Wrecking Ball Tour Intro Music

On the Tunnel of Love tour, it was “Palisades Park;” on the Magic tour, a Calliope played “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze.”   On the Wrecking Ball tour, the things changed up periodically.

The list:

“I Got You (I Feel Good)” — James Brown (Atlanta)

“Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” — James Brown (Greensboro)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Tampa)

“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” – Jimmy Ruffin (Boston)

“All American Boy” – Bobby Bare (Philadelphia, Night 1)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Philadelphia, Night 2)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Washington)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Meadowlands, Night 1)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Meadowlands, Night 2)

“New York, New York” — Frank Sinatra (Madison Square Garden, Night 1)

“New York, New York” — Frank Sinatra (Madison Square Garden, Night 2)

“Dancing in the Street” — Martha & the Vandellas (Detroit)

“Buffalo Gals” — Bruce Springsteen & the Seeger Sessions Band (Buffalo)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Albany)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Cleveland)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (San Jose)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Los Angeles, Night 1)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Los Angeles, Night 2)

None (JazzFest, New Orleans)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Newark)

“The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (Main Title)” (Seville)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Las Palmas)

“Last Dance” — Donna Summer (Barcelona, Night 1)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Barcelona, Night 2)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Frankfurt)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Köln)

None (Pinkpop Festival)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Berlin)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (San Sebastian)

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme) (Milan)

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme) (Florence)

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme) (Trieste)

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme) (Madrid)

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme) (Montpellier)

None (Sunderland)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Manchester)

None (Isle of Wight Festival)

“La Vie En Rose” (Roy/Charlie on Accordion) (Paris, Night 1)

“Au Claire de La Lune” (Roy/Charlie on Accordion) (Paris, Night 2)

None (Roskilde Festival)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Zürich)

None (Prague)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Vienna)

None (London)

None (Dublin, Night 1)

None (Dublin, Night 2)

None (Oslo)

None (Bergen, Night 1)

None (Bergen, Night 2)

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme) (Gothenburg, Night 1)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Gothenburg, Night 2)

None (Helsinki)

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (Boston, Fenway Park, Night 1)

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (Boston, Fenway Park, Night 2)

None (Foxboro)

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (Toronto)

None (Moncton)

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (Charlie on Organ) (Philadelphia, Night 1)

None (Philadelphia, Night 2)

None (Chicago, Night 1)

None (Chicago, Night 2)

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (Charlie on Organ) (Washington)

“Summer Wind” — Frank Sinatra (E. Rutherford, Night 1)

“Summer Wind” — Frank Sinatra (E. Rutherford, Night 2)

“In the Midnight Hour” — Wilson Pickett (E. Rutherford, Night 3)

None (Ottawa)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Hamilton)

None (Charlottesville)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Hartford)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (Pittsburgh)

“Spooky” Halloween Noises (Rochester)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (State College)

“Main Title” theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven (Louisville)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (St. Paul, Night 1)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (St. Paul, Night 2)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Omaha)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Kansas City)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Denver)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Vancouver)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Portland)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Oakland)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Anaheim)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Glendale)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Mexico City)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Brisbane, Night 1)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Brisbane, Night 2)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Sydney, Night 1)

None (Sydney, Night 2)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Sydney, Night 3)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Melbourne, Night 1)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Melbourne, Night 2)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Melbourne, Night 3)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Oslo, Night 1)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Oslo, Night 2)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Stockholm, Night 1)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Stockholm, Night 2)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Turku, Night 1)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Turku, Night 2)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Stockholm, Night 3)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Copenhagen)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Herning)

“O Sole Mio” — (Roy/Charlie/Nils on Accordion) (Naples)

None (Munich)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Hanover)

None  (Padua)

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme) (Milan)

“Bound for Canaan” from the “Geronimo: An American Legend” soundtrack – written by Ry Cooder (London)

“Bound for Canaan” from the “Geronimo: An American Legend” soundtrack – written by Ry Cooder (Glasgow)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Coventry)

None (Nijmegen)

