« Richie makes a hash of it | Main | Camp Ronald McDonald 15th Annual Family Halloween Carnival »

October 18, 2007

Bruce Gets the Stars to the Garden

Bruce Gets the Stars to the Garden

Bruce Springsteen’s opening show at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night sure brought out the stars. Bono showed up, but chose to hang backstage. Ethan Hawke was spotted in the audience, as were Broadway’s Patti Lupone, ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas and Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora. Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner was so enthralled by Bruce he brought his wife, Jane. (Yes. They are still husband and wife despite, well, a lot.)

Before the show began, Little Steven van Zandt, Springsteen’s musical leader and guitarist, held a reception backstage for his Sirius Radio show, “The Underground Garage.” Fellow "Sopranos" James Gandolfini and Jerry Adler made the scene, and took pics with Little Steven.

(Our kudos and thanks to Steven: he convinced Bruce to play “Thundercrack,” a 1974 rarity, as one of the night’s encores. This was a thrill for my friend Vicki Fischer, who actually saw Bruce play the song at Max’s Kansas City back in the day.)

Springsteen’s show — sold out, natch — was a jubilant recreation of old hits and new ones from his top selling “Magic” album.

“Magic,” by the way, would seem the obvious choice for Album of the Year at the next Grammys. Songs from “Magic” like the title track, "Devil’s Arcade," "Last to Die" and "Living in the Future" fit very well into the live Springsteen show. The audience actually sang along to a new song, “The Girls in Their Summer Clothes.” Later, Bono was overheard telling Springsteen manager Jon Landau that that was the album’s hit.

But Bruce didn’t disappoint with older songs, too. From “The Rising,” he played the title track and sang “Lonesome Day.” Among the classic classics, “Born to Run,” “Badlands,” “Promised Land” and “Backstreets” were outstanding.

Springsteen threw in “Brilliant Disguise” for the first time on this tour, too, and it became a lovely duet for him and band member/wife Patti Scialfa. He got a carnival effect on “Darlington County” — featuring Soozie Tyrell and Clarence Clemons. “Dancing in the Dark” proved a perfect ending, followed by the Irish jig, “American Land.”

Springsteen remains a marvel. First of all, at 58, he rocks like there’s no tomorrow. He’s incredibly fit and focused. Second, while the show is about dancing and rocking out, it’s also all about politics. Before he sang “Livin’ in the Future,” he reiterated his feelings about the change in the habeas corpus law and in civil rights. He openly supports the New York City Coalition for the Homeless, too.

But mostly, he and the E Street Band are homeboys. I couldn’t help thinking during the show last night: Do they get this in other places? I’ve never seen Springsteen play outside the New York area. It’s hard to imagine other cities appreciating him; he is such a creature of this little metropolis. Just hearing a little of Clarence play his horn — that’s a comforting sound. That and hearing Bruce count off each song, “Ah, one, two, three, four!”

Springsteen finishes his Garden gig Thursday night, but don’t worry. I’m told a whole new leg of the tour is about to be announced, with many more dates coming next year in New York and everywhere. Of course, that would make sense once “Magic” is crowned Album of the Year.

Posted by riesambo at October 18, 2007 11:11 PM