Last November Bruce Springsteen transformed Vancouver with a three hour musical expirience for the ages. For the past 40 years “The Boss” has captivated audiences with epic shows in length and substance. Whether he is walking through the crowd collecting signs posting requested songs from the audience, playing a cover song from bands of yester-year or even breaking out Christmas tunes a month too soon, the crowd is focused on his delivery and eager to give back all the energy sent to them through the power of him and his all mighty E Street Band.
In support of his latest release “Wrecking Ball” Bruce Springsteen has brought what many have called is darkest album to date to the corners of the globe. A full swing world tour that will take longer than one year to complete. He has been busy in the last ten years. This being fourth show in Vancouver since 2003. That maybe out of guilt since he went ten years of skipping Vancouver from 1992 – 2003.
Springsteen started the show with a new track “Shackled and Drawn” then jumped into “Out In The Streets” which requires full audience participation. The chorus of 20,000 back up singers is enough to blow the roof off its support beams. Third song, “Hungry Heart”, we didn’t wait for the chorus. we went through it verse by verse, screaming at the top of our lungs.
The stage set up was standard, but there was a platform that divided the arena floor in two parts. This gave The Boss opportunity to venture out, shake some hands, lead us in a sing-a-long and give a better vantage point for all. Few entertainer would make such an effort, but even fewer would leap into the crowd and trust to be returned to his place at center stage. After three songs he is dripping with sweet, the steam is rising of the crowd the we were barely 20 minutes in.
Over the next three hours we are taken through a history lesson spanning 40 years. His epic song “My City Of Ruins”, about New York on 9/11, was an emotional reminder of such a horrific act. Even within a rowdy party and celebration, a sobering reminder of lifes most difficult days is played. This time however it is played with current events on the table. Hurricane Sandy devestated New York and New Jersey. Leaving people without power for weeks, loss of property and belongings, but most disheartening, loss of life. Springsteen hails from New Jersey and still is proud to call The Garden State home.
New songs “We Take Care Of Our Own” and “Death To My Hometown” set up old classics “Spirit In The Night”, “Because The Night”, “Cover Me”, and “Badlands.” Encore included “Radio Nowhere”, “Dancing in the Dark”,”Born to Run” and the show stopping “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”.
As their Boss would salute his band at shows end:
‘You’ve just seen…the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, house-rocking, earth-quaking, booty-shaking, Viagra-taking, love-making -Le-gen-dary E – Street – Band!”
They’ve had very few new member changes. Unforunately it’s been at the passing on of musicians. Pianist and organist Danny Federici passed in 2008 and Saxophonist Clarence ” The Big Man” Clemons passed in 2011. With great ovations a respectful tribute video was shown. Keeping within the family The Boss didn’t look far to replace Clarence. His nephew Jake Clemons has stepped in seemlessly to fill a huge void left by his beloved uncle. The E Street Band is a valuable part of the show. They are as diverse in their musicianship as Springsteen is to his lyrical content.
Bruce Springsteen is more than an entertainer, more than a musician, more than a poet. He’s also more than all those put together. He is the conscious of society on a musical scale. For 40 years he’s had his finger on the pulse of the day. He’s timeless. You can learn about an era by listening to his words. He’s also remained relevant his entire career. Springsteen doesn’t rely on an era to keep his career going, he writes in the moment, and in the moment he creates work that speaks to a generation. Many brilliant songwriters music don’t match their words brilliance, but Springsteen’s songs are as good musically as they are lyrically. He seems to be the guy each decade telling us, teaching us and involving us in the days events. Singing along to his songs aren’t just words coming out of your mouth, they are answers to the questions being asked in town halls, political campaigns and in the church pulpits across this great land. He’s inviting you to get involved in society. You best to what he says or you’ll get left behind