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme) (Gijon)

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme) (Paris)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (London, Hard Rock Calling)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Geneva)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Mönchengladbach)

“Big Boss Man” — The Pretty Things (Leipzig)

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme) (Rome)

None (Werchter)

None (Limerick)

None (Cork)

“Can I Get a Witness” (Belfast)

“Can I Get a Witness” (Cardiff)

None (Leeds)

“Can I Get a Witness” (Kilkenny, Night 1)

“Can I Get a Witness” (Kilkenny, Night 2)

Post-Show Music

“The Boss” – James Brown (from the Black Caesar soundtrack); and occasionally “Once Upon a Time in the West” (Theme)

Philadelphia, Wachovia Center, March 29, 2012

The second (or last, if a multi-show stand) night in Philadelphia is an obvious choice if one looks at a tour itinerary trying to find a special show.  In many ways, last night didn’t disappoint, with a packed house and a setlist with plenty of changes from the previous night, including tour debuts and rarities.

Unfortunately, Thursday’s show still came out somewhat disjoined and at times seemed as if the audience and Bruce weren’t operating on the same plane, most noticeably during “Thundercrack,” which proved to be a poor choice for the sixth spot in the setlist.  With Bruce obviously wanting to indulge the requestor (a girl whose father was in Iraq), he would have been better served waiting until the encore, or perhaps after “The Promised Land.”

This is not to say there weren’t plenty of high points in the show.  “Trapped,” in particular was fantastic and really captured the crowd after “Jack of all Trades.”  The middle portion of the show, from “Jack of All Trades” through “Darkness” was a great example of how Bruce managed to weave his old and new material together.  Now, if he can just find a way to start putting things from The Promise in the set, things will really start cooking.

“Streets of Philadelphia” is a personal favorite of mine and it was a solid performance, one that begs the question – why won’t Bruce play this anywhere else?  City references notwithstanding, this was a big hit nationwide.

Kitty’s Back featured extended solos from each of the horn players that had seemingly been rehearsed or at least thought out in advance, to good effect.  Bruce also gave Roy an extended solo which the crowd ate up.

I was disappointed that “Shackled and Drawn” was not back in the set; together with the skipping of “Land of Hope and Dreams,” new material disappearing from the set is a disturbing trend.  That “You’ve Got It” was soundchecked somewhat ameliorates this concern, and I doubt Kitty’s Back will take that spot in the encores every time.

So far, “We Are Alive” appears to be the only weak link out of the new songs, and I think that is in part due to the audience’s perception that once Bruce brings out the acoustic guitar, they can sit down for a moment.  Bruce changed up the guitar strumming during the beginning of the song, and also encouraged the crowd to cheer at the “rebel voices all around me” line, both in an effort to everyone engaged.  Obviously, the crowd gets back up once the band kicks in but so far it has been a struggle to keep band and crowd “in concert” for this number.

That complaint aside, the new material has by and large been very successful in this show, and perhaps in Washington, D.C., “Shackled and Drawn” will return to its rightful place in the show.  Really, if Bruce feels he needs to add more of his material to the show, he can just make the show longer!

Philly Night #2 Preview

Thursday’s show will be the first “night 2″ of the tour and an obvious place to look for potential changes to the setlist.

Granted, Bruce has already started to change up the setlist in a significant way from show to show but playing two shows in the same city — the city where rarities come out more than any other — gives reason to be curious about what is to come.

The things I’m most interested in seeing:

1. Does the “The Way You Do The Things You Do / 634-5789″ medley stay in the set?

Personally, I love it.  And would hardly begrudge it being in the set every night of the tour.  But — given the tools the band has (the singers, the horns) — the choices for potential cover songs are limitless, and this is a logical spot to try a different cover.

2. Will there be any changes to the new songs?

By “changes,” I don’t mean dropping them for old songs.  I mean adding things.  This could be the night to give “You’ve Got It” a try.  I would prefer that “Shackled and Drawn” come back ASAP.  Its removal from the set after only two shows was unfortunate and hopefully temporary.

