Chorus of voices gets `Rising' as Bruce returns to Gillette

Boston Herald, 2003-08-03, by: Sarah Rodman
Mother nature must be a Bruce Springsteen fan.

The gray skies never delivered on their threat during the Boss' second Gillette Stadium show last night.
The night got off to an explosive start as Springsteen and his brawny E Street Band lit into an incendiary "Adam Raised a Cain," which featured an out-of-the-gate scorching solo from the man himself.

It never ceases to amaze how Springsteen can make a crowd of 50,000-plus seem like a true community. That collective concert consciousness was cemented with the next tune as fans of all ages raised their voices for one of the most rousing versions of "The Rising" the band has played in these parts. Something about the sweaty joy on the faces of Springsteen and Little Steven as they shared a microphone and the forcefulness of the crowd's vocals lent a new poignancy and hopefulness to the anthem.

Several tunes from the Grammy-winning "The Rising" album got excellent workouts, including the darkly eerie "Worlds Apart." The tender and anguished ballad "Empty Sky" found Springsteen harmonizing achingly with wife Patti Scialfa. The lets-get-this- party-started rocker "Mary's Place' got the crowd cheering wildly for the mid-song band introductions.

While less voluble with his onstage chatting, physically the 53 year-old Jersey boy was as active as ever prowling a long ramp in front of the stage, hanging upside down from his incredibly sturdy microphone stand and falling to his knees on more than one occasion.

Fans of the early material clearly were ecstatic about the remainder of the set list, which included lesser-played tunes such as "My Love Will Not Let You Down" and "Night" and perennial staples "Badlands" and "The Ties That Bind," in a set that featured at least nine different songs from the previous night.

Especially good were the sizzling "Candy's Room," with Max Weinberg's hissing cymbals sounding like the fuse of a bomb that went off in the chorus and a jubilant "She's the One." A playful run through "Working on the Highway" turned into a back-porch hootenanny with Nils Lofgren laying down banjo, Clarence Clemons skitching on a washboard and Soozie Tyrell transforming her violin into a down- home fiddle.

The night's centerpiece was "Racing in the Streets." With its solemn piano opening intoned by Roy Bittan, Springsteen's intense yet soulful vocals and a majestic coda, it struck a deep chord.

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2003-08-02 Gilette Stadium, Foxboro, MA