2012 Concerts In Review

March 29 – Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

My first Bruce show. Such a life-altering evening seeing the legendary E Street Band and one of the greatest song writers in rock n’ roll history. Bruce rocked the house, and the E Street Band gave me an experience I will never forget.

June 15 – Phish
Bader Field, Atlantic City, NJ

My second Phish show (Camden 2010 was my first). It was a very groovy night. Atmosphere was so fun, and the amount of good beer consumed by me was great. The first set was very spontaneous and weird, but the second set was possibly the highlight of the weekend. A sick Twist > Piper as well as a memorable David Bowie with all the teases made the second set one of the best 90 minutes of music I ever witnessed.

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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.

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Album no. 12: “Wrecking Ball” – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

Album: “Wrecking Ball”
Band: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
Year: 2012
Single: “We Take Care Of Our Own”
Best Song: “Jack of All Trades”

Tracklist
1. We Take Care of Our Own
2. Easy Money
3. Shackled And Drawn
4. Jack of All Trades (feat. Tom Morello)
5. Death to My Home Town
6. This Depression (feat. Tom Morello)
7. Wrecking Ball
8. You’ve Got It
9. Rocky Ground
10. Land of Hope and Dreams
11. We Are Alive
12. Swallowed Up
13. American Land

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The music world loses a legend

Yesterday had such a spooky aura about it. After I found out the news, I sat in my seat during the Dispatch concert I attended and reflected.

Clarence Clemons’ death was eerily similar to that of the late LeRoi Moore. The tragic illness (Roi’s came after an ATV accident), the ray of hope that everything would be okay and then the turn for the worst.

As a DMB fan, it was the worst day of my life as a musician. Being inspired by DMB – and drawn to them by the sweet and smooth melodies of Moore – I thought no one would ever feel the same pain myself and many other DMB fans felt.

But then I realized that was wrong. Because I felt the same pain millions of E Street fans are feeling despite being a casual fan. It won’t be the same without Clemons and for those like me who have never seen the E Street Band perform, it never will be like the way it should have been.

I used to hate Springsteen. The only credit I gave him was that I thought the E Street Band was incredible and the only reason he’s successful. But as I stopped being an idiot, I realized The Boss was more than just his band. I became a Springsteen fan, with “The Wild, the Innocent…” and “Born to A Run” being frequently played albums on my iPod.

And that leads me to one song. It’s the same song my friend Mark wrote about earlier. I fell in love with “Jungleland” for one reason. No, it’s not its epic length and no it’s not Bruce’s great story telling or emotion-driven singing and lyrics.

It’s that sax solo. Clemons’ defining moment lasts about two minutes on a nine-minute track and it’s one of the most incredible things to hit my ears.

Mark is right, he probably could write a book on what that solo means to him. And I could do the same with Roi. But yesterday made me realize that even the casual E Street fan can feel such a horrible pain with the death of one of the most iconic musicians in rock & roll history.

I cried during the solo, just like I do during some of Roi’s most beautiful moments. I hurt like many did and still do. And I will continue to hurt, because that’s the type of emotion you hear when Clemons plays the sax.

June 18, 2011 was a day the music world suffered one of its worst tragedies. RIP, Big Man. If only I could hear you and Roi jamming in the great big concert hall in the sky.

Day 13: Bruce Springsteen – “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” & “Born to Run”

It’s a double-dose of The Boss today! “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” and “Born to Run” blasted through my beautiful Bose computer speakers today.

“The Wild…” Tracklisting

  1. “The E Street Shuffle”
  2. “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”
  3. “Kitty’s Back”
  4. “Wild Billy’s Circus Story”
  5. “Incident on 57th Street”
  6. “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”
  7. “New York City Serenade”

This album explodes with the opening jam “E Street Shuffle.” I am absolutely in love with the funky guitar work of Springsteen’s and the excellent bass work of Garry Tallent.

The best song off this album is “Sandy,” a perfect description of the boardwalk life of the Jersey Shore. Wildwood and the pre-casino era of Atlantic City come to mind when I hear this song. It was a defining moment in the early song-writing career of Springsteen and is still one of his best-known masterpieces. It separates him from the bad-boy, jock-rock image he has gotten over the years.

Clarence Clemons is one of my favorite musicians of all time. His presence on this album was made right away with “The E Street Shuffle” and also on “Kitty’s Back” and most beautifully on “Rosalita.” The ending solo on “Kitty’s Back” is what this band needs more of. I say LeRoi Moore was the Clemons of DMB, an ultra-talented sax player who made songs what they were with his play and could kill any solo presented to him through the heart and soul he puts into his music.

“Rosalita” is another song I want to briefly talk about. The intro just explodes with sheer awesomeness. Clemons and Tallent make this song cry uncle when they’re done with it.

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“Born to Run” Tracklisting

  1. “Thunder Road”
  2. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”
  3. “Night”
  4. “Backstreets”
  5. “Born to Run”
  6. “She’s the One”
  7. “Meeting Across the River”
  8. “Jungleland”

This is probably Bruce’s greatest piece of work. Each song on this 1975 classic is a hit and showcases the remarkable E Street Band perfectly.

“Born to Run,” “Thunder Road” and “Jungleland” are the three songs people identify with this album the most and rightfully so.

“Born to Run” is probably the most iconic Bruce song of all time. Played at every damn concert, covered my thousands of amateur and cover artists and played in every bar, “Born to Run” is the perfect mix of Bruce’s lyric writing and the band’s rocking ability. This is just another song that showcases Clemons’ solo and backing work.

But the one song that sticks out to me is the funky “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.” I love the bass and Bruce’s riff in this song as well. The horn section also give this song some great support and a fat, rich sound. It sounds like something straight out of The Blues Brothers.

“Jungleland” is the perfect ending to this album. It’s almost 10 minutes long and features one of Clemons’ most iconic solos. It’s about the street life and gang violence in the big city and a desperate attempt to get out. It brings “Born to Run” to a rightful close.