3. Any changes to the encores?

I’m personally hoping for “You Can’t Sit Down.”  Or maybe “Do You Love Me.”

Tampa, Tampa Bay Times Forum, March 23, 2012

My report from the show can be found at Backstreets.

Some additional notes and thoughts:

The saxophone solos were slightly more spread out tonight, with Eddie Manion getting the tenor sax solos on both “Radio Nowhere” and “Talk to Me.”

The food bank speech returned (before “Rocky Ground”), with Bruce taking special note to remind the crowd that given the economy, there is “more strain on food banks than ever.”

I would expect that “American Skin” was a one-time replacement for “Shackled and Drawn” in the setlist, and not Bruce already dropping new material from the set.  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t worry about such things but the last tour was a big change in that regard.  I’ve felt “Shackled” was one of the stronger performances of the new songs.

I am displeased to report that there were again two particular signs in the pit: pictures of Clarence’s head, attached to a stick, that were bobbed up and down at various times during the show.  While the person(s) behind these signs may have initially meant well, they have shown to be consistently incapable of realizing that they are blocking the view of others with the display of their signs.  Time to put them away, you inconsiderate dolts.

I believe that Bruce’s touring staff truly attempts to make the general admission process as fair and safe for everyone as possible and considers the best interests of the fans as a whole when doing so.  That being said, when touring staff explicitly tells those lined up that they will repeatedly check people’s wristband numbers as they enter – so that the line stays fair – and then just shrugs their shoulders when it’s time to enter the floor – it’s disheartening.  People aren’t going to cooperate if they get told one thing and something else is proven to be true.

Greensboro, Greensboro Coliseum, March 19, 2012

Night two in the books and I am pleased to report that the show is already improving and has loads of potential.

The encore may not be perfect but dumping “American Land” is extremely encouraging.  He did introduce the song in Atlanta with a wish for a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” so perhaps its appearance there was a one-time only performance.  Needless to say, this was a big upgrade in the setlist as almost no other song needs a rest as badly as “American Land” did.  I am not convinced that Rosalita is an every-night choice but given that Bruce hadn’t played it at his prior three stops in Greensboro with the E Street Band, it was a great pick for inclusion in the set.

The other key setlist change was putting in “Because the Night” late in the set.  Nils’ solo always goes over like gangbusters with the crowd but regardless, the performance smoked and helped tighten the back half of the main set.  It still seems as if “The Rising” and “We Are Alive” should be flipped.

The Greensboro audience was also extremely generous and welcoming to Jake Clemons.  Fortunately, there were some developments in the show that have helped ease the transition of Jake as a seeming direct successor to Clarence.  In particular, the end of Thunder Road was enhanced by the entire horn section coming down front to do the key horn part at the end of the stage.  Combined with Bruce’s newfound energy for this song and the audience singalong, having the whole section down front contributes to the communal aspects of the performance and works better than Jake trying to imitate Clarence.  I also found it a good idea to have Nils and Steve come up to sing the “and kid you better get the picture” line in Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.

Miscellaneous notes:
It still strikes me as extraordinarily odd that Bruce has not introduced Everett Bradley to the crowd.  His name was mumbled as Bruce did the “roll call” but there has been no attempt to explain his presence on the stage.  He is not a mysteriously anonymous Viola player on a one-time-only performance of “The Angel,” either.  Everett is there for the entire show, taking percussion solos and at the front of the stage on vocals.  Curtis and Cindy were introduced after they joined the band.  Jay Weinberg was regularly acknowledged.  There was an entire press release when the horn section was announced for this tour.   I think the audience is almost owed an introduction of how this person is.

There were some notable problems with the sound mix in having the various instruments at the right volumes — notably, the horns were too low in the mix during “E Street Shuffle,” “Seeds” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” and there were problems with the guitar at the end of “Seeds.” Bruce seemed to have trouble with his monitors and had to request things to be brought up several times as well.

