Springsteen's Fenway finale fabulous

Boston Herald, 2003-09-09, by: Dean Johnson
It had always been bad news for Boston whenever someone rolled into Fenway Park and swept a weekend doubleheader.

But Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band has changed all that. Sunday night's sold-out concert for more than 36,000 fans was another unqualified success - nearly two dozen songs performed over three hours.

Initial response from Springsteenians who attended both Saturday night and Sunday shows point to the latter as the better of the two in terms of energy, sound quality and song selection.

The two will be talked about for years to come, in great part because they broke the long-standing rock 'n' roll blockade at the grand ballpark with a great sense of style.

A good case could be made that August's second Springsteen show at Gillette Stadium was a better concert than either at Fenway. But nothing in Foxboro came close to matching the Fenway gigs as overall musical events.

"BRUCE," in huge letters, was even carved into the grass around the pitcher's mound by the Fenway Park crew.

Sunday night's concert was based on the same skeleton as Saturday's show. It was bookended by the same tunes - a starting "Diddy Wah Diddy" as done by the Hub's first great rock band, the Remains, and a closing "Dirty Water" with a little help from Peter Wolf - and also featured several songs early on from "The Rising."

The set was more song-oriented and less guitar-driven than the band's recent Foxboro shows. An early highlight included a slashing "Adam Raised a Cain," but the show went blue flame an hour into the night when the band launched into a series of songs that included, in order, "Spirit in the Night," "For You," "Because the Night," "She's the One" and "Mary's Place."

The group also tossed in a rollicking "Glory Days" and dug deep for "Frankie," a tune they did several times at sound check and still false-started in the show. But when they locked in on it, they dished out a sultry version.

Springsteen prowled the catwalks on either side of the stage and once brought most of the band with him. His stage chatter - talking about rock 'n' roll exorcisms for Fenway and how his native New Jersey is "perilously close" to the Big Apple - also paralleled Saturday's show.

But among the encores, including a storming "Rosalita," he also spoke of the "sacred trust" of "demanding accountability of our leaders."

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2003-09-07 Fenway Park, Boston, MA