When Bruce Springsteen came onstage in Hartford last month and opened his 2008 tour with the Born To Run-era outtake “So Young and In Love” it was clear this leg of the Magic tour was going to be different. Since then he’s resurrected “Loose Ends,” “Janey Don’t Lose Your Heart,” “The Detroit Medley” and, thanks to a little girl with a sign in Rochester, “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).” Last night at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum, Springsteen didn’t debut any new songs or dust off any gems, but he did put on a thrilling two and a half hour show that included stellar versions of “Adam Raised A Cain,” “Incident on 57th Street” and a roof-raising “Jungleland.”
With most of the band pushing sixty — and in the case of a certain Big Man, well past it — the cross stage knee-slides and mic-stand acrobatics are a thing of the past. What remains is a level of endurance and a commitment to his craft that remains virtually unchanged since the beginning of his career. It’s hard to imagine how many times he’s sung “The Promised Land,” but it must be hovering somewhere near a thousand (I’m sure a commenter will have an exact number and call me an idiot). He still delivers it with the same passion he did in 1978 — particularly the lines “Blow away the dreams that tear you apart/Blow away the dreams that break your heart/Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and broken hearted.”
Missing this leg of the tour is Springsteen’s wife Patti Scialfa (at home with the kids) and founding E-Street organist Danny Federici, still recovering from melanoma. Springsteen told the crowd Danny was doing well and hoped to be back later in the tour. In his place was Sessions Band organist Charlie Giordano. Violanist Suzie Tyrell took Patti’s spot in the front of the stage and contributed vocals on the Magic title track.
After years of operating a barebones website, Springsteen has taken to posting concert video and PDFs of his handwritten setlists after every show. The latter can lead to real heartbreaks, particularly when you get home and see he swapped in the overplayed “Ramrod” for the Born To Run gem “Meeting Across The River.” As long as he’s fucking with the setlist, he should take it to the next level. How about “New York City Serenade,” “Bishop Danced,” “Better Days” and “Fade Away” when the tour comes back to Giants Stadium?