Bruce dedicated “The Way You Do The Things You Do” to his daughter who was at the show with a large group of her friends, and both Bruce and Patti clearly had a lot of fun singing the song to them.

The Greensboro audience lived up to their well-deserved reputation as one of the best crowds for Bruce in the US.  The crowd was energetic and enthusiastic in the right places, quiet and respectful in the right places as well.

Atlanta, Philips Arena, March 18, 2012

There were some of the usual rough spots for opening night but overall this was a solid show.  The new material in particular stood out as well-rehearsed and well-thought-out with respect to placement in the set.  At the end of the night, Bruce thanked the crowd, noting that “you couldn’t have been sweeter to us on our first night – we needed it” and that “it meant the world to us.”

“Easy Money” featured Bruce and Patti singing together at a microphone brought out to the center platform at the front of the stage, and each went to the alternate corners of the ramp at the end of the song to add to the visual effect.  It was quite enjoyable to see Bruce and Patti duet on something other than occasional Tunnel of Love song.  Bruce probably needs to drop the distortion effect he used on his microphone at the beginning of the song (think “bullet-mic” without actually using the “bullet-mic”) however.

“Jack of All Trades” remains a performance highlight but Bruce’s introduction was frustrating.  We know how active and engaging he can be while speaking — witness the South By Southwest speech this week  — but he just mumbled through an introduction of the song about accountability for the shrinking of the middle class before starting.  I wish he would be a bit more clear one way or the other.  He could let the song speak for itself, and there is no problem doing this, particularly when it is paired with “Seeds” to follow, an inspired choice.  Alternately, he could make a concise and direct introduction about the song’s background.  I’ll hopefully just chalk this one up to it being opening night.  Also notable from this song: it may well be that the “If I had me a gun…I’d shoot the bastards on sight” line will have the same reaction as the “I want an eye for an eye” line in “Empty Sky.”  I suppose this is the price paid for filling arenas.

The band came on stage to James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and Bruce repeated his “Star time at the Apollo” introduction, this time adding that he was #1 on the Billboard charts for four days (“watch out, Adele!”).  It’s a lot of fun but it still should be done by Steve and not Bruce himself.  Also repeated from the Apollo (which was very surprising) was the “The Way You Do The Things You Do” and “634-5789.”  Sticking this in the middle of the set wasn’t ideal.  This would be best suited to the encore.

Jake Clemons performed very well and it seemed that he did a bit better on some of the solos that seemed shaky at the Apollo.  The crowd was extremely generous and welcoming to him on the stage.

Bruce seemed genuinely tired by the end of Tenth Avenue.  Not simply because he was running around the stage (and crowd) but also I think because he was trying really hard to make this show work well; I get the impression that given the band’s losses, he feels as if he as to compensate even more.  Most of the time, this works great as it gives the crowd more of the close-interaction time, whether it’s going to the back of the stage, the ramps in the front or the platform in the middle of the floor.   Occasionally, it backfires, as Bruce playing the bass drum on “Jack of All Trades” during Nils’ solo seemed forced.  It’s as if someone needed to tell him “Hey, Bruce, it’s ok to step back to the drum riser and wait for the song to end.  You don’t have to be doing something here.”

Similarly, the expanded band seems to present some new challenges in that it almost seems as if Bruce felt obligated to find things for people do do on each song.  Some of the time, on “E Street Shuffle,” the entire band is going to be engaged and that’s fine.  But other times, it would be just fine to have people sit out the song.  It happened occasionally (the horn section did actually sit down for “The Rising”) but probably could stand to happen at other times as well.

Missing in action: Magic, The Promise, The River, most of Born in the USA, as well as the perpetually-missing Tunnel of Love, Human Touch and Lucky Town.  Then again, it’s only the first show.  There is still plenty of time to dump “American Land,” “Lonesome Day” and “Waiting on a Sunny Day.”

Atlanta Preview

While the Apollo and South By Southwest warmup shows showed us quite a bit about what’s going to happen on tour, I don’t think they came close to answering every question:

  • What else goes in the setlist for the standard show?

