«Summertime Blues», «Badlands», «Prove It All Night» (with guitar intro), «Sherry Darling», «Backstreets», «Quarter to Three»… If you’re familiar with Bruce’s concerts you may quickly think we’re talking about the famous Aug.15th 1978 show in Largo, Maryland. Believe it or not… we’re not.
Bruce played all those songs yesterday, August 15… 2012, at the second and last concert at Fenway Park in Boston. Springsteen digged deep into his magnificent legacy, without abandoning the present with the new songs (he played 6 off Wrecking Ball, including «Land of Hope and Dreams» and «Rocky Ground»), to offer an spectacular three-and-a-half-hour concert with a performance that matched his best European shows. It was, according to Backstreets.com, «a stratospheric performance», full of rarities, with 19 different songs from the previous night.
At 19:36 and under a storm threat, Springsteen took the stage and sang «Thunder Road», in its 1975 version, accompanied only by Roy Bittan’s piano. And then a bag of «summer» songs arrived: «Hungry Heart», «Sherry Darling», «Summertime Blues» and «Girls in Their Summer Clothes», plus an infectious «Two Hearts» in between «We Take Care of Our Own» and «Wrecking Ball».
After the touching «My City of Ruins» came the first sign request, Eddie Floyd’s «Knock on Wood», a perfect moment for the horn section to shine (the song had only been played previously at a 1976 gig in Memphis, with Eddie Floyd guesting with Bruce that night), which would lead to a string of marvelous jewels: «Does This Bus Stop at 82nd St?», «Thundercrack», «Frankie» and «Prove It All Night», again with the 1978 guitar intro. The main set closed with an extraordinary «Backstreets» which included part of Suicide’s «Dream Baby Dream» in the interlude, followed by «Badlands» and «Land of Hope and Dreams».
Bruce opened the encores with another surprise, an acoustic version of «Who’ll Stop The Rain?», followed by the return of «Rocky Ground» (a key song from the new album which deserves a steady spot on the set list). To the usual festive encores Bruce added two classic oldies: «Detroit Medley» and «Quarter to Three» (with Ed Manion on saxophone) giving to the show and even more 70’s feel. «American Land» with Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys guesting, was the final song of the night.