Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Xcel Energy Center, 11/11/12
|Photo by Steve Cohen|
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Sunday, November 11, 2012
If there are two Americas -- or realistically, a lot more -- it's safe to say that a good portion of them were represented for Bruce Springsteen's show Sunday in St. Paul. The show was the Boss' return to full-scale performances after the 2012 election. The first of back-to-back nights in town meant showing the packed Xcel Energy Center what it means to get back to a tireless work schedule.
"Good evening, good evening, Minneapolis-St. Paul!" called out the energetic 63-year-old rocker, clad in a mussed collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a black vest to mask the sweat, and dark jeans for full range of motion. "We're glad to be here tonight in a city where there's two streets named after us. Just today. Not tomorrow. They want to honor us, but not too much. Just enough."
Slideshow: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Xcel Energy Center
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The humble and proud Springsteen did seem to enjoy a bit of this pomp from the jacket-and-tie portion of his constituency, but there's no way to place the roar of 18,000 or so folks bellowing "BRUUUUUUCE" on the mantle. And, damned if he was going to let an opportunity to charm and incite his crowd elude him as three hours quickly rumbled by.
Anyone who digs more than a spoonful into Springsteen's lyrical content can gather that there's no need for lengthy diatribes on any topic when entertaining is the first order of business. Every message he's needed to put across has been turned into a song already. So, was the passionate opener "We Take Care of Our Own," a finger-wag at anyone able to turn a blind eye to the downtrodden "wherever this flag's flown," the right place to start because the show fell on Veteran's Day? He left that interpretation to us.
|Photo by Steve Cohen|
Multi-tasking proved essential as Bruce Springsteen attempted to touch, roll, crawl, and slide on his knees 'cross every corner of his stage, the long catwalk set up in the middle of the floor, and obviously into every beating drum inside the audience's chests. For how many people get to pat him on the back, slap their hands on his guitar, and scream into his microphone, it's apparent that it's never enough as far as he's concerned. This level of audience interaction reached a sweaty peak as the Boss fell into the masses and enlisted all the "strong men and women" to carry him, wearing a "don't you dare drop me" grin on his face, from the middle back up to the front of the stage during "Hungry Heart." Germaphobe, he is not.