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Bruce Springsteen – LA Sports Arena, CA, USA, 2012-04-26

2012-04-27

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We almost missed this show getting stuck in LA traffic trying to get off the 110 freeway. The only reason we made it on time was because we took another exit and I “guessed” my way to the LA Sports Arena. Pretty good for someone who’s not been in LA more than a couple of days! Ended up spending 40 dollars on parking, but what are you gonna do right?

This was my first time seeing Bruce Springsteen in the United States, and also my first time seeing the E Street band in an arena, as opposed to a stadium. It felt nice and intimate even though we were on the second balcony. The Boss came on stage playing “Badlands” with the house lights on. There were a lot of songs from Wrecking Ball, which I was happy about since I think it’s his best album since The Rising. The title track sounded amazing, and it holds a special place in my heart after being an honorary New Jerseyan for four and a half years of my life, having driven by the old Giants Stadium countless times.

Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine was in attendance, and played guitar on four songs. My wife actually spotted Morello in the stands across from us before the show started. Morello came prepared with his huge pedalboard. He played an amazing solo in “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” a song he covers with his Nightwatchman solo project. Between songs Morello, who was wearing a “Born to Run” t-shirt, would sit in the stands enjoying the show. It was really cool to see such an established musician enjoying a rock concert as a fan – you could tell he really dug “Born to Run.”

Bruce was in great shape as always. It’s really hard to believe he’s 62 years old. At one point he went out in the middle of the audience, where he chugged a beer he was given, and then proceeded to make his way back to the stage by crowdsurfing the entire way! He did a kneeslide across the stage, and leaned so far back holding on to his mike stand during “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” I thought he was going to break his back.

There were two tributes to the late Clarence Clemons, during “My City of Ruins” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.” During the latter Bruce asked “Are we missing anybody?” upon which images of Clarence was displayed on the screens while the music stopped for a (not so silent) minute. People were cheering for Clarence, and many in the audience were doing the “we’re not worthy” bowing gesture that had become so popular during the past couple of tours whenever The Big Man played a solo.

Speaking of Clarence, his nephew Jake Clemons did an excellent job filling his uncle’s shoes. He got a couple of standing ovations throughout the night. It seems he’s the only worthy successor to The Big Man. Bruce brings along a horn section for this tour, and many of the numbers are arranged with that in mind. This was also the first concert I’ve seen where he’s brought the missus along, Patti Scialfa. Even though Patti was there Springsteen still brought Soozie Tyrell along, bringing the total number of musicians on stage, Springsteen included, to seventeen, eighteen if you count Michelle Moore who joined The Boss for “Rocky Ground.” That’s a lot of people to put on your payroll.

The setlist was pretty good, although I still have not gotten to hear “Rosalita” at any of the six Springsteen shows I’ve been to. “She’s The One” was definitely the highlight of the night, with “The Ties That Bind,” “Candy’s Room,” and “Apollo Medley” being close contenders. Since we were in California Bruce and The E Street Band treated us to a cover of The Rivieras’ “California Sun” during the encore.

For the last three songs of the encore, “Born to Run,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” the house lights were turned back on. During “Dancing in the Dark” Bruce brought his sister on stage for a dance. All in all it was a great show, not the best I’ve seen from The Boss, but even on an off day he surpasses all other live acts out there. Bruce played some really solid guitar solos throughout the night, an ability he downplays on his albums, and saves for the stage. The solo duel with Tom Morello in “The Ghost of Tom Joad” was nothing short of fantastic with Bruce bringing out the chops from way back when he set out to be the fastest guitar player in Asbury Park.

Setlist:

Start: 20:20

01. Badlands
02. We Take Care Of Our Own
03. Wrecking Ball
04. The Ties That Bind
05. Death to My Hometown (w/ Tom Morello)
06. My City of Ruins
07. The E Street Shuffle
08. Jack of All Trades (w/ Tom Morello)
09. Something in the Night
10. Candy’s Room
11. She’s the One
12. Easy Money
13. Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
14. The Promised Land
15. Apollo Medley
16. The Ghost of Tom Joad (w/ Tom Morello)
17. The Rising
18. Lonesome Day
19. We Are Alive
20. Land of Hope and Dreams

Encore: (22:34)
21. Rocky Ground (w/ Michelle Moore)
22. California Sun (The Rivieras cover)
23. Born to Run
24. Dancing in the Dark
25. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out (w/ Tom Morello)

End: 23:08

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