What exactly is in store for the lucky thousands at the Garden and the millions watching on TV on Wednesday?
Rolling Stone had initially reported (on November 20) that Bruce and the E Street Band were one of the main acts that would get an approximately 45-minute set. That news came before the addition of the Rolling Stones to the bill, or the change that “Bon Jovi” would appear (ie. the entire band) rather than “Jon Bon Jovi” (just the one person). It would seem more likely that Bruce (and the other main artists) will be restricted to a slightly shorter set.
“My City of Ruins” would seem to be a lock (hopefully in a four to five minute version), and “We Take Care of Our Own” likely as well. “Born to Run” always works. What else is there? One obvious path is to stick to the crowd-pleasers, such as “Dancing in the Dark” and “Hungry Heart.”
My preferred set would be to go thematic, and find some things from the catalog that fit the tenor of the evening. “This Hard Land,” “Rocky Ground,” and yes “The Promised Land,” the latter of which would be a good opportunity to bring up a guest (Eddie Vedder?)
Artists Guesting with E Street
Perhaps having Bruce and Alicia Keys do “New York City Serenade” remains a pipe dream. But certainly she and Kanye West could lend their talents to “Rocky Ground” to marvelous effect.
Dave Grohl would do a fine job on “Badlands.”
If Bon Jovi is brought up for a duet, I hope Bruce sees fit to think outside the box somewhat and avoid the inevitable “Thunder Road.” I actually would quite enjoy seeing Bruce and Jon do “Talk To Me,” as a tip of the cap to the Jersey Shore.
There’s plenty of the spirit of “Long Live Rock” in “No Surrender,” and I think it’d be perfect for Bruce to do with Pete Townshend.
Bruce guesting with Other Artists
I’d expect Bruce to come out during Billy Joel’s set, so I’m hoping it’s for something other than “New York State of Mind.” “The Stranger” seems right in Bruce’s wheelhouse.
A guest spot during Roger Waters seems unlikely; during Kanye West is just wishful thinking. Eddie Vedder may well get the (obvious) guest-spot with The Who but if they do bring Bruce up I think it’d be for something from their earlier catalog: “I Can’t Explain,” “My Generation,” or “The Kids are Alright.”
Bruce. Jagger. “Street Fighting Man.” This needs to happen.