2002-08-15, The Palace, Detroit, MI

The Rising Tour
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Notes

Approximately 2 hours, 25 minutes.

Eyewitness accounts

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Bentsy Abraham wrote: I was at the show at the Palace of Auburn Hills and it was the best show I ever saw. I thought it was better than the 2 shows here during the reunion tour 3 years ago. Even though it was only 2.5 hours, there was an awesome electricity to the place. It was a phenomenal concert, it was great to see bruce play stuff from the rising, especially you're missing, that was such an emotional song. People around me had tears in their eyes. Glory Days, Born In The USA, Born to Run were tremendous. If you haven't seen Bruce on this tour, you are missing out people.

Magnus wrote: It was my 23rd show, and while I had seen the ESB 19 times before, I had never been very close to the stage. But my tour buddy Andy was able to trade his way to a pair of GAs for Detroit, and we were determined to make the most of the tickets and try to get as close to the stage, within the coveted "first 300". We arrived at the arena around noon with another friend, where we found the dropline and were able to sign on as numbers 51 to 53. There were numerous problems with the arena staff. Clearly some arenas have no experience with handling even small groups of fans before the afternoon of an event, and the staff at the Palace were both incompetant and unpleastant to deal with. They contiunuously changed their "policy", and asked for bribes to allow us into their empty parking lot before 4pm, while we were gathered by the side of a highway outside the arena. Before being wristbanded, we had to sign some kind of waiver form (which no one was given time to read time to read), that probably said something about us taking responsibility for any injury which might incurr in what they called the "mosh pit". Once we got into the arena at around 6pm, the staff were more helpful, and did their best to honour our drop list, but they weren't great at showing us just how to get to the floor, which resulted in a mad dash around an unfamilar arena. Big thank yous go out to Ted and Todd for running the dropline so effectively and fairly. We were able to move in and out of the dropline pretty freely, and tailgate with other fans. Everyone seemed to be trying to sell extra tickets for under face, generally unsuccessfully. I didn't even see any scalpers outside the arena at all. It was nice meeting Ryancoke and AlanSorrells w. wives before the show, and truly great to later experience the show together with Alan and his wife Angel.

Finally we got to the floor, and after seeing so many shows from nosebleed seats, I couldn't quite believe that I was so close to the stage. We ended up 2nd row between Patti and Steve, and I just knew the show was going to be a new kind of experience. After experiencing the disappointing Cleveland crowd from upper tier seats, I was glad to be close to the stage, where I figured the fans would be rocking all night. Before the show, people were sitting down on the floor, and had time to go for bathroom breaks and such, without too many problems.

I can't quite seewhy so many people are pissed off with the GA system. No longer do you need to luck through with TM or be pretty and get MIBed to get up close. It just a matter or early bird get's the f**king worm. We were among the first to get to the show, and among the closest fans to the stage. There really wasn't much of a crush in front of the stage, except when Bruce came along the very edge of the stage a few times, and everyone surged forward to touch him. There weren't really any bad episodes to speak of at the front, except one over-excited man who shouted loud out to Patti right after Bruce had asked for quiet. He was shushed promptly by fans around him, but later got a smile from Patti (and a joking admonission from Bruce) with a better time shout of; "Patti we love you!" One man next to me seemed very intent on keeping a larger than necesary area clear around his girlfriend or wife, who was in the front row. It is great to be so close to the stage, but people, this is a rock "n" roll show. If you can't stand to wait outside in line for a whole day, and then be kind of pressed up against other sweaty fans for a couple of hours, maybe you should go for reserved seat intead. I know I wouldn't have taken a young child to the very front myself. Not because anyone really wanted to push forward at other people's expense, but it did get just a little bit stiffling at times. Just like a rock show should be.
Seeing a show from the "front lines" is such a different experience, and I really can't recommend it enough to anyone who hasn't tried it yet. Aside from the obvious fact that you are right at the feet of the band, the sound quality is stellar. It was pretty much like listening to a Crystal Cat bootleg, although that might conceiveably change if you are far out on one of the wings. The only sound problem I remember was that I still couldn't hear Steve's mandolin during Glory Days, and I still couldn't really hear the playful exchange between him and Bruce towards the end of that song (it was actually only at the NJ show on 8/7 that I could make out what they were saying). I can't comment on the sound quality or "audience quality" in the rest of the arena, but I heard that the audience was compareable to the one in Cleveland; around 85% capacity, and not quite as into the show as the east coast crowds were. But in front of the stage for 2 and a half hours, that mattered little to me.

If you are able to get in among the first 300 or so, you get close enough to the band to see little details that get lost or overlooked on the video screens. Their facial expressions, the little interactions bandmembers have with one other. You notice what they are doing when the spotlight isn't on them. I never realised that Garry and Patti were so animated. Patti especially seemed to be having a great time playing, and she is being utilised so much better on this tour than the last one. Bruce seemed to be in great spirits, and looked like he was having a terrific time playing. I could see how he fed off the energy of the front rows just from watching his eyes sparkle with excitement as he belted played the harmonica solo to Promised Land.

There's one more thing you can't quite appreciate without seeing it up front: Bruce sweats bucketloads. That headband he used to wear in the 80s wasn't just for show. By the time he was ripping into Prove it, his shirt was darkening, and his arms were already glistening. By the time he played Worlds Apart, he was as soaked as if he had just jumped into a pool, and the sweat was dripping off him and his guitar constantly. Towards the end of the song, when he began clapping his hands above his head in time with Max's drumming, you could see cloud of perspiration every time he brought his hands together. I knew that Bruce put 110% of his energy into his performances, but I had never really witnessed it up close like this, and just seeing him work so hard gave me a whole new appreciation for just how much of himself he puts into entertaining 20 000 fans each night. Experiencing a show so close up was a very physical experience, both because I was really getting into the show myself, and because I was watching Bruce working himself up 10 times harder than anyone in the audience. I've been in the army, I've worked in moving companies, working through hot Virginia summers, and I've seen Clarence Clemmons play at the Stone Pony, but I have never seen anyone sweat as much, or work so hard as Bruce did right there in front of me.

The performance seemed electrifying to me, and while it is impossible to objectively compare this show to the others I saw from nosebleeds, I was able to identify a couple of highlights of the show. Worlds Apart is a powerhouse performance and just gets better every night; and Bruce's guitaring at the end is up there with the guitar solo that ends Prove it (or Because the Night back in '78). Mary's Place was really loose and fun, and opened with a few choice lines from Dancing in the Street; the reference to the Motor City getting roars of excitement from the Detroit audience. It was a great moment, the kind of little detail that the show needs more of. Whether planned or not, it was a nice touch which injected some freshness into an otherwise preictable setlist. It also left me hungering for a certain medley in the encores, which I suppose Bruce decided not to play for his own reasons.

By the time the show ended, with a typically high energy encore set, I was drained. I hadn't been so tired after a show, since after my first ever ESB show from the last tour. Just looking at the faces around me as the arena emptied out was a thrill in and of itself. Seeing Bruce put on a show from that close up is something special, and every true fan deserves the chance to experience it for themselves.

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(1988 or 1988-07 or 1988-07-25)




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