Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Xcel Energy Center, 11/11/12

Categories: Last Night

Seeing the entire place crammed with fans has to be just as important for a band that has spent 150 minutes grinning and still pushing onward.  The all-powerful "Born to Run" cascaded into "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)," and all the rubber-faced mugging by Bruce and Little Steven probably made several Instagrammers' dreams come true. Spirit fingers flew, and Springsteen closed out the song by proving that his hips could still shimmy and complete some Irish jig moves. The memory-making continued as an 88-year-old woman was brought to the stage the way Courteney Cox was many decades ago during "Dancing in the Dark" Bruce told us over and over, "You look good!" and he was right.

There was just enough left in the fuel-efficient tank for the last song of the night. Now vestless and in no mood to bother with hiding how sweaty he was, a 63-years-sprightly Springsteen vaulted atop the stage's white grand piano, spreading our eyes to another corner of the stage yet again. On such a chilly night in St. Paul, it would only be apt to wrap with "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out." He eventually rushed to his mic stand and, treating like a stripper pole, contorted himself -- knees out, back bent a little too far back. As expected, the music stopped midway through as a final, deafening remembrance cheer sounded for Clarence Clemons.

Visibly moved, Bruce spent the song's moments of closure making his way 'round one more time and reminding everyone that they'd be punching in again on Monday. Just another night at the office for the Boss, but plenty of good work done.   
Photo by Steve Cohen

Personal Bias: As a Springsteen first-timer, it's impossible to know where a show like Sunday's fits into the spectrum. For me, there are few live acts that can mesh a career's worth of material, a band of virtuosos, and stadium-sized heart so convincingly. He's only eight years younger than Bob Dylan, but what a difference in the level of energy. Also, you can see how everyone from Bono to Craig Finn (especially on "It's Hard to be a Saint in the City") gleans from Bruce's infectious live persona. In two cities filled with aspiring Springsteens everywhere, this is a masterclass on how to get an audience (and band) on your side by leading with unbridled spirit.

Overheard in the Crowd: A guy behind me was trying to be funny and asked "Can you try and stand up a little more?" because I think he actually wanted to sit down a little more. Some folks, huh?

The Crowd:
The perfect mix of expensive jewelry, trucker caps, and even an Abigail Breslin look-alike wearing a Nirvana T-shirt who Springsteen brought onstage to sing "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" with him.

By the Way: Bruce's wife, Patti Scialfa, was not performing with them Sunday. She was home with their daughter, he said.

We Take Care of Our Own
Wrecking Ball
Out in the Street
Death to My Hometown
My City of Ruins
Spirit in the Night
It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City
Hungry Heart
Jack of All Trades
Atlantic City
Savin' Up (sign request)
Open All Night
Darlington County
Two Hearts (sign request)
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Long Walk Home
Thunder Road

If I Should Fall Behind (sign request)
Rocky Ground
Born to Run
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Dancing in the Dark

Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

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