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Springsteen in NJ May 7th setlist


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Check this out. Springsteen played both Darkness on the Edge of Town and Born to Run albums in their completion back to back last night at a small venue in Red Bank, NJ. It was to celebrate the 30th anniversary for both albums.



Adam Raised a Cain

Something in the Night

Candy's Room

Racing in the Street

The Promised Land


Streets of Fire

Prove It All Night

Darkness on the Edge of Town

* * *

Thunder Road

Tenth Avenue Freeze-out (w/ horns)



Born to Run

She's the One

Meeting Across the River (w/ Mark Pender)


* * *

So Young and in Love (w/ horns)

Kitty's Back (w/ horns)

Rosalita (w/ horns)

Raise Your Hand (w/ horns)

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Darkness and Born to Run in their entirety at the Basie, May 7

Ah, the stuff that dreams are made of... or at least the stuff that fan rap sessions are made of: "They should do the Darkness album start to finish!" Well, they just did, at the 1,500-seat Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ. And it wasn't just a Darkness 30th anniversary celebration -- Bruce and the E Street band tackled the full Born to Run album in order, too, for what he described at the outset as "something we've never done before and you're not gonna see anywhere else." An E Street Band theater show -- finding them packed tighter than ever on a small stage like this, with Nils, Patti, and Soozie all added to the line-up since the theater days -- would have been exceptional enough, but the four Perfect Album Sides of the setlist put this one over the top.

The evening began with the Basie's Rusty Young describing the benefit show's mission, to raise money for the restoration of this 80-year-old theater to its original glory -- "when the ceiling wasn't covered in netting" -- and this night alone brought in more than three million dollars. Young noted that Patti Scialfa is the "honorary co-chair of our capital campaign," and after he asked her for ideas... "tonight is her answer." Generous donations also made it possible, Young said, for 37 wounded veterans to attend the show, talking the bus in from Walter Reed.

Patti came out next to a mighty standing ovation -- "I'm supposed to welcome you, and you're welcoming me!" -- speaking of her and the rest of the band's history at the Basie, and of the importance of saving venues like this one. She was followed by NBC anchor Brian Williams, who goes back a long way as a fan and was clearly psyched just to be talking through Springsteen's mic ("the first and last time that will ever happen"). He recalled hitting the Stone Pony and the Tradewinds back in the day, ever on Bruce-watch; he also touched on the recent loss of Danny Federici, saying that "Great families endure. And great, great bands endure." "The netting is just to keep the larger pieces of debris from falling down," he added, "and if there's an entity that could cause the big ones to fall, it's this group here.... Ladies and gentlemen, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band!"

And with that, it was Darkness, side one, to start the show. "We're gonna start with Darkness, so we don't send you home suicidal!" Bruce quickly aborted "Badlands" seconds in, after a rough start: "We fucked it up already! I knew there was a reason why we didn't do this," he laughed. "Maybe we shouldn't do it!" But they did it. And man, they did it. From track to track, for the first time live, it was Darkness sequenced Bruce originally intended it to be heard, full of intensity from the howls on "Something in the Night" to the seemingly never-ending coda of "Racing in the Street," a straight-ahead "Factory" (not the Bruce/Patti duet of recent years) with Steve on mandolin, the modern twist on "Prove It All Night" as Nils rocked the new solo, and at the end of "side two," a hugely powerful vocal on the title track. Loads of guitar from Springsteen, too -- every solo except that Nils spectacular, in fact. Bruce offered a solo to Steve at one point, which was respectfully declined.

After an only-fitting intermission, Born to Run got the same sequential treatment, offering a distinct reminder of what a freakin' masterpiece it is, as well as of the difference in tone between the two records. After the ferocity of the first set, here Bruce was having a blast, jumping into the crowd on the "Freeze-out" and even being held up by the crowd -- did we mention this was a theater show? Several clambers up on the piano throughout this second set, too. "Tenth" also brought a full horn section to the stage -- "The Mighty Max Horns," as Bruce later called them -- consisting of Mark Pender on trumpet, LaBamba on trombone, Jerry Vivino and Ed Manion on saxes. Pender came back out for "Meeting Across the River," giving his own spin to Mark Isham's original trumpet part for a few minutes of absolute magic, also thanks to the beautfiul accompaniment from Roy and Garry. "Jungleland" had Steve stepping up for a soaring solo, and of course Clarence -- invigorated, up and around for much of this night -- did his thing and did it well.

And that wasn't the end -- as the needle hit the runout groove, Bruce said, "Let's bring out the horns! We've got a few more for you!" And they used the horn section to maximum effect for the entire encore, four bonus tracks starting off with Darkness outtake "So Young and in Love." "Kitty's Back" was next -- "and she's got somebody with her!" Bruce teased at the end, "Kitty's back, and she's got somebody with her!" That somebody was "Rosalita," and finally, Eddie Floyd's "Raise Your Hand" made sure we got an R&B cover in there for the full effect of this '70s theater revival.

It was a particular bygone era brought back to life, a celebration of the band's history and just one of its heydays, and a tip of the hat to a couple of 30th anniversaries... yet as ever with Springsteen, it was most notably moving forward and trying something new at the same time. And playing for a take-'em-all-in-with-one-glance crowd from the orchestra to the balcony, a packed theater practically on top of Bruce and the band (at least compared to where they have been and will be playing in this new millenium), it was the perfect crucible for revisiting the passion and the power of these classic records. An experiment, no doubt -- and an electrifying success.

- May 7, 2008


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It was indeed supposed to be Springsteen. However, i think Scialfa offered the idea that the whole band should perform. Tix were auctioned off and went for between $500 and $1500 each. Benefit show to restore the theater.

I especially like the following:

Generous donations also made it possible, Young said, for 37 wounded veterans to attend the show, talking the bus in from Walter Reed.
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