The Boss in with a crash, boom, bang
Albany Times Union , 2009-05-15
By Michael Eck
Really, when all was said and done, it was Jay Weinberg's night.
Jay who? Jay Weinberg.
Jay is the 18-year-old son of Max Weinberg, longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and as of Thursday night he is the new drummer for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, at least for a little while.
Weinberg pere also happens to be Conan O'Brien's bandleader, and as the TV host prepares to take over for Jay Leno, Weinberg had to repair to California despite the fact that Bruce is on tour.
"This is the first night in 35 years that somebody else sat at the drums," Springsteen shouted to the sold-out house at the Times Union Center on Thursday as Weinberg fils made his full-show debut.
This kid fills Dad's shoes and then some.
It was clear that Weinberg has re-energized an already pumped-up band, many members of which are three times his age.
But then Springsteen could rock the house with nobody on the drums.
The show kicked off with "Badlands" and criss-crossed albums from 1973 to 2009.
The newest offering, "Working On A Dream," doesn't live up to the sheer power of 2007's "Magic," but the melodramatic "Outlaw Pete" and the inspirational title tune both worked well live.
Springsteen also dedicated "Dream's" "Kingdom of Days" to his wife Patti Scialfa, who is still recuperating from a horse-riding injury.
More impressive was a run of requests that Springsteen honored after culling hand-printed signs from then audience.
Merely holding up the posterboard emblazoned with "Thunder Road" elicited cheers of delight, and performing the song garnered even more.
The same went for requests "Mony Mony" (yes, the Tommy James and the Shondells AM radio staple) and the always-stunning "Backstreets."
Later in the evening Springsteen wowed the faithful by pulling out a bright pink and yellow sign stating "Kitty's Back."
Weinberg was brilliant on the tune, a blues-tinged blast of organ jazz and beatnik poetry stabbed with electric guitar. Springsteen just beamed at the kid.
The Boss also gave his other pals room to shine. Nils Lofgren's solo in "The Ghost of Tom Joad" was jaw-dropping; Little Steven Van Zandt was a frequent presence at his side; and the Big Man, Clarence Clemons honked his legendary sax on the encore of "Land of Hope and Dreams" and tooted a pennywhistle on "American Land."
Perhaps most satisfying was a flint-edged take of Stephen Foster's 150-year-old classic "Hard Times."
This visit was not quite the soaring, spiritual adventure of Springsteen's November 2007 downtown concert, but it was a night of rock and roll that won't soon be forgotten.
Least of all by Jay Weinberg.