AUGUST 30, 2016

Stan Goldstein

Some quick, well a lot of thoughts on one of the best ever shows I've seen. Timed in at four hours and 25 seconds.
People always ask me what's the best show I've ever seen, this will definitely be in contention.
Thank you Bruce and the E Street Band for finding the Fountain of Youth and allowing me to drink from it tonight.
What a set list. You never knew what was coming next. We all were hoping he would break the four-hour mark, and he did, making this his longest show ever in the U.S. and second longest show ever.
A friend, who times shows precisely, was timing it and at the end we were both rooting for Bruce to break the four-hour mark. He did.
From the moment Bruce's guitar tech Kevin Buell said to us about 15 minutes before the show "Great set list!" and after hearing an incredible soundcheck, we had a feeling it was going to be a special night.
"Good evening New Jersey," Bruce said as he took the stage at 8:12 p.m. "Are you ready to gamble with the E Street Band? Tonight we're going to play a lot of things we didn't play the last two nights."
And they sure did, how about four tour premieres including only the fifth-ever live performance of "Secret Garden" and only the third time at a "real" show (more on that later). The other tour premieres were a blistering "Kitty's Back," "Pretty Flamingo" (played for only the sixth time since 1978), and "Living Proof" played for the first time since 2009 and only the fourth-time ever at an E Street Band show.
How about another stellar opener of "New York City Serenade" with strings, then we got four straight songs from "Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ" and almost a fifth. "Lost in the Flood" was on the teleprompter but Bruce took a sign request for "Summertime Blues."
Ricki Lee Jones came out during "Spirit in the Night" to sing with Patti Scialfa. She stay onstage for the new few times.
During "Spirit" Bruce took the hat of his Fan No. 1 Obie, who was right up front, and put it on his head for a bit, before giving it back to her.
After "Spirit" Bruce took some signs and the next four songs were sign requests: "Summertime Blues,": "Sandy," "Kitty's Back" and "Incident on 57th Street,"
Before playing "Sandy" Bruce asked "Who's from down at the Shore? We haven't played this one in a while," before holding up the sign for it.
After finishing it Bruce said "It's a beautiful night. This is as good as New Jersey gets."
Great to hear "Kitty's Back": again. Bruce's guitar work was off the charts, and I turned to my friend, who has seen a lot of shows, and he just said "Wow!"
That was followed by "Incident" which you just had a feeling was going to morph right into "Rosalita" and the entire stadium was going nuts. You can't beat that combo.
Before playing "Pretty Flamingo," Bruce said "this is an old song, even older than this old man."
He told a story about living above a luncheonette and ordering the same thing all the time. "I don't like change. I am a creature of habit," he said. "I don't like mustard. Don't give me any of the Grey Poupon and don't put mustard on my hot dog."
He told a story about everyday about 1:20 in the afternoon waiting for this woman to come down the street. "I would do this five days a week," he said. At one point a fan upfront held up a "Cynthia": sign and Bruce said "no her name wasn't Cynthia.":
At then end of it, Bruce said "So like the Rolling Stones sang, you can't always get what you want. Oh, did I mention, sometimes you can. Because if I remember, she had red hair and long sexy legs," as he looked over at Patti. At the end of the song, Patti came over and gave Bruce a kiss and many in the crowd went "awwwhhhhh"
When Bruce was near the crowd during "Out in the Street," someone gave him a T-shirt that he held up to the crowd that said "In the crowd, I feel at home."
Bruce dedicated "Living Proof" to his oldest son, Evan. "I don't know if Evan is still here," Bruce said looking toward Patti. "This is for him."
The next five songs that followed were your "basic" songs (for tonight anyway) starting off with "Candy's Room," followed by "She's the One," "Because the Night," "The Rising," and "Badlands" to close the main set.
It was that five-pack that may cause veterans of many shows to not quite compare this night to St. Louis in 2008 or the second Fenway Park show in 2012 or the final show at the Linc in Philadelphia in 2003. As my one friend said, "those shows never let up."
But that doesn't take away from this being an epic show and one of the best I've ever seen. it was just the spontaneity of this set list, you never knew what you were going to get."
"Born to Run" was suppose to kickoff the encores, but Bruce did an audible and called for "Secret Garden." That was totally awesome. Only the third time "Secret Garden" has ever been played at a "real" show (June 22, 2000 at Madison Square Garden and July 24, 2013 in Leeds, England). The other two times it was played was .on April 5, 1995 on "Late Night with David Letterman" and later that night at a special taping at Sony Studiots.
"Secret Garden" was on the set list (and soundchecked) and was supposed to be played after "Living Proof."
"Jungleland" followed and that was another audible which was not on the set list.
A third audible during the encores was "Twist & Shout" which Bruce said, "I need encouragement!" before playing.
Toward the end Bruce said "You have challenged the E Street Band in E Street Band territory!" and thanked the fans for "three of the best shows we've done It's always a treat to come here!"
It was nice to hear "Glory Days" toward the end and the night finished with a magical "Jersey Girl" as the fireworks were once again set off.
Three tremendous shows capped a legendary night.
Amazing at 66-years-old Bruce and the E Street Band remain on top of their game. As I said the other night they are "The Greatest Show on Earth."
Thank you for making me feel young again.
Some other notes:
Nice moment before the show as Kevin Buell brought out his 86-year-old mother and showed her around the stage. He had some crew members take pictures of him and her and she even put on a guitar.
Danny Clinch was once again shooting photos throughout the show.
The stadium looked pretty packed, this had not been selling well but with word of Bruce playing almost four-hour shows twice last week, this became a very hot ticket and fans were rewarded with a very hot night.
Set list:

1. New York City Serenade (w/strings)
2. Blinded By The Light
3. Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street
4. It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City
5. Spirit In The Night (w Rickie Lee Jones)
6. Summertime Blues (sign)
7. 4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy) (sign).
8. KITTY'S BACK (sign)
9. Incident On 57th Street (sign)
10. Rosalita
12. Atlantic City (sign)
13. I'm Goin' Down
14. Darlington County
15. Working On The Highway
16. Downbound Train
17. I'm On Fire
18. Hungry Heart
19. Out In The Street
21. Candy's Room
22. She's The One
23. Because The Night
24. The Rising
25. Badlands
27. Jungleland
28. Born To Run
29. Dancing In The Dark
30. 10th Ave. Freeze-Out
31. Twist & Shout
32. Glory Days
33. Shout
34. Jersey Girl (with fireworks)

The soundcheck:
Incident on 57th Street
Kitty's Back
Better Days
Blinded By the Light
Does This Bus Stop on 82nd Street
Secret Garden
Pretty Flamingo
Living Proof

Stan Goldstein is the author of the book
"Rock and Roll Tour of the Jersey Shore"

The 200-page edition is your guide and map of the sites Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny and many others made famous (or not so famous) at the New Jersey Shore. It has more than 600 photos, new features and updated listings.