Springsteen Gives Crowd 'Reason To Believe'

The Tampa Tribune, 2005-11-05, by: Curtis Ross
When Bruce Springsteen performed "Blinded by the Light" during his encore Friday night, it was more than a welcome rendition of an old favorite. It was pure joy, a celebratory rush and a release after a set that focused on reality and the high price of dreams.

There was humor in Springsteen's between-song banter. He joked that all pop songs, of love or protest, had the same aim: "To get somebody to pull their pants down."

That's true probably 98 percent of the time, but Springsteen writes love songs that go way beyond the usual pop constraints. To him, love is the ultimate act of courage.

Springsteen kicked off with "Fade Away" before a St. Pete Times Forum crowd of 10,113.

The solo show saw Springsteen taking musical risks, perhaps none greater than the second number, "Reason to Believe." The jaunty, acoustic-guitar-driven track from 1982's "Nebraska" was almost unrecognizable. Springsteen accompanied himself with harmonica and foot stomps, turning the song into a distorted, demonic blues wail.

"Atlantic City" was performed on piano, which brought a lovely, circular, melodic figure to the fore. For "State Trooper," Springsteen drummed an electric guitar for a rendition that sounded like the rockabilly of the damned.

"Wreck on the Highway" and "My Hometown" were incredibly moving, as was "The Rising," in which the repeated line "dream of life" sounded like a prayer.

Springsteen closed with "Dream Baby Dream," by the '70s duo Suicide. Playing the three-chord riff on the organ, Springsteen turned the song into a strange, beautiful hymn to hope.

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2005-11-04 St. Petersburg Times Forum, Tampa, FL