The Boss Is Back

Boston Herald, 2003-08-02, by: Dean Johnson
No performing artist tried to capture the mood of a post-9/11 America the way Bruce Springsteen did. Both his album "The Rising" and the initial shows supporting it were somber, reflective efforts.

Call those shows the Healing Tour, call these summer performances -including last night's sold-out 3-hour marathon - the Party Tour.
Springsteen and the E Street Band began the night with a torrid five-song skein that hit energy levels they wouldn't again match until the end of the night, including an encore run that included "Rosalita" and "Dancing in the Dark."

Fans who look for symbolism in everything Springsteen does should note that he opened with "The Promised Land" and didn't do "Born in the U.S.A."

But he did perform a roots version of "Mystery Train" dedicated to the late rockabilly pioneer Sam Philips. Other tunes among the more than two dozen dished out ranged from "Prove It All Night," "Darlington County," "Ramrod," and "No Surrender" to "Badlands," "Out in the Street," "Born to Run," and most of "The Rising."

But the mini-masterpiece was a supercharged, steam-driven "My Love Will Not Let You Down" done early on. It was one of several songs featuring fierce, squalling guitar breaks from Springsteen, Nils Lofgren and Miami Steve Van and included superb work from drummer Max Weinberg.

Springsteen hung upside down from a mike stand, swung his guitar around his body like a hula hoop, scrambled onto catwalks on both sides of the stage, and at one point just fell flat on his back.

But the night wasn't all fun and games. Springsteen dedicated "My City of Ruins" to the Boston Food Bank and noted before dedicating "Land of Hope and Dreams" to the Iraqi people that, "This playing with the Truth during wartime . . . is always wrong" and "demanding accountability from our leaders is our job as citizens."

But politcs was an aferthought last night in a performance full of guitars and joyous release.

"A pretty wild night," Springsteen reckoned near the end.

Indeed.

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2003-08-01 Gilette Stadium, Foxboro, MA