education: Marvin Gaye. "The Wisdom of Solomon... Burke! And of course, the poetry of Smokey Robinson." So many powerful vocalists onstage brought their talents to bear on a superbly arranged "The Way You Do the Things You Do," and Bruce kept the soul train rolling right into Wilson Pickett's "634-5789," as he gave Eddie Vedder and his wall-scaling a run for the money.
The final song of the night, after mixing in more of his own staples like "The Rising" and "Thunder Road," was both another soul classic and a promise to the thousands of fans listening in all night on SiriusXM: Atlanta, Greensboro, Tampa, Boston... "Hold on... we're comin'!"


Zen Archer said...

Anonymous said...

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