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).

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