Where did things go wrong?
Did Bruce simply start off too strong, with the five straight songs from Darkness, and was unable to keep the intensity up?
Was the performance on the three songs in a row from Greetings a little flat?
Was it just not that good a crowd?
The answer is probably a little of everything. Which is not to say that this was a “bad” show, but perhaps one that didn’t meet the extreme expectations that a “last night in Philadelphia” show has attached to it going in. Personally, the one thing I was really disappointed was that nothing from the prior show’s soundcheck (“None But the Brave,” “County Fair,” or “TV Movie” made the set, no matter how much that might be wishful thinking).
As for “Jungleland,” I suppose that its appearance was to be expected, particularly after it came out at the last night in Boston. I understand why Bruce is playing it again, but my opinion remains the same as it was at the beginning of this tour – that it’s ok for some things to be retired. Any even-handed, fair analysis of Jake Clemons’ playing would note that he’s done a very good job on most of the solos this tour, but that shouldn’t serve as a mandate for everything to be put in the set. Retiring “Born to Run” would be a big deal, but not playing “Jungleland” would’ve been just fine.
Additionally, while it didn’t detract from the musicians’ actual performance, it certainly wasn’t appropriate to have all the stadium lights up as the song was played. Steve Van Zandt agreed, and repeatedly gestured to the crew backstage that the lights should be killed, and then shook his head disapprovingly when he was apparently told that they wouldn’t do so. Given the length of the show (with “Tenth Avenue” and an additional song coming afterwards) there was plenty of time to kill the lights and then bring them back up before the show ended.