Birthday Boss – Bruce at the Shrine

In 1990, Bruce signed up for two intimate shows at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium to benefit the Christic Institute, along with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt. This here is night two. On night one, he had premiered “Red Headed Woman”, “57 Channels”, “When The Lights Go Out” , and “Real World”. This night saw the debuts of “The Wish” and “Soul Driver”.

It’s pretty hard to describe in words how completely amazing this show is. Bruce is in optimal form. It’s interesting to note the differences between this acoustic show and the Ghost of Tom Joad tour 5 years later. Somewhere in between, Bruce picked up some twang (maybe all those Harley rides out West?). At any rate, I love both sides of the spectrum, but there’s something about this particular sound, this particular performance.

If someone put a gun to my head and forced me to name my favorite Springsteen song, “Brilliant Disguise” would be my reply. And this is the single best performance of the song I have ever heard. All of the heart-wrenching, soul searching doubt about love – bursting from Bruce and his guitar.

And each song is that high in caliber. Bruce pours his heart and soul into each lyric, and each strum of the guitar – something he does on a regular basis with his band. But it seems even more pronounced here. Maybe it’s the moment in time – just a year earlier he had disbanded the E Street Band and moved to L.A. And earlier in the year, he and Patty had their first child, Evan (an experience he details before “My Hometown”).  It’s the Boss, coming out on his own. And he shines.

Happy 59th, Boss – I’m awfully glad you’re around.

Bruce Springsteen
Shrine Auditorium
Los Angeles
November 17th, 1990

Intro – “If You’re Moved to Clap Along, Please Don’t”
Brilliant Disguise (mp3)
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Intro – “The address was 39 and a half”
Mansion on the Hill
Intro – “We all live with our illusions”
Reason to Believe
Intro – “You gotta watch those redheads”
Red Headed Woman (mp3)
57 Channels (and Nothing On)
The Wish
Tougher Than The Rest
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Soul Driver
State Trooper

Intro – “when that side of you is set loose”
When the Lights Go Out
Thunder Road
Intro – “I caught his first tear on the tip of my finger”
My Hometown
Real World
Highway 61 Revisited (w/ Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt)
Across the Borderline (w/ Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt)

Games in the Forbidden City

The Olympics got under way today. I haven’t been too in tune with who to watch out for this year, but I will undoubtedly get in the spirit over the next couple of weeks. All I’ve really seen is Michael Phelps’s Village People-riffic mustache!

So let’s forget about that pesky issue of China’s horrific human rights record, and let’s focus on cute panda bears or something.

Let the games begin!
Smog smog go away!

Joe Strummer & the MescalerosForbidden City (mp3)

From Rock Art and the X-Ray Style

Boss: Trapped in Seattle

I made it the whooole day without falling for an April Fool’s prank. That is until I read the Backstreets review of last night’s show in Vancouver, BC. Good God, I believed the Anne Murray bit. I believed until I saw the Photoshopped Weird Al on stage with Bruce. *shakes head*

Here’s the opener from Seattle a couple of nights ago: Jimmy Cliff’s “Trapped” – a tune that also made it into last night’s non-April Fool’s Vancouver set list!

Trapped (mp3 from Seattle, March 29th)

Ever heard the Jimmy Cliff original? Vastly different than the E Street version…

Jimmy Cliff – Trapped (LastFM full track)

Boss: “Something” in Columbus

photo from

The Boss made his Magic stop through Columbus on Monday night, and the crowd got treated to not one, not two, but three tour premieres:

Something in the Night (mp3, live from the show) – a killer rocker-ballad from Darkness on the Edge of Town. They shorten it up a bit, but no less powerful. The Boss can still belt out the wails in this one: “Waaaaaaaa-aaaaaaa!” Love it.

You’ll Be Comin’ Down (mp3, live from the show) – This is one of my favorites from Magic, and somehow it didn’t see its live debut until this week. Hopefully it becomes a set list staple, and I see it live in Anaheim in 12 days!

