Is August 30 MetLife one of the best U.S. Springsteen shows ever? For me it was

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Tuesday night, August 30, 2016, was my 24th Springsteen show.  I walked from my house in Troy to my first show, when I was 16. My second show was the first date with my husband, The River Tour in Buffalo 1980, and we just celebrated 35 years together.  I have been in the front row a few times: I’ve held Bruce’s legs for an entire song.

Now I’ve seen  a record-breaking (4 hour, 1 minute) marathon: the third Metlife Stadium concert of the River Tour 2016 in New Jersey.

Caryn Rose (@carynrose) at Backstreets called it “… a night of epics, of grandeur, of the E Street Band occupying the cavernous expanse of MetLife Stadium with the full range of their talent.”

Bobby Oliver of nj.com  wrote: “… length achievements should be tossed aside, as this wasn’t some cookie-cutter hit parade that managed to run a few moments over — for many Bruce diehards it was a bonafide dream set.”

Jay Lustig (@jaylustig) also had a review/story for USA Today/The Record, which included a wrapup of all three MetLife shows .

Was it the best of the three shows? It’s hard to say. They all had their special moments. Aug. 23 had “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and the debut of the string section, for instance. Aug. 25 had Tom Morello’s thrilling guitar solo on “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and the onstage participation of a just-engaged couple during “Jersey Girl.” This one had … well, all kinds of good stuff, as I’ve just written.

Let’s call it a draw, and note how amazing it is that Springsteen is still finding ways to make every night special.

People always ask me after a show: “How  does the show compare to others you’ve seen?”

It was the BEST SHOW , and here’s why:

      1. Bruce made me feel alive, 16 years old and like I was back at RPI Field House in 1978. From an $8 ticket to a $150 ticket. Still priceless.

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      2. Bruce made me feel all of my 54 years, and then some. I took the entire week off for this, and I’ll need it.  at Blogness on the Edge of Town wrote a story about Springsteen’s  middle-age fans. We got in line at 11:30 a.m. and the show ended at midnight. We didn’t stand and stay in line the whole time, but it was a marathon day sitting in the blazing sun. The big question while in line: how much hydration do I need without having to go to the bathroom.
      3. “New York City Serenade” started the show. It is the song I named this blog after — the tune I remember the most playing while sitting in my room as a 16-year-old. (I’ll update the video below when an Aug. 30 vid gets posted.)
      4. “Jungleland” returns. The first time for me since the reunion tour. Bruce’s embrace of Jake after his solo was a touching — yet joyful — moment. Oh, and right before that, “Secret Garden” played for only the third time live.

5. Being part of the pit in Jersey. I always wanted to catch Bruce in one of those seaside bars, and it really felt like a crowded, crazy nightclub down there. Twice I had beers dumped down the back of my legs. No problem. My white Chuck II Converse sneakers went in the wash when I got home and survived. The fans were crazy, fun, a few times annoying, sign-crazy, beer-soaked, smelly — simply wonderful.IMG_5255

6. Meeting some fabulous Brucebuds.  We hung out all day with Ellen Koreman of Nijmegen and Marjan Dijkstra of Alkmaar — traveling companions from the Netherlands who became friends during this tour at a concert in Brussels and on a whim got tickets a week ago and flew in on Sunday. Marjan gave up two weeks of holidays to arrange it with her (other) boss.

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7. Partying at Redds and taking the shuttle.  The staff at Redds were all amazing and parking at the bar took all the hassle away. Meanwhile, we were houseguests Monday and Tuesday with our close friends Sandy (yes, my Jersey friend’s name is a Bruce song on the setlist, of course) and Jim and being able to bring our dog, Bruce, to meet their West Highland Terrier Otis. All made it a perfect few days just a couple hundred turnpike miles away.IMG_2924

8. The setlist highlights in the first half were off the charts: “Blinded By The Light,” “Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street,” “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City,”  “Spirit In The Night,” “Summertime Blues,” “Sandy,” “Kitty’s Back,” and “Pretty Flamingo.” “Incident” into “Rosalita” I have a short video below. You can hear the anticipation and excitement of the crowd as Roy Bittan polishes off the final chords and Bruce waits for the segue.

9. Then “Atlantic City” into “I’m Going Down.”

 

10. Then “Living Proof” into “Candy’s Room” into “She’s the One.” 

If I were to spend a weekend with my most knowledgable Springsteen pals and try to develop the ultimate setlist, the one unleashed August 30 at Metlife would be close. I told my pal Deb, who saw Bruce for the first time Tuesday night with a full band, that she needed to see at least one more show because “Thunder Road” was missing. And so it begins …

Check out this amazing MetLife3 YouTube playlist

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9 Comments

  1. There were a few moments last night where his face almost seemed like it was morphing into his much younger self. Miami Steve….not so much ;^)
    I am a very lucky person in that I got to see the band many times pre-1980. Last night sure looked familiar. And not to bum you out, but I couldn’t help but think that EVERYone of the buds I attended those shows with has taken their final journey. But as Bruce has said, “If your here, and we’re here,…..they’re here.” They were DEFINITELY here.
    Beautiful review.
    Keep on chooglin’!

  2. Hi Joyce. It was a long trip to New Jersey but most worth it. The concert was fantastic and what a setlist!!! A perfect day hanging around with you and Mike! Funny to read your article. Your name is going around in The Netherlands now. The concert and after that my visite to Asbury Park and The Stone Pony made my journey complete and unforgettable! Whish you all the best!
    Ellen Koreman

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Nijmegen is Albany’s sister city … we adopted your city after World War II. We just had a reporter there for the walk of the world celebration!
      http://m.timesunion.com/tuplus-local/article/World-War-II-era-Dutch-film-thanking-Albany-for-7233119.php http://www.timesunion.com/us-dutchconnection/
      So the adoption process continued so to speak! It was wonderful spending the day with you and Marjan! Wish you the best as well! Hope to see you next tour!

      1. Hope you and Mike and the rest of your famile are ok. I m very busy and had not the time for looking up what the news is here about the adoption thing and the band between Albany and Nijmegen. Look what I found. http://www.gelderlander.nl/regio/nijmegen-e-o/nijmegen/amerikaanse-stad-albany-krijgt-nijmeegse-les-1.6285121
        I hope you can translate the page because it tells something interresting for a remember Albany helped Nijmegen. In May 2017 it is 70 years ago. Albany will organize something on Tulipday. Does that say you something?

  3. Loved your heartfelt review. So funny that your 2nd show in Buffalo 1980 was also MY 2nd show. My 1st was a couple of nights before in Rochester> As a SUNY Buffalo student, my frat bro’s and I took the 1 hour trip to Rochester in early December 1980, my 1st show. We came out of the show to a BLIZZARD. It took us almost 4 hours to get back to Buffalo. 2 nights later was the tour debut of Santa Claus and I was hooked. I was at MetLife on 8/30 with my wife and a few of my frat bro’s from that Rochester/Buffalo tour were in the house too. I think we all had tears. A phenomenal show I will never forget!!

  4. Great review! This was my 16th Springsteen show and was also the best show I’ve seen. It’s amazing that at age 67 and a 45 year career, he can still manage to wow and surprise even the most diehard of fans.

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