The last time I saw Bruce Springsteen live, it was in the late 70's at John Carol University in the gym. I had seen Bruce at the Agora prior to that. I thought why would I go to a large venue to see Bruce after having enjoyed him in these small intimate settings. Well I changed that last night. My Honey Bunny took me to see Bruce Springsteen and the new reworked E Street Band in Cleveland at the Q. It was a wonderful show that had all of the power and energy that I remembered from Bruce's early years.
The house lights came up on the anxious crowd at 8:31PM as the band took the stage an hour late and broke into "Badlands". From there on out the rest of the evening was filled with hard driving 50's influenced rock and roll. The band only slowed down for a few songs all night.
"We Take Care Of Our Own". The new "Wrecking Ball" about tearing down Giants Stadium. "The Ties That Bind". The civil war sounding "Death To My Hometown" from Wrecking Ball.
Bruce shouts out "Good Evening Cleveland" to the delight of the crowd. He mentions how he sees old faces, new faces, young faces. there was a mixed bag of fans in attendance but mostly it was an older crowd. He then slides into one of the quiet songs "My City of Ruins". The only song he does from the old Agora days is "The E Street Shuffle".
Bruce keeps his political rhetoric to a minimum this night but gives a little talk about how bad the economy is before performing another slow song from Wrecking Ball, "Jack of All Trades". The Band plays the changing tempo of "Trapped". Then they play the haunting, close to home song "Youngstown" Nils Lofgren has a great guitar solo.
Max Wienburg gets a drum solo during "My Love Will Not Let You Down". The civil war music returns with "Shackled and Drawn" from Wrecking Ball.
"Waiting On A Sunny Day" Bruce leaves the main stage walks through the crowd to a stage out in the middle of the arena. He brings a little girl up on the stage and lets her sing the chorus. The crowd goes crazy. He now carries the girl from the remote stage back to the main stage where Bruce and the girl have a sliding on your knees contest. The little girl definitely wins. A rousing "Promised Land" is next.
A beautiful piano song played by Roy Bittan "Racing In The Streets" quiets the crowd down.
Bruce talks about soul music and his performance at the Apollo Theatre. He performs the Temptations "The Way You Do The Things You Do" Jake Clemons, Clarence's nephew, plays sax just as wonderfully as his father on this song. The band swings into "634-5789". Bruce is out on the stage in the middle of the arena, he crowd surfs back to the stage.
The crowd is up and dancing during "Because The Night", "The Rising", "We Are Alive" from Wrecking Ball. "Light Of Day" finish out the set in a rocking fashion.
Michelle Moore one of the back up singers comes down to the front of the stage to trade vocals with Bruce on "Rocky Ground" from Wrecking Ball.
Hold on there is no slowing down now. "Out In The Street" is rocked ou next. The Cleveland Friday after work anthem "Born To Run" has eh crowd sining and dancing. During "Dancing In The Dark" he brings a girl from the audience up on the stage to dance with him. He now climbs up on the piano to start off "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out". Bruce ends up out on the stage in the middle of the arena when he sings the phrase "and the big man joined the band" there is a visual tribute to Clarence Clemons, who died this past year from complications from a stroke, on the big screens.
For a band with its members in their sixties Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band rocked for 3 hours. The fans stood on their feet and danced for most of the night. I won't wait for thirty years to go back and see Bruce Springsteen again. This is what a large arena show should be in entertainment value and duration. 16 musicians were on stage almost all night. 5 horn players, 2 backup singers, 1 violin/guitar/singer, 2 keyboardists, 1 drummer, 1 percusionist, 3 guitars and a bass player. I rate this a 5 twirl show, don't miss it if it is coming to a town near you. Oh by the way we were sitting behind the stage and Bruce and the band played to us as much as to the front of the stage.