Worth the Cost to see The Boss

Worth the Cost to see The Boss

by JasonBryan / Mar 25, 2016 / 1 comments
Thursday, 17 March 2016

1,2,3,4! Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen & the E Street Band played the middle show of their three-night stay at the LA Sports Arena on St. Patrick’s Day. From the sea of green shirts flooding the arena to the special beer selection of Guinness available for this show only, it was hands down the most memorable St. Pat’s of my life.

1,2,3,4! They opened with “Meet Me in the City” (an outtake first released on the extended edition or The River.) A fitting song considering that’s what the City of Angels crowd was there to do. Bruce exploded with his signature energy from the moment he emerged on stage. The house lights remained on for pretty much the entire song, which was odd, but I came to realize its part of his gimmick to see the crowd in order to interact with it. And other than being different it was nice seeing the crowd.

1,2,3,4! After the opener he set the tone for the heart of this tour, “The River,” his 1980 coming of age double album. Bruce introduced the album by talking about how these tracks were meant to cover the full range of emotions. Over the course of the next 20 songs he hit every heart-string and memory in a way that only rock and roll can. The album is a fan favorite, and these fans were very excited to sing along to their favorite tracks. Springsteen encouraged the crowd to full-out sing the entire first verse of “Hungry Heart” without him, and they passionately did. He then followed by singing the first verse again, just to make sure no one was disappointed that they didn’t get to hear The Boss sing their favorite lines.

1,2,3,4! By now you may have noticed and started wondering why I start every paragraph with 1,2,3,4! Well, let’s just say every joke or jab you ever heard about Springsteen saying “1,2,3,4,” is completely warranted. He must find a way to count-off “1,2,3,4,” four times a song. It’s amazing, hilarious, and somehow a fitting part of the non-stop rock that The Boss and the E Street Band are known for. And by non-stop rock I mean it. He takes a moment or two to address the crowd here and there. But the band never stops. Max Weinberg pounds the drums with an intensity that is hard to believe anyone could maintain for an hour, none the less a 64 year old man for 3 solid hours. Its impressive, even when the other band mates have a lull between songs, not Max, he continues to lay the foundation of the signature Big Beat the E Street Band is known for. The audience attention never dips. The E Street Band is unique in the sense that two of its members, Max Weinberg and Steven Van Zandt, are both famous for being on TV outside of the band. Now I’m not saying their success in the E Street Band didn’t open the doors to them, but they may be more recognized by the general public for their TV roles; Max Weinberg as Conan O’Brien’s bandleader, and Steven Van Zandt for his portrayal of Silvio Dante on The Sopranos. But the die-hard Springsteen fans find those stints second fiddle to their true calling in rock and roll.

1,2,3,4! Springsteen’s stage presence is legendary and deserved. The non-stop rocking is just part of it. He interacts with the crowd, he walks into the crowd, he even crowd surfed from the middle of the floor back to the stage, and I thought crowd surfing didn’t make it out of the ‘90s. He embraces the fanbase as part of the band. After all what is a band without listeners?

1,2,3,4! You’re thinking enough with the 1,2,3,4! Nope. Once he worked his way through The River he was now free to play from anywhere in his catalogue and he delivered a variety of hits and hidden gems. “Badlands”, “Backstreets”, “The Rising”, “Born to Run”, and “Dancing in the Dark” were just some of the hits The Boss and the band delivered. He even squeezed in a little something special for St. Patrick’s day playing “American Land” from his Live in Dublin album.

1,2,3,4! For the first time the band took a 10 second break before coming going into “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” which contained an emotional jumbotron tribute to the late Clarence Clemons, whose spot has been wonderfully filled by his Nephew Jake Clemons. “Have you got anything left in the tank?” The Boss belted out to a still enthused crowd over 3 hours into the show. The crowd screamed in response. “1,2,3,4!” The band went into a cover of the Isley Brothers “Shout”. They played the most rocking version of the song ever. You’d be amazed how slow you type when raising your hands over your head, “shout” every sentence, but that performance sticks with you.

Throughout my life I’ve heard his fans respond to people that claim to not get Springsteen, with the same line, “You’ve got to see him live.” Having finally seen The Boss I can say they are correct. His legendary performer status is undeniable and his stage presence is arguably unequaled. I was a little disappointed he didn’t play some hits like, “I’m on Fire”, “Born in the USA”, and most notably “Glory Days”, but there is something to be said for always leaving them wanting more. After over three hours of non-stop rock at such an incredible intensity, it’s perfectly reasonable to accept that it has to be another day.

Rating out of 11: 

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