I reviewed this show for Backstreets. Report can be found there.
There is no immutable requirement that the final Springsteen show of a multi-night stand be the best of that stand. Yet, by the final night of a stand, one can at least have the reasonable expectation that the setlist will be, at a minimum, changed and varied.
Saturday’s show was plain baffling, given that the songs “surrounding” the album performance were almost all repeats from earlier in the stand (“Cadillac Ranch,” “Raise Your Hand” and “Rosalita” were the exceptions).
Once one takes into consideration what was played in the two Oslo and two Turku shows, the events in Stockholm become more frustrating. Bruce has ready and at his disposal plenty of alternatives rather than playing “The Rising,” “Sunny Day,” “Out in the Street,” “Twist and Shout,” “Thunder Road,” and “The Promised Land” yet again.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with playing any of those songs (“Sunny Day” excepted). It’s just that they had all already been covered earlier in Stockholm. There’s no need for Bruce to default to these regular crowd-pleasers when he is already essentially performing an encore in the main set. If there was ever a night to skip those songs, this was it!
If “Born in the USA” comprises song numbers 7-18 of the set, then Bruce owes it to the audience to try something a bit more challenging in those first seven spaces, or in the ones that follow.
I can fully admit that the full-band version of “Real World” with horns and singers that I hear in my head is not likely to be played, and neither is much of the “Tunnel of Love” album. There is still plenty, however, that Bruce reasonably can and should be doing to his setlists to keep them fresh, interesting and relevant. Full-album performances is not one of those things.
I remain disappointed that Bruce thinks that performing “album” shows is either the best way to thank his fans, or the best way to do something “new” with his show. As he proved to everyone in Turku, neither of those things are true.