This article originally appeared in the 4.15.14 issue of Metroland.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E-STREET BAND
Well, that was interesting.
Thank god for Tom Morello.
It wasn’t a
cookie-cutter show, that’s for sure.
Boss & band began the final week of their five-month “High Hopes” tour with
a wild, sometimes hysterical, sometimes bizarre three-hour show of oddities,
covers, and requests.
It appears that
Albany, believe it or not, is special Bruce place; I just read on a Springsteen
fansite that the T-U is the only place he’s hit on every tour since the
Which I don’t think is quite accurate,
but, hey, somebody said it.
been following the YouTubes you know that this tour has featured unusual
covers, usually related to the town the band was playing in.
Yes, I know what was being said around here,
and no, I didn’t have my hopes up.
mere idea is kind of silly.
But it was still
a little weird that he opened with INXS’s “Don’t Change”, one of several native
covers unleashed during the Aussie leg of the tour.
Then the set rambled on with a handful of
album cuts... “Badlands” five songs in felt like a wake-up call.
But then, you know, these things are
relative—a sleep-walking Springsteen is like almost anyone else at a full
Dude was, as usual, carrying on
like his life depended on it.
things turned seriously left.
pulling people onstage; he started playing requests.
He played “something we worked up in
soundcheck”, a blazing version Roy Head’s classic “Treat Her Right”.
Now, the audience-on-stage thing is a good
gimmick, it’s good schtick, and the dancing-with-Mom moment during an impromptu
“Save The Last Dance For Me” was priceless.
But four straight songs
I had one word stuck in my head
and that word was “Englebert.”
Oh, and they played their killer version
of “Stayin’ Alive.”
Yes they did.
ended as oddly as it started... and from my perspective “Badlands” was the only
true flag-waver in the main set.
wasn’t a bad thing.
I mean, who does
that these days?
And of course, the
hour-plus cavalcade of hits “encore” took care of that omission in spades.
It was a crazy, spontaneous, loose, and ultimately
Steven and Patty Scialfa were not in attendance.
But Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine,
Audioslave) most definitely was.
Freakin’. Moly. Talk about breathing new life... Morello’s solos, alternatively
soaring rock-star wails and agro-noise, brought a startling new dimension to
the proceedings, and improbably fit the E-Street Band like a loud hand in a
And his vocal duet and
guitar playing on “The Ballad of Tom Joad” was for me the emotional and musical
high point of the show.
Like all of
the shows on this tour, this one will be available for download from
Springsteen’s website, maybe even by the time you read this.
You know I’ll be on that like a fly on a meat