11/19 blog on brucespringsteen.net

From our correspondents at backstreets.com: as originally posted on brucespringsteen.net:

On the drive up to Boston on Sunday, my traveling companion and I amused ourselves with a little game we called, “The La Bamba Horns aren’t doing anything because of the Writer’s Strike. What if they showed up in Boston this weekend?” We limited ourselves to the setlist as we know it, some nice fills on the 8-bar-bluesiness that is “Reason To Believe” in ’07, expanding “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” so we can get rid of the sleigh bells, and some fantasies about “Sweet Soul Music” or “Higher and Higher” (shades of Boston Gardens ’76). Funnily enough, what transpired on Monday would have indeed been the perfect setlist for those horns.

My requirements for Boston were simple: something I hadn’t seen yet in the epic slot, Peter Wolf and “Dirty Water.” If you’d told me I’d see three songs from the second album, if you told me what was going to transpire, and if you’d asked me if I would’ve taken Peter Wolf onstage for “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out” instead, I would have smiled at you benevolently and returned to my fantasy about the horns as just as realistic.

Kitty, Sandy, the boy prophets, and Scooter and the Big Man all came out to dance, and by the end of the night, our section of the floor was chanting “DANNY! DANNY!” at the encore. So fitting that the legend of the band was told tonight. So much history, so much love. Nils on Danny’s riser, Bruce coaxing out the riffs on “E Street Shuffle” like he probably did back in the day when that song was brand new and finding its form. My favorite part of the song has always been the instrumental at the end, the scratch guitar and the veering off into freeform jazz, and the band proves why they are the E Street Band, as they breathe as one organism and make the song come to life.

The Boston crowd won my heart. Boston beat my hometown show at MSG, Boston beat CAA, Boston kicked Philly’s ass around the block three times. The people in the top row of the very back section (Section 308!) were on their feet and dancing every time the lights hit them and every minute the lights weren’t on. Boston was the place I had a frigid 45-minute conversation in the GA line with the family behind me, parents and their 20-something sons, where the mother tells me how the son wrote “She’s got the heart of a ballerina” on a birthday card for her. Boston was the place I watched people on the floor dancing to every single song. Even if you might question the appropriateness of butt-shaking during “Last To Die,” you gotta give ’em credit for the intent.

And finally: Boston, where the houselight blast into “Born to Run” has me scanning the crowd in section 12 in search of a friend. I couldn’t find her, but instead, I saw two guys in their 20s, who were jumping up and down and going nuts as though the rarest of the most rare rarities was being played. They were screaming, waving, singing along, hugging each other, and probably having one heckuva grand time. And I think: Every time you see “Born to Run,” someone else is seeing it for the very first time.