Friday, May 09, 2008

Oh. My. Freakin. God.

This living frugally thing has it's definite down side - among them, my lack of concert attendance. Sadly it's a great season around these parts, with great shows from Bruce Springsteen and countless others. Ben Folds is playing at my alma mater tonight (Western Connecticut State U) and even for $31, I can't justify going.


But the reason for dropping in today is to give you this post from with the details of an unbelievable show at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ (and forgive the language - remember, it's a quote).
And with that, it was Darkness, side one, to start the show. "We're gonna start with Darkness, so we don't send you home suicidal!" Bruce quickly aborted "Badlands" seconds in, after a rough start: "We fucked it up already! I knew there was a reason why we didn't do this," he laughed. "Maybe we shouldn't do it!" But they did it. And man, they did it. From track to track, for the first time live, it was Darkness sequenced as Bruce originally intended it to be heard, full of intensity from the howls on "Something in the Night" to the seemingly never-ending coda of "Racing in the Street," a straight-ahead "Factory" (not the Bruce/Patti duet of recent years) with Steve on mandolin, the modern twist on "Prove It All Night" as Nils rocked the new solo, and at the end of "side two," a hugely powerful vocal on the title track. Loads of guitar from Springsteen, too -- every solo except that Nils spectacular, in fact. Bruce offered a solo to Steve at one point, which was respectfully declined.

After an only-fitting intermission, Born to Run got the same sequential treatment, offering a distinct reminder of what a freakin' masterpiece it is, as well as of the difference in tone between the two records. After the ferocity of the first set, here Bruce was having a blast, jumping into the crowd on the "Freeze-out" and even being held up by the crowd -- did we mention this was a theater show? Several clambers up on the piano throughout this second set, too. "Tenth" also brought a full horn section to the stage -- "The Mighty Max Horns," as Bruce later called them -- consisting of Mark Pender on trumpet, LaBamba on trombone, Jerry Vivino and Ed Manion on saxes. Pender came back out for "Meeting Across the River," giving his own spin to Randy Brecker's original trumpet part for a few minutes of absolute magic, also thanks to the beautfiul accompaniment from Roy and Garry. "Jungleland" had Steve stepping up for a soaring solo, and of course Clarence -- invigorated, up and around for much of this night -- did his thing and did it well.

And that wasn't the end -- as the needle hit the runout groove, Bruce said, "Let's bring out the horns! We've got a few more for you!" And they used the horn section to maximum effect for the entire encore, four bonus tracks starting off with BTR outtake "So Young and in Love." "Kitty's Back" was next -- "and she's got somebody with her!" Bruce teased at the end, "Kitty's back, and she's got somebody with her!" That somebody was "Rosalita," and finally, Eddie Floyd's "Raise Your Hand" made sure we got an R&B cover in there for the full effect of this '70s theater revival.
Wow. Darkness followed by Born to Run...full album...end to end...followed by "Kitty's Back" and "Rosie", plus outtakes and extras?

I'm sure it was worth the crazy prices that tickets went for.

Did I say wow?


Sean G. Kilkelly said...

Hmmm...that would make for a great live Bruce album to put up for sale!

As far as Ben Folds, isn't Spongemets sponsoring it? Maybe they could get you a pair of tix.

Rob Adams said...

More classic, witty commentary from the author of "Rangers in Seven!"

Spongemets. I love it.