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October 13 & 14: Philadelphia, first round

After five big, huge stadium shows, the tour resumes returning to arenas, with 4 shows at the old Spectrum in Philly, another venue that’s gonna be demolished soon.

«Last time we were here, I thought we were closing the place. Now we’re back, and we’re still not closing this place! The Spectrum will live forever» (Pearl Jam will close the venue at the end of the month). The show opened with a big surprise, 1973’s Wild & Innocent outtake «Seaside Bar Song» (released on Tracks), followed by «Wrecking Ball» with lyrics adapted to Philly.

Trumpet player Curt Ramm has a bigger role each day and he was onstage for seven songs at the first Spectrum show. The show included lots of songs from Bruce’s classic period, featuring 20 songs (out of 28) written prior to 1985. Fan requests arrived after performing the whole Born to Run album (and after Bruce’s guitar went straight to Kevin Buell’s face during «Waitin’ on a Sunny Day»). And it brought a request for «Little Bit of Soul», the classic from Music Explosion, a first for the E Street Band. «The Fever» came next, in a great version that featured a trumpet solo from Curt, and was followed by a fabulous «Because the Night», then «Last to Die», then «Long Walk Home» and ending the main set with «The Rising», «Badlands» and «No Surrender».


Returning onstage for the encores with harmonica in his hand, Bruce opened with a beautiful «This Hard Land» and closed the show with the classic «Rosalita»

See complete set list for night #1

The second night brought a few more surprises. To start with, «Thundercrack» was the choice to open the show. Another 1973 classic that was performed so many nights in clubs in the Philadelphia area before Born to run launched his career. The sublime «The Ties That Bind» came next, followed by a surprise: the tour debut of «What Love Can Do» (in place of «Outlaw Pete»). «Hungry Heart» featured again the crowd surfing, to great effect in a smaller venue.

Darkness on the edge of town came next. The full album, performed with the same passion and energy as at the previous Giant Stadium show. Every song on that album is a highlight so it’s hard to mention any. But again, Roy Bittan shone on the marvelous instrumental ending to «Racing in the Street».

«Sherry Darling», with Roy, Nils and Charlie on accordion, came after a fan’s request. It was followed by a rare performance of «Human Touch» sung with Patti, present at this show. The energy level kept rising with «Long Walk Home», with its brilliant vocal duel between Bruce and Steve. Another request was choosen for the first encore: «Ramrod», immediately followed by the glorious «Detroit Medley». «Rosalita» once again put an end to the show, though preceded by a short «Gonna Fly Now» (theme from Rocky) played by Curt Ramm on trumpet.

See complete set list for night #2.

«Thundercrack» (Oct.14):

«Little Bit of Soul» (Oct.13):