We’ve got the eight songs from the new album already in the set.  None of the covers from the Apollo got carried over to Austin, and we can safely assume that the Jimmy Cliff/Animals songs aren’t going to be repeated.  So what else gets played?

Material from The Promise?  Some covers for the encores?  The possibilities are wide open.

  • Is the beginning of the show set in stone?

Most tours have a run of songs that remains consistent for the entire tour — there was the Youngstown-Tenth Avenue portion of the set on the Reunion tour; there was the Rising-Badlands end to the set on the Magic Tour.  The opening run of “We Take Care of Our Own” through “My City of Ruins” was arguably the strongest part of the Apollo performance and clearly was well thought out for pacing and theme both.

  • Where does the main set actually end?

After “Thunder Road?”  Or after “Land of Hope and Dreams?”  It seems like the former is more likely.  If so, hopefully Bruce works on the portion of set leading up to Thunder Road, however, given that that appears to still be somewhat disjointed.

  • Is Michelle Moore going to be in Atlanta, and if not, does he play Rocky Ground anyway?

If Ms. Moore was available to tour, I bet Bruce would be bringing her along.  (It’s not as if the band isn’t big enough already).  But between Dave Marsh’s comments on the Sirius Broadcast and the fact that she’s only been brought out for her featured vocal spots (rather than singing for the entire show) it seems unlikely.

My personal hope is that Cindy does the rap and backing vocal line and the song stays in the set.  If not, keep your fingers crossed that Michelle has nothing else scheduled when the band is back in New York.

  • Does “American Land” stay on the shelf?

Let’s all hope so.

  • What about “Born to Run”?

I wouldn’t mind if it sat out the first leg of the tour as it seems inevitable that it will be back for the stadium shows (both in the US and in Europe).

Thoughts on the Apollo Show

Recapping from the earlier questions:

  • Is the band as well-rehearsed as we hope they are?

Yes! The performances were good and solid. The beginning of the set was extremely tight. Pacing wasn’t perfect and there are still a couple of transitions to improve on (Rocky Ground into Land of Hope and Dreams). These are minor complaints, though.

  • What, if anything gets played from “The Promise?”

Nothing. A product of the short set? Or does Bruce not think the material fits? I am hopeful that a longer, “full” show will still give us something from this record.

  • Does Bruce have some new ideas about how to use his back catalog among the new songs?

Yes! and No! Hopefully a full show will offer the chance to improve here.

My City of Ruins was an inspired choice and something I didn’t see coming. Masterful use of the back catalog.

The rest of the set though? Not really. Keeping “Sunny Day” in the set is basically inexcusable. I understand what the song does, and coming after Empty Sky and You’re Missing, the optimism and singalong made sense. That was ten years and three tours ago and now somehow the song just won’t go away. Bruce brought out Mary’s Place at the first rehearsal show in 2009 but then wisely decided to put it away and it was absent for the entire tour. We can only hope that the same thing happens here.

I quite enjoy Badlands, Tenth Avenue and The Rising and I embrace those songs as key to the Springsteen live show. It probably helps that they’re among his best songs. Sunny Day is not. Thunder Road seemed a bit miscast in its spot in the setlist.

  • Other notes and comments:

There is a new member of the band! On percussion and vocals. He/she even came down front to sing at one point. Now, if we could just get their name…

People actually left the show early. No, really. You reap what you sow; this is why you don’t hold back 75% of the house for VIPs. Audience sounded pretty good on the broadcast overall.

The beginning of the show (first eight songs) was an inspired and cohesive set. Rocky Ground-Land of Hope and Dreams-Tenth Avenue was a great way to end the main set. The middle? Well, let’s just say — this is why you have rehearsal shows. I think there is some rearranging to be done there.

It’s distinctly possible that The Way You Do the Things You Do, 634-5789 and Hold On, I’m Coming were unique to the Apollo set. Fair enough, but hopefully Bruce doesn’t forget those performances and considers putting a cover or two in the set (perhaps in the encores).

