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March 30, 2012 / jhsaeger

Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball Tour Swings In Philadelphia

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa., 3/29/12 

   On Wednesday evening, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band played the first show of a two-night stand at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. Springsteen, who extended his record run of sellouts in both the Wells Fargo Center and the now-demolished Spectrum to 52 (soon to be 53 following Thursday’s performance), played the longest set to date of his Wrecking Ball Tour, 25 songs that ran approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes to a city that he has fostered a unique relationship with throughout his entire career.
  The relationship was most evident during the show’s second number, “Wrecking Ball,” where he allowed the crowd to boo his beloved New Jersey after singing the line “and Giants play the game.” Springsteen made note of their history before delving into the rarity “Seaside Bar Song,” telling the audience that he had penned the song after seeing Bo Diddley play a show at the Main Point (also the site of his first-ever beer) in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
  Throughout the show, Springsteen and his ever-growing ensemble carefully wove in his newest material with his biggest hits, playing eight songs from the recent Wrecking Ball in short spurts no longer than two songs apiece. The remainder of the set tackled songs from different moments of the E-Street Band’s career and even included covers of The Temptations, Wilson Pickett, and Eddie Floyd. Most of the crowd seemed to react best to the band’s timeless songs like “Born To Run,” “Thunder Road,” “Lonesome Day,” and “The Rising,” while giving select songs from the new record their due.
  There were many unforgettable moments for the fans in attendance, ranging from the woman Springsteen effortlessly scooped up and deposited into the crowd following a “Dancing in the Dark” soiree, the 12-year-old boy who sang the final verse of “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day” with Springsteen, the two sections who allowed Springsteen passage so he could disappear into the seats for a moment to swipe (and drain) a Boss-dubbed “warm” beer,” and those standing in the general admission area who slowly returned a sweaty front man to his band following a stage dive. How many 62-year-old icons stage dive? Not to be left out, the fantastic drum battle between Max Weinberg and percussionist Everett Bradley (also of the Hall & Oates band) was among this incredible series of events that breathed life into the arena.
    The lone missing piece of the evening was his longtime cohort Clarence Clemons, who  had passed away last year. You wouldn’t have known it had you closed your eyes, however, as his nephew Jake Clemons brought the same soul and spirit throughout the concert that his uncle had night after night alongside Springsteen. The bandleader noted the saxophone player’s absence on two occasions: briefly during band introductions, but most notably on the set’s closing number, “Tenth-Avenue Freeze-Out.” A long pause after the line, “the Big Man joined the band” gave birth to a long, raucous ovation where the City of Brotherly Love simply rejoiced for one of the most beloved musicians to grace its contemporary stages.
It was the longest, loudest ovation I have ever heard, and much like the night (my first experience with the Springsteen and E-Street Band), I will never, ever forget it.
1)      We Take Care Of Our Own                             11) She’s The One
2)      Wrecking Ball                                                 12) Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
3)      Badlands                                                        13) The Promised Land
4)      Death To My Hometown                                 14) The Way You Do The Things You Do/634-589
5)      My City of Ruins                                            15) American Skin (51 Shots)
6)      Seaside Bar Song                                            16) Lonesome Day
7)      Does This Bus Stop At 82ndStreet?                  17) The Rising
8)      Jack Of All Trades                                          18) We Are Alive
9)      Atlantic City                                                   19) Thunder Road
10)  Easy Money                                                    Encore:
20) Rocky Gound (with Michelle Moore)
21) Land of Hope and Dreams
22) Born to Run
23) Dancing in the Dark
24) Raise Your Hand
25) Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out


Leave a Comment
  1. Rosie / Mar 30 2012 2:22 am

    Thanks, John, for capturing the magnificence of the concert. If I knew, I forgot that it was your first concert. Lucky guy – easily the best Bruce show I have seem since the reunion tour in 99. This will be a marker for the rest of your life, as my first show was 32 years ago. So glad that folks in their 20s have joined the tramps like us in our 50s and beyond. Bruce is of the moment…

  2. John Saeger / Mar 30 2012 3:25 am

    Easily the most age-diverse crowd I've ever seen… I could have written 2,000 words about the show, as it is I uncharacteristically wrote that in less than 45 minutes because it was so inspiring. I also figured that I didn't need to write how well the band played, because with these guys it's a given. I'm not saying its the best show I've ever been to, but its real close.

  3. John Saeger / Mar 30 2012 3:28 am

    I'll also admit that I omitted the congo-Max drum battle… I kept thinking the whole show that he looks and plays like the guy from Hall & Oates, and it was

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