Sunday night’s show in Melbourne was the first of the Wrecking Ball tour to not include “My City of Ruins,” a song played at every show to date on the tour. Not only was this cornerstone of Bruce’s current live show mysteriously absent, but Bruce either forgot or deliberately omitted introducing the various members of the band on stage.
A fair analysis of the band introductions would certainly acknowledge they could tend towards being overblown, overwrought and occasionally too long, yet they also served as a humorous counterbalance to Bruce’s more serious material. On this tour, they served to introduce the numerous new faces to the crowd (the horn section and singers, in particular) who the more casual fans would not otherwise know while also allowing Bruce to acknowledge the absence of Clarence and Danny. Accordingly, it remains a big surprise that they would be omitted, even if Bruce felt it time to drop “My City of Ruins” from the show.
The importance of the band introductions is underscored by how rare it is for them to go missing. When was the last time they weren’t part of the show?
1. There were no band introductions during any of the three rehearsal shows for the Magic tour in September of 2007. Yet when the tour started on October 2 in Hartford, Bruce had taken to including them at the very end of “American Land,” where they would remain every night of that tour, and every night of the subsequent Working on a Dream tour.
2. There were no band introductions on the Vote for Change or Amnesty International Human Rights Now! tours. These shows, while headlined by the E Street Band, were multi-artist bills, resulting in a shortened set for Bruce. Consequently, the introductions were missing from these shows.
3. The last full-length show to be missing band introductions occurred at the very end of the Born in the USA tour on September 27, 1985.
At the beginning of the Born in the USA tour, “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” regularly ended the main set, and included the band introductions, as it had for the prior ten years. Once “Rosalita” dropped out of the show, Bruce started introducing the band during the “Travelin’ Band” section of the “Detroit Medley,” although there were certain shows (beginning with the November 8, 1984 show in Tempe) where the introductions would occasionally be omitted, usually in favor of an additional song in the medley — in Tempe, it was “I See a Train.”
When the “Detroit Medley” also dropped out of the set, the band would simply be introduced in the encores, usually between “”Born to Run” and “Ramrod” or after “Rockin’ All Over the World.” Some shows, however, simply omitted the introductions entirely, the last of which was the September 27, 1985 show in Los Angeles. Every full-length, tour-proper E Street Band show since then had included introductions until Sunday in Melbourne.