Bruce hits Jersey for victory lap

New York Daily News, 2003-07-16, by: ?
Bruce Springsteen kicked off the final lap of his "The Rising" tour last night at Giants Stadium with a roar that could be heard practically in Atlantic City.

New Jersey's biggest rock star returned home to launch the stadium's longest concert run by serving up three decades of anthems, heartbreakers, reflections, road tunes and good-time music that left 55,000 adoring fans mostly just wanting more.

They can get it if they really want. Springsteen will play nine more shows at the Meadowlands through Aug. 31, and while the place was packed last night, tickets were not hard to locate outside.

In fact, that seems to be an unspoken part of the plan behind this series, which catapults Bruce well beyond his 1985 record of six stadium shows. Since every Springsteen concert in this area for 28 years has sparked complaints that fans couldn't get tickets, this run seems designed to ensure that anybody who wants to catch him can.

On a picture-perfect opening night that saw thousands of loyalists arrive early to set up in the parking lot with tape decks, barbecue grills and cold beer, Springsteen opened the show with a haunting solo rendition of "Born in the U.S.A." and took the volume down as much as possible a few songs later for the plaintive Sept. 11-inspired medley of "Empty Sky" and "You're Missing."

But a big stadium wants a big show, and Springsteen came equipped to deliver. It took about a note and a half for the crowd to conduct its own rising when he blasted into classics such as "Promised Land," "Bobby Jean," "Sherry Darling" and "Out in the Street."

At those moments, the evening became as much festival as concert, with tens of thousands of voices joining on the whoa-whoa chorus of "Badlands," the refrain of new favorite "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" and, of course, every syllable of "Thunder Road" and "Born to Run."

Springsteen himself joined that part of the fun with several of the extended musical vamps that seem to have largely replaced his old monologues.

Fans who saw the show when it opened last August at the Meadowlands will see a slightly looser production now, not as directly focused on "The Rising" CD. Last night's set list didn't offer anything from deep left field, but Springsteen broke out a number of unusual tunes on the just-finished European leg of the tour, and it wouldn't be surprising to hear several before the Giants Stadium dates wrap up.

Next show, by the way, is tomorrow night.



2003-07-15 Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