Springsteen thrills in return to Fenway

A review of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at Fenway Park on August 14, 2012

, Managing Editor

Red Sox Nation has had a tough go of it this year. Not only have the Sox had a dramatically disappointing season thus far, but recently we lost a true icon in Johnny Pesky. Thankfully, a healer appeared in the form of Bruce Springsteen, whom along with his E Street Band, made the pain go away, at least momentarily, at Fenway Park on Tuesday.

Bruce Springsteen began the new era of concerts at Fenway when he played the first concert on Yawkey Way since 1973 back in 2003 and has been welcomed back warmly with two appearances scheduled this week before he takes on Gillette Stadium. Springsteen, one of America’s most beloved songwriters, playing “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” proved to be a match made in heaven once more as The Boss delivered three and a half hours of Rock N’ Roll bliss to a sold out crowd.

Their show in Boston kicked off the latest American installment of the “Wrecking Ball” tour, after a lengthy stay overseas. Bruce and the band proved that their travels have not taken a toll on them, with an energetic, extended affair at Fenway.

The show kicked off at the usual Sox start time of 7:10 in order to fit as much in before curfew. Old favorites “The Promised Land” and “Out in the Street” warmed up the crowd before a trio of Wrecking Ball tunes were well received. “My City of Ruins” followed, which Bruce prefaced with a story about living with ghosts, which he turned into a fitting tribute to Johnny Pesky as a spotlight was shown on “Pesky’s Pole”.

Springsteen hasn’t slowed down at all over the years, and he showed that on numerous occasions as he travelled across the extensive stage, and into the crowd. He even carried a young fan onto the stage for “Waiting on a Sunny Day”, which was no easy feat.

Of course, Bruce had plenty of help in the E Street Band. Jake Clemons stepped up to fill his uncle’s big shoes, especially with his spot-on solos in “Badlands” and “Spirit in the Night”, amongst others. Nils Lofgren went off, in a very good way, with an amazing solo on “Because the Night”, and fellow guitarist Lil Steven Van Zandt helped Bruce take the show home as the two were inseparable during the encore.

One of the many great things about a Springsteen show is that even though they saved many of their biggest hits for the end of the show, there was never a feeling like the band was holding back and building to something, as fans found complete satisfaction in tunes like “Johnny 99”, “Working on the Highway”, and “The Rising”, before hits such as “Born to Run”, “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out” led to the close.

The show ended with “The Beatles ending”, as Bruce put it, with an extended take on “Twist and Shout” that finished past curfew, as pictures of Johnny Pesky were shown on all the video screens. There isn’t anybody out there right now more dedicated to going above and beyond their audiences expectation as Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, and after a long-suffering baseball season, the Fenway Faithful were truly appreciative.

The Promised Land
Out in the Street
We Take Care of Our Own
Wrecking Ball
Death to My Hometown
My City of Ruins
Spirit in the Night
The E Street Shuffle
Jack of All Trades
Atlantic City
Because the Night
Johnny 99
Darlington County
Working on the Highway
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
Boom Boom
Drive All Night
The Rising
Thunder Road
We Are Alive
Born to Run
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Glory Days
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Dirty Water
Twist and Shout


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