Apollo Show Preview

The tour may not officially open until a week from Sunday in Atlanta but tonight is the first proper show of the 2012 incarnation of the E Street Band.

Kicking things off at a closed show is unusual, but not unprecedented; tonight may be most comparable to the “dress-rehearsal” performance before the 1992 tour began.  The selection of the venue and the live broadcast certainly are great publicity tools and make good sense given that Bruce’s new songs aren’t going to get any substantial radio play anywhere else.  Hopefully lessons were learned after the debacle that was the Sirius broadcast of the July 4, 2008 show and this show is broadcast in full, without “commentary” or interruption.

That the show is essentially a private party on behalf of a for-profit corporation is a bit stranger.  While Sirius did announce that they will “make a contribution” to WhyHunger, that announcement is merely tangential to the existence of the show itself. It seems fundraising opportunities may well have been passed up here.

The various contests run to win tickets to the show will account for approximately 25% of the house and it’s my hope that will increase the chances of having a good show.  It may not be an audience of die-hards at Convention Hall, but it’s better than nothing.

We may never know exactly why Bruce and his management kept changing their minds about whether or not to do public rehearsal shows but there are some questions that I do hope are answered tonight:

  • Is the band as well-rehearsed as we hope they are?

It would be fair to note that the first shows of the past few tours were notably sub-par.  Given that they were billed as “rehearsals,” this was certainly more than acceptable, if not expected.  On a live broadcast, the stakes are a bit different.

  • What, if anything gets played from “The Promise?”

Stevie may have mentioned in an interview that they really have “two new albums” but, all due respect to him, he doesn’t make the setlist.  The presence of the horn section seems to cry out for “Talk to Me” or “Gotta Get That Feeling.”  I think Save My Love is a likely candidate to be in the set most nights.

  • Does Bruce have some new ideas about how to use his back catalog among the new songs?

In some ways, this is the most exciting part of the revealing of the new set.  I fully expect “Born to Run” and “Badlands” to be present but with this new tour there’s a lot of potential to find new and interesting things to play.

The great hope here is that Bruce sees fit to avoid things that have become tired and played out — most notably “American Land” and “Waiting on a Sunny Day” — but also remembers he has a bunch of good songs from albums other than Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town.

With the gospel influences in the new music and having Curtis and Cindy in the band again, some the Human Touch and Lucky Town material could fit well — think “Roll of the Dice,” “Leap of Faith,” or even a full band “Real World.”

The Rising and Magic material, with the exception of two or three songs, has been underplayed over the past few tours.  I think “Living in the Future” could work again and would fit topically (perhaps without the rap).  “Mary’s Place” seems a perfect choice for the horns and would also work well, if that infernal “building a house” monologue is dropped and the song played straight.

“Reason to Believe” was an inspired choice of a back-catalog song to become a regular in the setlist two tours ago; “Seeds” was in the same spot on the last tour.  Perhaps “This Hard Land” would fit in that spot for 2012, for a shot of measured optimism to accompany the themes of salvation and redemption on Side B of Wrecking Ball.

Brucespringsteen.net Redesign

With the new album out and the new tour starting, it was as good a time as any to freshen up Bruce’s website and I think they did a pretty good job with the formatting and design. I will admit to actually liking the low-tech version of the site that had been around for so many years. Particularly, I thought its key features were:

  • The lyrics repository and lyric search function;
  • The handwritten setlist scans; and
  • The easily navigable design.

Fortunately, the redesign has kept these features while drastically improving the visual aesthetic, and also adding plenty of new content (disclaimer: I was one of the writers of said content). I very much appreciate that Sony/Columbia/JLM wanted unique, new material for the site and I think by doing so, it fashions the site as an important resource, particularly for those who may listen to music other than Springsteen from time to time.

The site leaves the impression that there is more material to be added, and given my work on preparing content, I think it’s very possible (if not likely) that more will be added in the future.

Here’s hoping that in addition to the new content and new design, there will also be an expanded use of audio and video — including, hopefully, full songs (rather than two or three minute clips) — once the tour starts.