Aftermath: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band at Toyota Center
|Photos by Daniel Kramer/ Click here for a slideshow|
Bruce Springsteen missed the Great Depression - which no doubt bugs him every time he thinks about what a wealth of material those years provided for one of his idols, Woody Guthrie - but he seems determined to make up for it during these days of massive job-shedding, frozen credit and paper-thin stimulus packages.
Judging by 150 minutes of evidence at Toyota Center Wednesday night, the Boss has decided to turn the E Street Band into a traveling medicine show that, if it can't put money in fans' pockets - though, overall, his ticket prices at least took less out - can certainly remind them that, as he sang in vein-popping opener "Badlands," "it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive."
Between Federici and Clemons, mortality has to have been on the band's mind quite a bit over the past year, and several songs - both new and old - dealt with defiance, determination or hope of better days: "No Surrender," "Waitin' On a Sunny Day," "Working On a Dream," "The Wrestler," "The Rising." A few others were pure escapist exhilaration, driven by the band's Texas-size rock 'n' soul sound: "Cadillac Ranch," "Out In the Street," "Working on the Highway," a fumbling but fun "It's Hard to Be a Saint In the City" getting its tour premiere and, of course, "Born to Run."
Nor should it, all things considered. But if the food-bank spiel and somber "Hard Times" was the catch, the rest of the encore was the release. The lights came up, the band lit into "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" - then "Land of Hope and Dreams," Irish flurry "American Land" and a gassed "Dancing In the Dark" - and Toyota Center sang, danced and shook itself into an exhausted frenzy. Hard times may be just outside the door, but as long as Springsteen and the E Street Band are onstage, Gary "U.S." Bonds is in the house and the clock is always frozen at a "Quarter to Three."
Out in the Street
Working on a Dream
The Ghost of Tom Joad
Working on the Highway
It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Kingdom of Days
Born to Run
Encore: Hard Times
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Land of Hope and Dreams
Dancing in the Dark