Bruce’s “Wrecking Ball” Tour Crashes Through Philly

Rocker Bruce Springsteen dances with his mother, Adele, during "Dancing In the Dark" on Thursday, March 29, 2012 in Philadelphia. (Photo via NJ.com)

Seeing the E Street Band live must be checked off an avid concert-goers check list. And despite the loss of Clarence Clemons last June, the band hasn’t sounded any better than it has this year.

With new life breathed into the E Street Band, the backing musicians for rock legend Bruce Springsteen, they were set to bring down the walls of the Wells Fargo Center with their “Wrecking Ball” Tour.

Springsteen opened up with three of the first four songs off the new album, sprinkling in the “Born to Run” classic “Night” carefully in between “Wrecking Ball” and “Death of My Hometown.”

During “Wrecking Ball,” which is about the late Giants Stadium and growing up a New York football fan, the crowd booed mercilessly when Springsteen mentioned the Meadowlands and sang the line “and the Giants play the game.”

“Night,” the first song to feature The Big Man’s nephew Jake Clemons, was one of five songs played for the first time on this young tour. Clemons was on fire the whole show, keeping his uncle’s body of work well and alive during classic songs such as “Thunder Road,” “Kitty’s Back” and “Born to Run.”

Young Clemons’ playing wasn’t the only way The Big Man was kept a live all night.

After the opening four-song run, Springsteen did the band introductions during “My City of Ruins.” After announcing the names of everyone on stage, Springsteen asked the crowd if he forgot anyone. After 20,000-plus people shouted “Clarence,” Springsteen let the people know that Clemons is well and alive with the E Street Band.”

“If you’re here, and we’re here, then they are here” Springsteen said during the most emotional moment of the night, referring to the late Clemons as well as organ soloist Danny Federici who died in 2009.

But the tributes weren’t over for the Big Man. During the last song of the show, “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” the band stopped playing and let the crowd cheer during CC’s moment in the song.

It was one of the many highlights during the show. Springsteen sought out a young fan in the crowd to sing the refrain of “Waiting On A Sunny Day” as well as acknowledge a sign that read “Thundercrack for my dad in Iraq.”

The band obliged to the song request and played a roaring version of the outtake from the “Wild, Innocent…” sessions in 1973.

The best performance of the night though belonged to “Kitty’s Back.” The horn section that Springsteen brought on tour with him soloed during the middle jam as well as two nasty Hammond organ solos by Charles Girodano and a thrilling piano solo by The Professor Roy Bitton.

Bruce’s 90-year-old mother, Adele, was also in attendance. Springsteen introduced her to the crowd earlier in the show and then pulled her up on stage during “Dancing in the Dark.” The two then danced during the outro and Clemons’ solo at the end of the song, bringing the roaring crowd to its feet. It was one of the single coolest moments at a concert.

The Boss and company rocked Philly, where he has sold out shows over 50 times between the Spectrum and Wells Fargo Center.

“We’ll be back,” he concluded the show with. If the deaths of Federici and Clemons couldn’t stop this band right now, nothing will.

Setlist

  1. We Take Care Of Our Own
  2. Wrecking Ball
  3. Night (Tour Premiere)
  4. Death to My Hometown
  5. My City of Ruins
  6. Thundercrack
  7. Jack of All Trades
  8. Trapped (Jimmy Cliff cover) (Tour Premiere)
  9. Easy Money
  10. Prove It All Night
  11. Darkness on the Edge of Town (Tour Premiere)
  12. Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
  13. The Promised Land
  14. Medley: The Way You Do the Things You Do/634-5789
  15. Streets of Philadelphia (Tour Premiere)
  16. The Rising
  17. We Are Alive
  18. Thunder Road
  19. Encore:
  20. Rocky Ground (Dedicated Song to His Mom)
  21. Kitty’s Back (Tour Premiere)
  22. Born to Run
  23. Dancing in the Dark (Danced With Mom)
  24. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
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