Tough Act to Follow

Just reading about Van Morrison’s performance of “Astral Weeks” (listening to it now–genius!) and how he played songs before and then a mini-medley after. “Anti-climactic” in the reviewer’s eyes, that final piece, which I can understand. I saw Bruce play “Born to Run” last week and he did a similar thing, playing a full set before, then the album, and then in true Springsteen fashion going off and playing another 13 songs or so.

Let me just say that hearing “Born to Run” in its entirety, in exact sequence, was amazing. A great album, every song a classic, and performed perfectly. “Meeting Across the River” was especially cool, such a moody and interesting song that isn’t heard much and probably not performed much if at all in concert. Awesome.

After the last notes of “Jungleland” Bruce barely paused to consider the weight of this moment and shifted gears, going into “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” which is a song from a recent album (most recent?) and whoa, the shock I felt was huge. Really, Bossman? You’re gonna follow up that masterpiece with this?

There were a few more good songs (“Promised Land,” Badlands”) but as far as I was concerned the concert was over after “Born to Run.” I wished he had either started the concert out with it and then took a break and come back with the second set, or ended with it. The comparison just kills it, putting a lightweight tune after such heaviness and going from there. And the request section, where fans shouted out for old 50’s tunes like “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Rockin’ Robin”? Uh uh. No. We already felt like the youngest folks there but this was like being in a lame-o suburban 60-something nightmare! Not for me.

I am sad to report that we actually left before he played the set-closing “Rosalita,” which may be my favorite of all Bruce tunes. It just didn’t seem like he was going there, and it was Sunday night and well, no excuses, but we thought we’d get a jump on the suburbanites and fly outta there. I never do that, for shows, for Cubs games, never leave early! But it happened. Oh well. Arena rock kinda kills me after a while, numbs the brain.

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