Sherry Darling (mp3, live from the show) – From Side1 of The River. Always elicits the party atmosphere

Bruce’s Magic New York Nights

photo from Backstreets

Bruce’s back to back nights in Rochester and Buffalo at the end of last week ranked up there as two of the tightest, most energetic shows of the tour. Among the breakouts and non-standard fare was a spirited “Because the Night” and a deeep “Racing in the Street” in Rochester.

The following night in Buffalo, the crowd was treated to a Magic tour premiere of “Detroit Medley”. I can’t recall seeing it on too many set lists from the Rising or Reunion tours, but I could be wrong. Always good to see a classic E Street staple back in the set.

Racing in the Street (mp3) – Rochester, NY – March 6th, 2008

Because the Night (mp3) – Rochester, NY – March 6th, 2008

Detroit Medley (mp3) – Buffalo, NY – March 7th, 2008

The Boss Returns, Hartford Premieres

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill – link)

Last night marked the 2008 resumption of Bruce’s Magic tour. He and the E Street Band (minus Patty and Danny F. – still) kicked this leg off in Hartford, Connecticut. From the report on Backstreets, this wasn’t one of those safe warm-up gigs after a break. The band “were immediately up to speed, and Hartford was a hot, high-energy show.”

Three – count ’em – three high quality tour premieres last night:

  • “So Young and In Love” (mp3 from the show) – This kicked off the show! The studio version found on Tracks was recorded in January 1974.[audio:hartford01.mp3]
  • “Loose Ends” (mp3 from the show) – an outtake from The River.[audio:hartford02.mp3]
  • “Janey Don’t You Lose Heart” (mp3 from the show) – One of my favorites from the Born in the U.S.A. sessions. Last night, Nils Lofgren took the second verse – his “first recorded vocal with the E Street Band”, according to Backstreets.[audio:hartford03.mp3]

Next up on the calendar? Sunday night in Montreal. Look out Quebec.

LOOKING FOR TICKETS….. Since it doesn’t look like a Phoenix date is going to happen (!), I am in the market for two tickets to see Bruce in Anaheim on Monday, April 7th. If you or anyone you know has a couple available, please let me know (pete at

The full set list from last night’s Hartford show after the jump…

Valentine’s Day

I’m glad to say that I’ve never been in the position to identify with Steve Earle in his song “Valentine’s Day”. But if you’re one of the unlucky ones who wakes up Thursday morning cardless and giftless, simply drop to your knees and sing this song.

This is one of the sweetest, most emotional tunes that Steve has ever written. It showed up on his amazing 1996 album I Feel Alright. Providing the perfect background vox are gospel legends the Fairfield Four. If you don’t have the album, I strongly recommend you remedy that right here, right now.

Steve Earle
Valentine’s Day (mp3)



The Boss at Harley’s 105th

Bruce Springsteen en su Harley

[via FoxyTunes / Bruce Springsteen]

So is anyone out there planning on catching Bruce & the E Street Band at Harley’s 105th Anniversary Celebration? He’ll be in Milwaukee rocking the crowd on August 30th. Now that would be something to see…

As for his Magic tour, I still check every day to see if a Phoenix date has been added. Still nothing. There’s a big fat gap between April 8th in Anaheim and April 13th in Dallas. Plenty of room for a swing through Arizona. But the closer we get, the less I think it’s gonna happen. But – must…keep…the faith.

Bruce Springsteen – Gypsy Biker (Full track @ LastFm)

Girls Love Winter

The Boss

The third single from Magic has hit iTunes with some bonus goodies. For $3.00 you get “Girls In Their Summer Clothes (Winter Mix)”, “Girls In Their Summer Clothes (Live)” (which features a great sax break and a hell of a sing along) and the video clip. Well worth the price of a grande non-fat vanilla latte for a little summer love in the midst of winter.

Bruce Springsteen - Girls In Their Summer Clothes - EP