Thursday, June 21, 2018

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band for $10

Posted by teibs On April - 6 - 2009

bruceband@ZackTeibloom There are some bands you need to see live to appreciate. Sure, you can watch Bruce Springsteen on the Super Bowl and think “overrated, over the hill,” but you’d be wrong. Do yourself a favor and see him in person. You’ll find yourself fighting back a smile every few minutes.

After writing up my crash from last night, I was feeling the crashing spirit especially strong. I saw a tweet saying “still waiting for Bruce” on Tweet Deck and remembered The Boss was in Austin tonight. When Google Maps told me I was only 4 miles and 9 minutes from the boss, I had to go.

Getting in (Not a crash, just a deal)

Fifteen minutes later I’m in front of the venue, sans ticket. I almost got in when a gang of four handed the security guard their tickets in a group, but that didn’t quite work out, as she was scanning each ticket, so I told her I was waiting for a friend and pretended to be on the phone.

My usual trick of waiting for a rush of people was failing since the show had already begun and no one was coming by. Just then a scalper walked by and asked “Want a cheap ticket to get inside?” Noticing the desperation in his voice, I offered $10, the smallest bill in my wallet. He said, “Do you have a $20?” I did. I still do.

I won’t count this as a crash. It’s just a damn good deal on a rock show. (I spent $10. The service charge on the $89 ticket was $10. A win, not a crash.)


Bruce even donned a Cowboy hat. I think it's actually a law that you have to wear it if a Texan throws you one.

Once inside, I consider walking up to the balcony for my section 83 seats, but Festival Crashers don’t sit in the balcony.* It took a few minutes of walking around, but I found an aisle seat in the best spot in the lower deck. Just high and to the side enough to see the whole stage.

The Show (Why they call him the Boss)

Don’t take your eyes off Bruce Springsteen. At one point, the man took a sponge and put water on his black jeans so he could slide across the stage on his knees. He climbed on the stack of speakers, pointed at seemingly every member of the crowd and led the entire band into the audience.

The meaty first set was full of endearing moments like when he played “Sherry Baby” because of a request written on two gum wrappers.

He followed it up by yelping, “Stevie, Stevie!” to Van Zandt as he wound his arm around and around, waiting for his (Sopranos star) guitarist to change guitars, encouraging Max Weinberg to keep wailing away on the drums, as he refused to stop between “Because the Night” and “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day.”

Bruce even let two little kids sing the chorus to “Waitin'” into the mic and they nailed it. The Boss senses that he plays to an older crowd these days and would go balls to the wall for three or four songs at a clip, before slowing it down so the fans could erupt into “Bruuuuuce” chants and catch their breath.

His most enjoyable slow down, take a seat moment was the title track from “The Wrestler,” which sounded as poignant as it did in the movie.**

“We have gathered here to rock the house!” Bruce said, firing up the crowd. “But we’re also gonna build a house! We’re gonna take a house of fear and build a house of love!” He sounded a bit like a preacher, but I could get behind him.


Look how bright it got in there for "Born to Run." ALL the lights in the house were up the entire song. It made the fist pumping in unison a lot easier.

Speaking of behind, the E-Street band is an extraordinarily tight and talented back-up band. Van Zandt emerged from the wall of sound emanating from the 12-piece band with a couple nasty solos. He was bolstered on the axe by Nils Lofgre’s searing chops.

Clarence Clemons plays a mean sax, but what is up with the gold, shiny nail polish? Dude, you have a brass instrument. Is that extra shine really necessary?

Max Weinberg has always been a d-bag*** and he looks like one every second he’s on stage. How did he not get Pete Bested years ago? Besides hating on Max, I had a great time alone at my first Boss show.

I was surprised to see all the house lights come up in the entire arena for “Born to Run,” which closed the first set. I’ve seen the front lights come up so the band can see the first few rows singing along to the chorus, but it got bright in there. For the whole song.

The encore was so long, it was practically a second set. Is seven songs enough to become it’s own set? Bruce defied physics, somehow staying on his feet when he leaned all the way back on the toes of his boots, before hyping up the crowd, saying,  “We got a fairy tale to tell ya. Come on!” he said, before “10th Avenue Freeze-out” as the lyrics streamed across the screen.

They went into the rare “I’m a Rocker” which I had to smile and nod along to before Bruce started rhyming, “You’ve just seen the booty shaking, love making, E-Street Band!”****

Yes, we sure have. You don’t get a nickname like “The Boss” for nothing. You get it for tearing it up every single night. For pulling out all the stops, even when you don’t need to. For making everyone in the stadium feel like each song was written just for them. He’s the boss. He’s earned it. 9.4/10

Setlist (According to
Outlaw Pete
My Lucky Day
Prove It All Night
Out in the Street
Working on a Dream
Johnny 99
Working on the Highway
Sherry Darling
She’s the One
Because the Night
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
The Promised Land
The Wrestler
Kingdom of Days
Radio Nowhere
Lonesome Day

The Rising
Born to Run

Hard Times
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
I’m a Rocker
Land of Hope and Dreams
American Land
Glory Days

*At least since that incident with Lincoln.

**I know Weinberg is a d-bag personally from an encounter a few years ago. He was speaking at IU (quite boring) and did a meet and greet after the talk. My roommate and I asked if he could throw up the rock symbol for the pic. He said “I’m tired” and refused.

***How did he not get nominated for an Oscar?

****as E-Street Band was written out in old-school Batman-esque Pow! letters on the screen

4 Responses

  1. mlsadasds Said,

    It was “Born to Run” not “Born in the USA” played with the house lights up. Nice review though. Great show.

    Posted on April 6th, 2009 at 8:40 am

  2. Rebecca Said,

    Now I know why you stayed up all night…I love that you teleported in 9 minutes to make it for the show…nice skills Sparkster.

    Posted on April 6th, 2009 at 10:30 am

  3. matt Said,

    bruce is the boss for sure and he reps jersey too! i too have my issues with mighty max for a whole set of different reasons.

    i wonder how his song will fare on tour while max is behind the kit at conan.

    also, the fact he played because the night is awesome…which was written for patti smith….

    keep it real in austin friend

    Posted on April 6th, 2009 at 4:31 pm

  4. matt Said,

    i meant his son, not his song….

    Posted on April 6th, 2009 at 4:32 pm

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