Click on the link below and read to the end for a possible Bruce Springsteen concert tour scoop.
The Times Union Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary. To help commemorate this event, I wrote a story for the Times Union newspaper and interviewed Springsteen’s tour manager George Travis and the Times Union Center’s general manager Bob Belber.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, MetLife stadium, NJ (09/21/12)
By Joyce Bassett
Bruce Springsteen is celebrating his birthday this weekend with with three shows in New Jersey at MetLife Stadium. Friday’s set, the second of three shows, served up a “one for the ages” performance that will be tough to top during the grand finale Saturday, when the crowd-surfing ultimate rock performer turns 63 at midnight.
The betting line on Saturday’s performance at an 82,000-seat football stadium suggests he’ll top Friday’s show.
This week marked Springsteen’s first appearances at MetLife, which opened in 2010. He closed the former Giants stadium next door with five shows in 2009 during his “Working on a Dream” tour. He wrote a song for that special occasion, “Wrecking Ball,” that became the title track of his latest album.
His references to Jersey during Friday night’s show brought huge roars from the nearly sold-out arena, with general admission ticket holders filling up the floor. He dipped back into his early albums and certainly felt right at home, introducing those songs with storytelling, a trademark of his early ’70s and ’80s shows. He explained “Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street?,” from his 1973 debut album, was written during a bus ride through uptown Manhattan. (It was also part of his demo for John Hammond of CBS Records which earned him a recording contract.)
The “Wrecking Ball” songs are still a core part of the tour’s stadium shows. The lyric’s reference to “the arena’s filled and Giants played their games” at the home field of the Super Bowl champs provided a comparison to early shows on the tour, including the band’s April visit to Albany.
Seeing Bruce early in a tour and at arenas is like going to watch the Giants during spring training in Albany: arena shows are more intimate, the sound is terrific and the atmosphere is subdued but often thrilling. At stadium shows, the sound isn’t as good, some seats are far, far away from the action — but the atmosphere is beyond-incredible.
In spring training, Giants players are starting a long journey on the road to reaching a Super Bowl. On tour, Springsteen builds on and perfects his setlist, building up to ultimate performances that showcase an entire tour, like Friday night in New Jersey.
And the big plays are bigger. At each Springsteen concert, you have your tour premieres and surprises. In Albany, an acoustic rarity “Janey Don’t You Lose Heart” was the talk of Twitter during and after the show. The “Born in the USA” songs “Darlington County” and “Downbound Train” also made their debuts in Albany.
Hometown Springsteen shows are special moments. The Times Union Center in Albany is the only venue to be included in every Springsteen tour since the E Street reunion — Reunion, Rising, Magic, Working on a Dream, Wrecking Ball and High Hopes — plus an appearance on the 2005 solo Devils & Dust tour. We have been fortunate.
It was a night to remember, forever. Here’s a gallery of memories.
Had a few beers at Stout on Broadway and headed over to the show. My sister, niece and her husband were in line for wristbands just ahead.
So my sister and family were 160s and I was 222. Here we are in line and before the show.
My sister and her family made it into the pit. We were about 20 people from the cut. I was devastated but knew we would get an awesome spot in the secondary floor section.
We secured a terrific spot with a nice lean on the ramp, center stage. My niece took these incredible photos of the Albany show from the pit area.
We were fortunate to hold Bruce’s legs during “10th Avenue.” During my first Springsteen show, in 1978, I also held Bruce’s leg during an encore. He looked down and remembered me from that Troy show, I’m certain. If anyone has a video of the Albany “10th Avenue” I’d love to see it! The ones on YouTube show Clarence on the screen and don’t show Amanda and I as we clutched his legs. My brother-in-law took a photo of Bruce’s behind.
We got a copy of the setlist. Would have enjoyed “Dream Baby Dream” but “Thunder Road” took its place.
The next day our sign appeared in a concert photo display on Page 1 of the Schenectady Gazette newspaper.
The glorious official release of the December 31, 1980 show from the Nassau Coliseum from the Springsteen archives now calls for a re-evaluation of the show’s length and its ranking among the longest-ever Springsteen shows.
That topic is of particular interest here, and was previously explored on this site in June of 2012, when Bruce was playing a remarkable series of shows in Europe, approaching his all-time records and finally, on the last night of the tour in Helsinki, cracking the four-hour mark.
The Nassau show had for years been regarded as the longest-ever (until July 31, 2012), and with the benefit of a complete recording running at proper speed, it can now be properly measured…and perhaps properly ranked.
Obtaining an accurate measurement:
The official recording of the Nassau show runs 3:47:21. Applying principles previously explained here, the measurement of the show starts with Bruce’s first words to…
After a short layoff, I’m back listening to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live shows. When a tour ends, I have to take a step back. I sometimes get overwhelmingly sad thinking “did I see my last E Street Band concert?” I’ve been to many concerts the past few months — including Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne, Bob Seger with J Geils, Southside Johnny and the Jukes. Southside, Seger and J Geils were tremendous concerts. Ryan Adams and Ray LaMontagne: love the music, hate the stage presence. But I would see them both again. To overcome my post-tour Bruce depression, I just downloaded the Aug. 9, 1978 Springsteen show, which was just a few months before my first Springsteen concert: Nov. 12, 1978. So now it’s time to put in ear buds, shovel and feel like I’m 16 again.