Bruce Takes NYC Down To The River

With only four shows left on the Working On A Dream tour (wrapping up in Buffalo on November 22nd), and with much buzz about how the band will be taking some sort of extended hiatus, now’s the time to savor and cherish what Bruce and the Band have been bringing all year – and that’s night after night of powerhouse performances.

The tour started out in April with a healthy dose of tracks from Working On A Dream. Last night in Detroit, only the title track was played. The tour has morphed into more of a special treat for the fans – including full album performances, sign requests, and even Bruce regularly crowd surfing during “Hungry Heart”.

As I mentioned in last week’s The Wild, The Innocent post, a couple of special nights took place in New York City last weekend. Saturday was a full performance of The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle,  and Sunday was Bruce’s 1980 classic The River.

The River is special to me because it was the album in which I first became aware of Bruce Springsteen. I was only 10 years old, but my older brother Dave became a fan – and he got the chance to go see Bruce when the tour rolled though Minneapolis. “Fade Away” was the first 45 I ever owned. Sides 3 and 4 (“Point Blank” thru “Wreck on the Highway”) have probably had more playtime in my life than any other album (okay, right along with Purple Rain)…  it’s the slow burners like “Point Blank”, “Stolen Car”, “Fade Away”, “Wreck on the Highway”, and of course “Drive All Night” that still resonate so deeply within me. The River is a masterpiece, in my opinion, and last weekend, he played it straight through for an appreciative NYC crowd…

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Madison Square Garden – New York City
November 8, 2009

Part I
Wrecking Ball
Introduction to the River
Ties that Bind
Sherry Darling
Jackson Cage
Two Hearts
Independence Day
Hungry Heart
Out in the Street
Crush On You
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)

Part II
I Wanna Marry You
The River
Point Blank
Cadillac Ranch
I’m a Rocker
Fade Away
Stolen Car
Price You Pay
Drive All Night
Wreck on the Highway

Part III
Waiting on a Sunny Day
Atlantic City
Born to Run
Seven Nights to Rock
Sweet Soul Music
No Surrender
American Land
Dancing in the Dark
Can’t Help Falling in Love
Higher and Higher


  • Steve

    Thanks for this.

    The River used to be my least favorite album of his. Back then, I was looking for more rock and less mope. But now, I really appreciate the slow burn of the album. It’s really one of his best.

    Do you get the feeling that this might be it for them as far as touring goes? I hope not (I need to get to double-digits in terms of concerts I’ve seen in person!) but I kind of see these full-album concerts as being a farewell gift to his fans…

    • Pete

      I have a hard time believing that this is it. Although the full albums do seem like a farewell to the fans, I feel more that as Bruce gets older and realizes the special relationship he has with his fans, and how much his body of work MEANS to his loyal fans – that the full album performances are just a special treat to them…

      I’m sure we have a long hiatus in front of us (maybe another Seeger Sessions or solo record?) – but I’m sure the E Street Band will be back on tour. A couple years down the road, Bruce will get that itch again…

  • David L. Bisese

    Thanks Pete. These have been great.
    Let us know if you can get your hands on one of the previous “Darkness on the Edge of Town” shows.

  • alessandro

    This post is a very special gift to me! I live in Italy, near to double digit ESB shows I’ve seen in the last twenty-eight years, from Zurich 1981 (in Switzeland, indeed) to WOAD tour. Bruce really loves his Italian fans, bu we’ll never hope to get any chance as these full album performances. Thank you so much!

  • Judd6149

    I agree, Pete. There will be another time for Bruce & The E-Street…something event driven will pull them back together. I’m looking forward to a Bruce solo period. More Seeger Sessions! I love that.

  • Allen

    Pete, thanks for these. Any chance you can get the other full album concerts?
    Or know where to get them?
    Something to remember, and the reason I saw double the number of shows this year than ever before (For an album I truly did NOT like):
    Bruce is 60. Federici is dead. Clarence can’t be that far behind (You ever see his rider?!?!)
    If they take too much time off there is a good chance that we won’t see the same concerts we are seeing now. (I hope to hell I am wrong, but Clarence can barely walk)
    The gift of the complete albums is huge. I would say, if they tour again, see every show you can. The party can’t last forever.
    At some point, with all the sliding, Bruce is gonna break a hip.

  • Pete


    If they take too much time off there is a good chance that we won’t see the same concerts we are seeing now. (I hope to hell I am wrong, but Clarence can barely walk)

    That’s a mighty good point… as time marches on, it’ll be hard to match the physical intensity of these shows. I think of Bruce’s back-bending mic stand trick… i dread the day he gets stuck.

    My resource for the live shows is It requires a membership, which they max out. Basically if you keep trying consistently, you can usually sign up successfully within a day (last I saw). It’s a great live music resource overall.

    I’ll see what I can do about digging up the other full album shows. Hopefully I’m not pissing anyone off… 🙂

  • julie

    I was fortunate to be able to attend both of the MSG shows. Indescribable. I saw a lot of the WIESS songs at Celebrity Theater and the Coliseum in the late 70’s and to hear those songs again was really very special.
    The ferocity with which he performed The River, even the ballads I haven’t seen in years. If this is the last go-around, it sure is going out at the top.

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