Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bruce Stopped the Rain

Early on during his show Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, Bruce Springsteen played a special request for "the coach," who apparently was in the crowd: Credence Clearwater Revival's "Who'll Stop the Rain." Well, for a while on Saturday, I was wondering the same thing. And silly me, because it became a non-issue. Like the Boss himself sang later in the show, "Don't worry Darlin', now baby don't you fret." Although it rained pretty hard at times during the afternoon and there was a heavy downpour again around 8:15, by the time Bruce and the E Street Band took the stage around 9:30, the sky was clear and there were stars out. It was perfect. So Bill Belichick, I think you have your answer: Bruce stopped the rain.

And not only did Bruce play weatherman, but more importantly, he also played host to a summertime fiesta of grand proportions. Unlike the show I saw in November, this one was more party than promotion, and songs from Magic generally played second fiddle to crowd pleasers like "Hungry Heart," "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out," "Spirit in the Night," and "She's the One." The show began with "Summertime Blues," which set the tone, and continued from there in largely upbeat fashion. Bruce spent as much or more time down in the crowd as he did on the stage, and at one point even took requests, which resulted in the appearance of rarities like "Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?" and a cover of "Little Latin Lupe Lu" (the first time the song had been performed with the band since 1977). Clearly, this was not a show for the Johnny Come Latelies. MVP honors went to Nils Lofgren, who tore it up on "Tunnel of Love" and "Youngstown," but Steve Van Zandt also killed on "Murder Incorporated."

What's truly amazing is that Barry and I had to leave unexpectedly at 10:45 and Bruce was putting on such a dense show that it felt so much later than that. We walked out to the sounds of "Mary's Place" and then "The Rising," and we regretted missing all the typical end-of-show highlights like "Born to Run" and "Badlands" (and "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)," too, apparently). Ah well. Maybe we'll find a bootleg somewhere so we won't have to miss out entirely. But half of a Springsteen show is still better than no Springsteen show at all, and this was definitely one of the better nights of the entire summer.

(Thanks to for the photos.)

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