Friday, November 09, 2007

Bruce in Michigan, November 5, 2007

A quick show, so a pretty quick review.

The band is so tight now that they're wonderful every night, it seems. Last night's setlist certainly wasn't as exciting as Sunday night's in Cleveland, and perhaps I felt a few too many moments where Bruce was playing a role... but it's a really good role -- that of "Bruce Springsteen."

The setlist highlight was "Jackson Cage," which I don't think I've ever witnessed before. It was flawless to my ears, and the transition in to "She's the One" was perfect. The low-light was "Working on the Highway." A good friend of mine tells me that song is a "girl thing."

The line-up for the pit was an extraordinary sight. After 1140 wristbands for 250 pit positions in Cleveland, it was 754 wristbands for 570 pit spots yesterday. Good thing for us, we were 524/525 from the lottery winner. But that's not what made it extraordinary: what did that was that Jerry and Palace personnel lined up all 754 wristband holders on the indoor entry steps by the box office. It looked like the high school class of 1980, from a really big high school, all neatly lined up for a group photo.

Before the show, was talking to Lauren, who mentioned "I'll Work For Your Love." Lori came over, and immediately said how much she hates that one -- as in, she has the CD in the car and hits the skip button when it comes on. I didn't prep Lori for that. So, clearly, Bruce dedicated that song to me: So says my friend Chris. I will concede this: they played it competently. And this: it has dangerous potential to evolve in to "Leap of Faith" lite, including the shtick. And this: Chris has a wicked sense of humor. And so does Bruce.

During the encores, Bruce asked a 6-year old kid up front what happened to the sign he'd been holding. The sign was retrieved, and Bruce held it up for the audience. The sign was a song request, and Bruce played it: "Ramrod." The scene made for a highlight moment for any night, even though it replaced "Kitty's Back" in the setlist. The kid (name is Noah) was in major fist-pump mode (both arms) throughout. Later, Bruce let him play the guitar during "Born to Run," and he ended up with Max's drumsticks. I suspect it's a night he'll never forget.

The crowd was a little weak by comparison to the previous night. There were large sections of the upper bowl sitting empty. Among those who showed up, song recognition was also a bit weak. Those of us on the floor chanted out the audience participation portion, but for "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" it seemed like we were nearly the only ones who knew the words.

The show barely made it to 2 hours, and for all I've defended short shows, it felt short this night.

The 5-song suite at the end was superb; Bruce's solos in Devil's Arcade and Badlands rocked (I think Badlands was Stevie's on some previous tours, but I noticed Bruce took it last night for all it was worth). And, at least from where we were, the sound was great.
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