“We want to take a moment and thank yourselves for coming out and seeing us, I appreciate the support after all of these years. And I want to thank all the four million-plus people that have seen us on the Wrecking Ball/High Hopes tour. They made this simply one of the greatest musical stretches of our lives”.
With these words Bruce said goodbye to his fans after 26 months on tour, first for the Wrecking Ball album and this year for High Hopes. His words gave way to an emotional version of “Dream Baby Dream” to end a tour full of surprises, trips, memories, songs and emotions of all kinds for many of us.
Bruce saved his last bits of energy for the two farewell shows at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Both shows featured impressive set lists with lots of amazing songs and performances, some of them unique. It’d be almost impossible to say which show was best.
Saturday’s show opened with a totally unexpected “Racing in the Street (’78)”, the rock version of the song as released on The Promise, followed by intense versions of “Clampdown” and “Badlands” and a trio of songs that featured the compadre Steve Van Zandt (back from Norway where he was filming the 3rd season of the Lilyhammer series): “The Ties That Bind”, a joyous “Two Hearts” and “Frankie Fell in Love”. The show was unpredictable, and after the regular “High Hopes” came “Raise Your Hand”, the first version of “Quarter to Three” since August 2012, then the great arrangement of the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive”, then a couple of the songs Bruce gave to Southside Johnny in the 70’s (“Hearts of Stone” and “Talk to Me”), and then “The Price You Pay”, one of the treasures of his songbook and unfortunately very rare to see in concert (it’s the 4th time he’s played it live… since 1981!).
The encores featured 4 solo acoustic songs, including a great “Growin’ Up” (with a long story preceding it), “I’ll Work For Your Love” and “If I Should Fall Behind”.
Round two on Sunday was no less impressive, with 7 tour premieres including the world live debut of the Human Touch outtake (released on Tracks) “Seven Angels”. And it was good, as Bruce himself confessed “That was pretty good. That one should be played!”. Earlier, the show kicked off with a couple of 1992 songs: “Roll of The Dice” and “Leap of Faith”. Bruce was in great mood, moving around, dancing, playing tambourine and singing, and even drinking champagne and spraying the audience.
From then on it was a non-stop flow of rock’n’roll, with Van Halen’s “Jump” following, then a beautiful and extended “Frankie” (the only ballad in the show), “Seven Angels”, “Don’t Look Back”, “You Can Look”, “Adam Raised a Cain”…
The pace did not slow at any time, and the guitar players all had their moment: Lofgren shining on “Youngstown”, Morello on “The Ghost of Tom Joad”, Steven on “Murder Incorporated” and Bruce himself on the fiery “Adam Raised a Cain”. Steven’s presence sure allowed for the high number of songs from the River-era (“You Can Look” , “Cadillac Ranch”, “I’m a Rocker” , “Ramrod” and the great “Loose Ends”) plus a trio of songs off Darkness (“Adam Raised a Cain”, “Darkness” and “Badlands” ).
After a jubilant set of classic encores (including the tribute to Clarence and Danny during “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”) the moment arrived to get emotional, and Bruce delivered an impressive version of “Jungleland”, with a great sax solo from Jake, who nailed it. Then Bruce called the band down front and sent them off with the words “The legendary E Street Band!”.
Springsteen, alone on stage, thanked the audience and performed a powerful “Dream Baby Dream” on the pump organ. He said “We’ll be seeing you!” and off he went.
In a live interview with E Street Radio’s Dave Marsh before Saturday’s show, Bruce mentioned this was the end of the tour. He also commented on the possibility of a bootleg series and confirmed they’re in the process of remastering classic shows, for future release. He said he had some ideas for the future, though nothing was revealed (“We’ll see” were his words). Here’s hoping the bootleg series start soon and we also get this year the long-awaited River box set.