Concert Review: Springsteen Rocks Pennsylvania

by Vincent Lee

The challenge of staying relevant as the years go on is a daunting task few artists are capable of consistently meeting. Some artists attempt to reinvent themselves or change their old songs to achieve this feat. More often than not this ends poorly. However, there are musicians who have managed to stay significant as the years go on. One such example is Bruce Springsteen. At his recent concert in Hershey, PA (on Aug. 19) he showcased exactly why he has not faded into obscurity.

For years Springsteen has been known for his terrific live performances, whether solo or with his E Street Band. On one of the last nights of the Magic tour Springsteen pulled out all the stops playing songs from all over his catalouge. The set list began with standard songs such as “Radio Nowhere” and “Out in the Street.” During a brief song request segment the John Lee Hooker cover “Boom Boom” made its tour premiere. For the finale of the song request period, Springsteen played an interesting version of the usually quiet ballad “Reason to Believe.” The song was turned electric and upbeat. Springsteen continued the high speed pace of the show playing songs from nearly every album. The entire evening was filled with lots of energy. The only minor slow down was for another tour premiere “Part Man, Part Monkey.” Just prior to that was the standard Springsteen “sermon” as part of “Mary's Place.” And then Springsteen concluded the set with “Badlands.”

The encore was undoubtedly the highlight of the show. During the encore, Springsteen and the E Street Band played seven songs, and three songs were from Born To Run including the epic "Jungleland." Clarence “Big Man” Clemons played the two-minute sax solo with perfection. Other highlights included the always fun “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” and “American Land” from the Seeger Sessions. The show ended with the surprising “Gloria,” a cover of the classic from Van Morrison and Them, and a song that displayed Springsteen’s roots (the first time Springsteen played that cover on the tour). Throughout the show, Springsteen showcased why he and his work are timeless. He did not need to rework every song or change the way he performs. Instead, he put on the same show with the same energy and vigor he has for the past 35 years, yet he and his band are still refreshing and classic.

(The photo shows Bruce Springsteen performing in Barcelona, Spain in May of this year; the photo is by Yosi- via Flickr, using a Creative Commons License. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will continue their world tour with a performance in St. Louis, MO on Aug. 23. To see Springsteen & the E St. Band cover "Summertime Blues" at one of three appearances in New Jersey at Giants Stadium last month, please check below.)

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