Wrigley x 2

Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.

No, Bruce Springsteen didn’t perform the great pop-rock song “Drift Away” in his two Wrigley concerts. But I did get lost in his rock and roll for two nights and it was sublime.

You can find plenty of reviews of these concerts online, as well as complete setlists.  http://www.backstreets.com/setlists.html and http://brucespringsteen.net/. Both were epic nights with setlists highlighted by songs like the 1978 version of “Prove It All Night” with its long instrumental opening, “Spirit in the Night” and “Blinded by the Light” from Springsteen’s first album, Greetings from Asbury Park. And rarities like “My Love Will Not Let You Down” and even “None But the Brave,” which really surprised me.  Fifty-five songs in two nights — a total of 42 different songs in the two setlists.

On both nights, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Tom Morello, the Nightwatchman, of the late great Rage Against the Machine, joined Bruce on stage.  Morello and Springsteen played the powerful electric version of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” both nights. Morello’s frenetic solos on his old custom-made “Arm the Homeless” guitar produce  sounds you rarely hear out of a guitar. I’m a big Morello fan.

Eddie Vedder performed two songs with Springsteen each night.  Fine duets on “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “Atlantic City” and “My Hometown.”

Photo at right: Bruce, Eddie, Tom and drummer Max Weinberg.  (Photo by Lois Bernstein from backstreets.com.)

For our family, the highlights were Saturday night.  My grandson James (he’s 14) went to his first Springsteen concert with me. And it rained.  But most significant was the fact that my 7-year-old niece was on her dad’s shoulders when Bruce sang Hungry Heart and made his way down a platform out into the field seats. He was singing to the crowd and high-fiving fans as he walked.  And he stopped and high-fived Juliana and said something like “you go” to her.  It was a priceless moment.

The difference between the two shows, of course, was the rain. Friday night was clear. Saturday night was too, until about two-thirds of the way through the show when a light rain started. And continued.  It never poured. It just rained and rained.  But it didn’t spoil the show and everyone got wet, including the frontman, who spent plenty of time out in the crowd, performing on the platforms built out among the pit and field seats.

Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away….

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