Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band made their first stop in State College since 2009 and since the death of renowned saxophone player, Clarence Clemons, in June of 2011. The band impressed the varied crowd made up of kids, teens, many Penn State students, and older generation Springsteen fans as well.
The E Street band kicked off the concert with “Lion’s Den” — no, it’s not related to the State College bar — off Springsteen’s 1998 album, Tracks. He then ventured off into two songs off his newest album, “We Take Care of Our Own” and “Wrecking Ball.” Both songs brought a strong Jersey theme into the concert, as Springsteen always does, but this time even more so with the effects of Hurricane Sandy still crippling the Jersey Shore. After playing another song off his new album, Death to My Hometown, Springsteen spoke to the crowd about the band’s Jersey roots.
“We’re a band that you can’t separate from the Jersey Shore.”
To continue with the theme of the night, Springsteen played “My City of Ruins,” written in 2000. The song was written about Asbury Park. Springsteen said that it took 25 years for Asbury Park to rebuild after riots destroyed much of the city in 1970, but assured the eagerly listening crowd that the clean up from Sandy would be much quicker.
“My City of Ruins” has been associated with the 9/11 tragedy and the New Zealand earthquake. It will now likely be a theme for keeping the Jersey Shore and the rest of the hurricane victims optimistic. Springsteen will be performing a benefit concert in New York City tomorrow night.
Jake Clemons, nephew of the late Clarence Clemons, was asked by Springsteen earlier this year to take over for his father at saxophone in the E Street Band. The crowd erupted into cheers for him during his solo in “My City of Ruins.”
Springsteen took suggestions from the crowd which included “Seaside Bar Song,” the coincidentally named “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” “Jersey Girl,” and “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).” He played classics as well, such as “Working on the Highway,” one of the most fast-paced and fun songs of the night as well as “It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City,” “Darlington County,” “Cover Me,” and “Badlands.”
Missing from the performance were classics “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Thunder Road.”
The night allowed for some covers, including “Because the Night,” co-written by Springsteen and Patti Smith, “Raise Your Hand” from Eddie Floyd, and crowd-pleaser “Shout” which was the show’s finale. Before “Shout,” Springsteen performed his most well-known songs, “Born to Run,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.” Tenth-Avenue Freeze Out” included a touching tribute to Clarence Clemons during what would have been his solo.
Despite the sadness shared between Springsteen and the crowd over the devastation of hurricane Sandy, last night’s Bryce Jordan Center performance had the energy that only a Bruce Springsteen concert could have.