Wrecking Ball Fall Tour Preview
The tour officially starts up again on Friday on Ottawa but first there is the matter of Bruce’s two appearances in support of President Obama’s re-election campaign today. Some of the song choices are probably predictable – I’d put good money on “The Promised Land,” for example – but there also exists the chance for some material different than what was played when Bruce joined John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008.
One clue, for example, lies in the message Bruce posted on his website today in support of the President: a quote from “Long Walk Home,” a song that would be quite topically appropriate.
In 2004, John Kerry was using “No Surrender” long before Bruce showed up and played the song at his rallies. “The Rising” was heard at plenty of Obama campaign stops in 2008 and again, Bruce played the song at rallies supporting the campaign. So will tomorrow feature the debut of an acoustic version “We Take Care of Our Own?” I’m looking forward to finding out. I give it a better shot than a version of “Shackled and Drawn” (dedicated to Mitt Romney).
Continuation of the “Wrecking Ball” Tour
As for the rest of the tour, I don’t think there will be lots of surprises in Ottawa on Friday night but once the tour moves along, I think there’s great potential for the show to evolve, particularly with it back indoors.
One obvious possibility is for Bruce to refocus on the “Wrecking Ball” album. No longer constrained to the short attention spans of stadium crowds, “Rocky Ground” may well return to the set on a more regular basis. “This Depression” was such a revelation in its performances at Wrigley and in New Jersey that I think it also stands a good chance of making more appearances. Additionally, with the exception of the Oakland and Anaheim shows, this leg of the tour will be visiting markets that haven’t had a show yet, and I think that increases the possibility that Bruce will want to give the crowd the opportunity to hear those new songs.
Hearing lots of songs from The Promise, Tunnel of Love, and Lucky Town may be a longshot wish oft-cited here but I am more optimistic that Bruce may finally see fit to include some of the “Magic” material in the show again. “Livin’ in the Future” and “Gypsy Biker” would be perfect additions to the set but I’d settle for the above-mentioned “Long Walk Home” and perhaps the occasional “Radio Nowhere.”
Other factors to consider:
-Sign requests were almost entirely eliminated by the end of the US stadium leg; not a single request was granted via sign at the three New Jersey shows. Hopefully this trend continues.
-Material from The Promise will probably remain elusive but it was encouraging that Bruce had “Ain’t Good Enough For You” on his planned setlist for the second night in Philadelphia. Combined with the fact that “Talk to Me” has gone over extremely well in each of its (rare) appearances this tour, perhaps Bruce will continue to at least consider this material more often than he does Tunnel or Human Touch songs.
-Soundchecks on the most recent leg of the tour revealed lots of songs that might not be perfect for stadiums, including “Nothing Man,” “TV Movie,” and “Give the Girl a Kiss.” Maybe these songs themselves don’t get played but hopefully they show a continued interest in digging around the dusty corners of the back catalog.
The “Stay Hard, Stay Hungry, Stay Alive” Fall Tour wishlist:
5. “Rocky Ground,” in the set every night.
4. “Swallowed Up (in the Belly of the Whale).” Just once. Even if it’s only in an acoustic version opening the encore.
3. “Ain’t Good Enough For You.” This could be the new crowd participation number.
2. Something new from the ’92 era. Yes, its understandable why Bruce is generally cool to the idea of playing these songs with E Street, but given the instrumentation on stage, it would be a tremendous missed opportunity to not try a song or two with this band. “Better Days;” a rocked-up version of “The Big Muddy;” a full-band “Real World” – the potential is overflowing here.
1. “I Wanna Be With You” – still #1 on my list of things I’ve never seen the band do in concert.