Monday, September 03, 2012

Good Rockin' Tonight - Philadelphia, September 2, 2012

Bruce Springsteen opened a 2-night stand at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park last evening with a 32-song 3 hour, 43-minute set.  Again, this is the opening night of a two-night stand.  Tonight he comes back to try and top it.

Bruce goes back a long way in Philadelphia, and yesterday he made sure to remind the crowd of his long roots here, going back to when he played the Main Point 40 years ago.  This was evident not only during between-song chatter during the show, but also in references to Philly inserted in to song performances:  During "Sherry Darling" early on, he was stuck in traffic in Philadelphia, and later on he referenced -- with plenty of f-bombs for all the kids down front -- the experience of coming down the New Jersey Turnpike to get to Philly.

In a sense, the show really started with an are you fucking kidding me??? sound check that included the very rarely played "None But the Brave," the once-ever played "County Fair," and finally, after Bruce noticed that the first thousand or so patrons were inside the stadium, the never-played "TV Movie."  I'll be the first to note that there are compelling reasons why none of these songs made it to Springsteen albums -- the first two didn't even make it to the "Tracks" collection -- but still, there was more than a little shock value in the sequence.  "TV Movie" sounded, uhhh... just about ready for prime time, with a rollicking piano solo from Roy Bittan.

The main show opened with a number I've wanted to hear Bruce perform for some time:  "Summertime Blues."  Although the show was geared toward a stadium setting and thus filled with for-the-masses moments, Bruce still worked in some lesser-played numbers as part of the requests.  One early example in the show was "Lost in the Flood," with a stunning guitar attack at the end.  Another sign request produced the rarely played, and somewhat ragged Elvis number "Good Rockin' Tonight"; on this one the horn procession to the front of the stage punctuated the final section of the song.  One surprising highlight was "Human Touch," played hard and fast.  And then, I finally got to hear "Jersey Girl," played for a man who brought his infant daughter to the show (yes, she was cute, but... really?  At least she looked like she had good headphones); Bruce ended that one by calling out a string of New Jersey shore towns.  The sign requests were good, in that sense, but there were also a few that hardly seemed worth it (e.g., "Cadillac Ranch," "I'm On Fire").

Bruce ended the show by hauling out the Dovells' local classic "You Can't Sit Down," followed by a dance-party version of "Twist and Shout" that had fans in the upper deck visibly swaying.  It rained heavily before the show, but during the show the rains held off.  A few minutes after the show ended, heavy rain resumed.  Bruce's magic, it seemed, had worked just well enough while the show was in progress.