Curing the summertime blues with Bruce Springsteen at Citizens Bank Park (review, photos, setlist)

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Bruce Springsteen began the first of two stops on his “Labor Day labor of love,” as he called it, with a classic cover, Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues.” This performance at Citizens Bank Park was just the cure the enthusiastic crowd was looking for at the brink of summer’s end.

There are many ways to express the pure rock ’n’ roll joy that poured forth from the New Jersey native and his E Street Band. Let’s begin with a quantification. The show featured 33 songs, 19 of which hadn’t been performed at the two shows he played at the Wells Fargo Center in March. Sunday’s show clocked in at 3 hours and 43 minutes. Before this summer, he had never played a show this long and hadn’t even come close since 1980. This ties with a Madrid outing as his second-longest show and ranks behind only a four-hour-plus affair in Helsinki.

If one can attest to quality based on these statistics alone, this show proved to be a rousing success. Of course this is only part of the Bruce Springsteen experience. Qualitatively, Sunday’s show was a smash as well.

Photo by Eric Ashleigh | showtographe.com
Bruce interacted with the crowd with his usual mastery, collecting numerous sign requests, crowd-surfing twice during “Rosalita” and bringing up more fans than normal (three rather than one) for “Dancing in the Dark,” with two even dancing with saxophonist Jake Clemons, nephew of the late, great Clarence Clemons. Stage chatter between The Boss and the rest of his musical family and the crowd struck many varying chords of entertainment. There was the humor shared between Bruce and Jake regarding the fact that Jake was not born when “Spirit in the Night” — in wildly rollicking form — had been conceived. The energy and ingenuity brought to rarely played covers of early rockers like “Good Rocking Tonight” and “You Can’t Sit Down” injected life into a crowd that may have otherwise been disinterested in what they do not know. And then there was the white-hot fire breathed into a rarely performed but oft-requested cover of Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl” that knocked the socks off of Citizens Bank Park. Despite the crowd’s unwarranted indifference to some of the more introspective works from Wrecking Ball, like “Jack of All Trades” and “We Are Alive” (the latter of which had an extended and gloriously haunting introduction about trains), the setlist construction was, as usual for The Boss, impeccable. The greatest piece of evidence for this was his three-song interlude about trials and tribulations with the opposite sex in “I’m on Fire,” “Candy’s Room” and “She’s the One” (the last of these with a snippet of “Mona”). (This is made even more remarkable by the fact that “I’m on Fire” was a request.)

Certainly this show will not be soon forgotten, but as the first of two nights and the third in a quadrilogy of epic Philly dates for 2012, it is only part of the Bruce Springsteen serenade for the City of Brotherly Love. One can only hope the closing chapter on Labor Day is not the last this town will see of a nearly ageless performer performing magical feats of musical mastery.

SETLIST:

1. Summertime Blues
2. Out In The Street
3. Sherry Darling
4. Hungry Heart
5. We Take Care Of Our Own
6. Wrecking Ball
7. Death To My Hometown
8. Lost In The Flood
9. My City Of Ruins
10. Spirit in the Night
11. Green Onions
12. Good Rocking Tonight
13. Cadillac Ranch
14. I’m On Fire
15. Candy’s Room
16. Mona~She’s The One
17. Jack of All Trades
18. Human Touch
19. Working on the Highway
20. Shackled and Drawn
21. Waiting on a Sunny Day
22. Jersey Girl
23. The Rising
24. Badlands
25. Land Of Hope And Dreams
*******
ENCORE:

26. We Are Alive
27. Thunder Road
28. Born To Run
29. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
30. Dancing in the Dark
31. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
32. You Can’t Sit Down
33. Twist and Shout

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  • Andrew K.

    This was my first Springsteen show, and I couldn’t have been happier. The man is a machine. He played some of my favorite songs, and the encore was probably the most energetic part of the show! A performance I certainly won’t forget.

  • Main Point

    A tremendous concert. I maintain that it was better than the earlier Philly stops because there was LESS of the new album, and the songs that were played were “jazzed up”. The new album is generally a “downer”.
    The show was not sold out and tonight’s will not be close to a sellout either. Reasons: 1) The economy. Tickets plus parking is expensive and times are tough and getting tougher. 2) Bruce has alienated part of his fan base with his political involvement in the last presidential campaign.
    So at $100 for 33 songs, thats $3.33 a song. His aging fanbase can buy the songs on itunes at $1.29!!!!!

  • O.B.

    Ironically Bruce’s audience looks alot like the RNC convention.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joancleaver Joan Cleaver

    Awesome concert! Brought back so many sweet memories from his performances in the eighties at the Spectrum. Clarence lives on ….. Jake was amazing! Worth every penny!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.applegate.52 Debbie Applegate

    A magical night full of joy…….an amazing setlist….a tribute to the incomparable CC….what more could a fan ask for?

  • patricia

    IT WAS CUTE WHEN BRUCE HELD UP THE LITTLE GIRL AND SING AND GIE HER THE MIKE AND SHE SONG

  • patricia

    the concert was awesome i didnot hear him sing born in the USA