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On Tuesday night, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen took over Fenway Park for the first of his and the E Street Band’s two-night stint in Boston. And on Tuesday night, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen turned that beloved ballpark—which he had visited previously, also for a two-night stint, in 2003— into a sold-out sanctuary for fans of all ages. He took this old town like only he could and he made it his own.
Needing no opener, he stepped out onto the stage placed against Fenway’s Green Monster to a full crowd and a sky that still held the sun. Bruce kicked off the show with “The Promised Land”, continued to “Out in the Street”, “We Take Care of Our Own”, “Wrecking Ball”, and “Death To My Hometown” without speaking anything more than an “Oh Yeah” and “Boston”. He then addressed the audience, thanking them for coming out and asking if that night was the first concert for anyone in the crowd. Upon hearing a roar of “Yes”, The Boss himself humbly responded with, “Wow, pressure’s on.”
Bruce then spoke of how there are people who have lived their lives in his audience and people in his audience who were just beginning their lives. He briefly touched on how there were old faces in the E Street Band as well as new faces, a topic he would return to toward the end of the show. He then said, “This is a song about living with ghosts, and I think we should shine a light on that [Pesky] pole right now.”
The crowd erupted into cheers for the legendary Johnny Pesky who passed away just the day before, but also —of course— for The Big Man Clarence Clemons who passed away on June 18th, 2011 as the band began to play, “My City Of Ruins”.
The crowd respectfully sat down to absorb slower songs like “Jack Of All Trades” but were right back up on their feat immediately after. Springsteen and the E Street Band picked up their energy level ten-fold with “Atlantic City” and didn’t let up until the end of the performance, taking relief only by wringing out sponges over each other’s heads.
One of the most memorable moments of the night was when Bruce stepped down in front of the stage while singing “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day”. He saw a young boy, who could not have been more than eleven years old, singing every word right along with him. The Boss pulled that boy out of the crowd, over the guard rail, and carried him up onto the stage. He then handed the boy the mic, and the boy proudly sang, “Gonna chase the clouds away/ Waitin’ on a sunny day”.
Bruce and the band played other classics such as “Thunder Road”, “Born To Run”, “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”, and “Dancing In The Dark”. A very special moment happened during “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”; it was dedicated to The Big Man, and a beautiful video montage featuring photos of Clemons was projected behind the band. It should be noted that the five-piece horn section included Jake Clemons, Clarence’s nephew, on saxophone.
“I’m gonna play a song about your town!” Bruce called out, and then played the first chords of “Dirty Water”. Red, white and blue fireworks shot out of the Green Monster and the band continued onto a version of “Twist And Shout”. By the end of the song, which marked the end of the night, they had been playing for three and a half hours. The last words out of The Boss’s mouth were, “We’ll be back tomorrow” and the crowd filtered out of Fenway Park some hoping they could, some wishing they could, and some bragging that they would be back the next night.
If you liked this, check out:
Brandi Carlile and Josh Ritter Live at the Bank of America Pavilion
Concert Watch: August 16-19, 2012