Thursday, April 19, 2012

Yes We Fucking Can - Cleveland, April 17, 2012

Just before 5pm last night, I left my office in downtown Detroit. I wasn't quite sure where I was going... But then I pointed the car south and realized, "I can be in Cleveland by 8!"

And that was all I needed to cap off my birthday week. There would be friends at the show, if I could find them. Dinner? That could wait until 2am. Who cares, when the shows are this compelling?

I bought a ticket on the street (another personal first) and made my way in. But not before being wanded. My new point&shoot? Busted! Ah, well, who cares, when the shows are this amazing?

Finally, the lights went up. As at Madison Square Garden a week earlier, Bruce and the band came out as fully lit Marlboro Men... err... gunslingers, as the theme from The Magnificent Seven blared over the house speakers. The band tore in to "Badlands" to open the show.

If there was a theme to last night's show, I'd put it at about, "rock the goddamned house down." One early highlight for me was "Death to My Hometown"; my "official" duties my first two shows had prevented me from witnessing it. And, without any children to keep an eye on, I could pay more attention to the show's details. Things like the lights playing off of Max's drumbeats.

Leading up to the introductions in "My City of Ruins," Bruce made light of Patti's absence by calling out for his baby as he approached first Little Steven and then Garry Tallent, finally singing out that Garry Tallent's just not enough. He also sang the "if we're here and you're here then they're here" part.

For the show in Cleveland, it was almost a given that Bruce would play Youngstown, punctuated by Nils' fiery solo. But Bruce cut the building tension from that song with the tour premiere of My Love Will Not Let You Down, ending that one with the triple guitar gunslinger assault. That Bruce appeared to have to remind Steve that it was time to play guitar was more than forgivable, given the results.

For "Waiting on a Sunny Day," Bruce broke with the pattern of picking a child near the stage to sing along. Instead, he went around to the riser at the back of the pit, and quickly picked out from behind the pit barrier, a young girl whose family had just missed "winning" in the pit lottery. He then brought the girl all the way back to the stage for the knee slide. Many long-time fans don't want to hear about "Waiting On a Sunny Day," but that was about as sweet as it gets.

"Shackled and Drawn" gave a chance for Cindy Mizelle to shine, and for her and Bruce to do a dance that seemed more sensual than at last Friday's show. And "Racing in the Street" put the spotlight, finally, on Roy Bittan.

But the biggest -- or at least loudest -- musical highlight of the night was with another Reunion Tour staple: "Light of Day." I wasn't initially thrilled to hear this song as a replacement to "Thunder Road," but the way Bruce tore in to it, while working in substantial snippets of Land Of 1000 Dances and You Can't Sit Down, pretty much tore the roof off the arena. (as an aside: noted that that made it 2 Wilson Pickett songs making their way in to the set)

Before "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," the "Springsteen for President" poster that had been brought on stage by Little Steven in Auburn Hills, made another trip to the stage. This time it was joined by a "Van Zandt for Vice President" poster. As they each held up the other's poster, Bruce announced in to the microphone, "Yes we fucking can!!" A new motto, it seems to me.

Did it measure up to the Buffalo show? Not quite; nothing really could. But as I finished up the trip home at almost 4am, I was pretty glad for the evening's detour.

Post a Comment