Friday, November 2, 2012

"We Are a Band You Cannot Separate from the Jersey Shore": Springsteen State College Recap

I am finally getting around to blogging this afternoon following a late night in State College. (Kudos, I might add, to the Penn State traffic crew who got us out of the parking lot in about five minutes.  They know how to manage traffic.  I guess that's what happens when you have a football stadium that seats over 100,000).

Springsteen, as usual, did not disappoint.  The Bryce Jordan Center was filled with Penn State students, many of them attending their first Springsteen concert.  Many came with Red, White, and Blue headbands and shirts (there were even a few American flags), suggesting that many young people associate Springsteen with the "Born in the USA" album.  Springsteen was clearly energized by the college crowd.  We sat next to a couple of Penn State parents from New Jersey.

Springsteen opened the show with a rare performance of "Lion's Den" (in honor of the Penn State Nittany Lions), but the rest of the show was total Jersey Shore.
  •  I really resonated with "We Take Care of Our Own" in the wake of hurricane Sandy.  He and the band opened the show with it (after "Lion's Den").
  • Bruce was very somber during "Wrecking Ball."  Instead of singing "my home's here in the Meadowlands" he sung "my home is at the Jersey Shore."  He also changed a preposition in the song from "When all your hopes and desires are scattered in the wind." to "When all your hopes and desires are scattered by the wind."  I am not sure how many people caught this subtle lyric change.
  • Bruce continues to give a short sermon about "ghosts" and "remembering" as part of his performance of "City of Ruins."  This time he talked specifically about Asbury Park, reminding us that it has "come back" before and it will "come back" again (in the wake of Sandy).  This was one of the most powerful moments of the concert for me, although the folks next to us thought Bruce was being "too political."  I didn't see anything political about it.  It was a man with deep connections to his home who was saddened by its destruction.  He asked the audience to remember someone or someplace who is "missing" in our lives.  During this segment Bruce described the E Street band as a glorified bar band that "you cannot separate from the Jersey Shore.  The crowd went wild.  I am guessing that some folks at the concert vacation at the Shore.
  • Throughout the show Bruce kept our focus on the Jersey Shore theme.  He played "Seaside Bar Song" and opened the encore with "Jersey Girl."  He also pulled a sign from the crowd that said "Never Forget: 4th of July, Asbury Park" and proceeded to play this classic ("Sandy") from the "The Wild, the Innocent, and the E-Street Shuffle."
The encore included "Jersey Girl," "Born to Run," "Rosalita" (some guy in the front had "Rosie" painted on his bald head--the crowd went wild, as usual, at the reference to the "swamps of Jersey:"), "Dancing in the Dark (in which he danced with about a dozen Penn State students)," and "10th Avenue Freezeout."  Bruce and the band then came out for one more song--the Isley Brothers' "SHOUT."  The place erupted. It was the first time the E Street Band had ever played the song.

Overall, another great Springsteen concert.  I have another post in the works about Springsteen as a revivalist.  Stay tuned and don't forget to watch the E Street Band on the Sandy telethon tonight in NBC.