I reviewed this show for Backstreets. Report can be found there.
Needless to say, I was very pleased that Turku did not get an “album” show (apologies to my Finnish friends who were hoping otherwise).
The opening run of songs worked very well. “Two Hearts” and “No Surrender” certainly appeared to be audibles but it also could have been Bruce switching things around that were already on the setlist. Steve had a lot of fun during the start of the show, including “My Lucky Day,” which worked far better than I remember it from the Working on a Dream rehearsal shows.
When Bruce came down front to gather the signs, a fan near me in the crowd remarked that “well, it’s been a while since he’s done one of these shows.” And indeed, that was true. I still wish Bruce would put together his own set, but he did pretty well when presented with an eclectic choice of signs. I had a good vantage point and there were no “easy outs” for Bruce. My impression was that he wound up taking a bunch of things he didn’t really want to play this night (“Long Walk Home” and “Seeds” most notably) and had less to choose from than he intended. He obviously stuck to the least challenging material at the start, with “From Small Things” and “Pink Cadillac,” but then surprised me by actually pulling out the “Brilliant Disguise” sign, and turning in a great performance. I think we can all understand why he prefers to sing the Tunnel songs with Patti present, but it’s nice to see that he can do so even when she is gone. Maybe the same principle could apply to “Easy Money.”
Conversely, the rule “live-by-the-signs, die-by-the-signs” was observed tonight with the unexpected “Queen of the Supermarket.” Yes, we all get to cross it off on our list of “songs we’ve seen Bruce do” but save that, one wonders what might have taken that spot in the set – perhaps it would’ve been another solo piano performance, as was intended for the spot that “Mountain of Love” took in Stockholm. Incredible statistic: “Queen of the Supermarket” has now been played live twice this tour, while “Gypsy Biker,” “Livin’ in the Future” and “You’ll Be Coming Down” have not been played once.
One final word is due about the signs, as an observation throughout the tour, but also especially over the last few shows, which is that people really want to see “New York City Serenade,” and if the signs are any representation, it might be most desired “rare” song. Bruce will of course never spontaneously grant a request for it (it would require practice in advance) but perhaps he’ll keep that in mind if any more album shows get planned.
Moving “The River” early in the set (rather than following “Sunny Day”) was a good choice, but that also results in the spot following “Sunny Day” feeling somewhat empty. If Bruce doesn’t want to drop “The Rising,” he might also consider moving it to the front half of the show and trying something else in that spot in the show. Some of the “Lucky Town” material could work there, as would “High Hopes,” a song that I had (and still have) high hopes will be performed on this leg of the tour.