2002-08-18, Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV

The Rising Tour
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Notes

First change in setlist since the second show with the addition of "Viva Las Vegas", which was last played in Las Vegas on May 27, 2000.

Appr. 2 hours, 30 minutes.

Eyewitness accounts

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JM Jameson wrote: well, it wasn't a giant Exxon sign, but instead giant casino signs under which bruce's fans gathered Sunday night in las vegas for the sixth show of The Rising tour. the UNLV basketball arena slowly filled up yesterday evening, its cool interior contrasting with the 110 plus temperature outside.

i clutched my ebay-sourced general admission tickets as my friend and i filed in about an hour before the show's scheduled time. i had wondered how early to arrive for a decent location on the arena floor. even with this late arrival to avoid the heat, choice spots were still available on the floor in the center about halfway back. FYI, THE GA TICKETS ARE THE WAY TO GO TO THESE SHOWS, NOT THAT MANY ARE SOLD AND THE FLOOR IS NOT CROWDED...

my friend commented on the late arriving crowd and whether the show would indeed be sold out. the guy next to us responded that "it should be, bruce only has the number one album in twelve countries...." he was from austin and about my age and a hardcore fan. we compared our show histories and the conflicted emotions about bruce's reclaimed media spotlight versus longtime fan's support.

this was only the second las vegas performance in bruce's 30 plus year career. the band took the stage shortly past eight, all members looking sharp. bruce was wearing a blue silk shirt open about halfway with a silver saint christopher around his neck, sleeves rolled up. the black levi's and boots completed bruce's outfit, and he WAS wearing the wedding ring at this show. bruce has dropped the extra weight he showed in the reunion tour a couple years ago.

the local alternative paper in vegas had carried a great cover story written by magician penn jillette (of penn and teller). penn's article had postulated that bruce's appeal resulted from the fact that fans could imagine that they really WERE bruce springsteen rather than dreaming what it would be like to be some other rock star. this blue collar everyman appeal, coupled with his massive talent, really is an irresistable combination.
bruce shouted early in the show: "do you feel lucky las vegas?? (pause) do you feel lucky las vegas???.... did i fire six shots, or only five????" lol

the setlist was about the same as bruce has been playing on this tour: the 11 songs from The Rising, he nuggets from Darkness...., three songs from Born In The USA (including Bobby Jean), a couple from Born to Run, closing with Land of Hope and Dreams.

the new songs were received wonderfully by the crowd, which included a nice mix of older boomers and lots of younger fans. the sept. 11 inspired acoustic songs at the beginning are powerful, especially Empty Sky (great harmonica break) The Fuse is not my favorite, but it was performed well and probably will remain in the show....
the "Waiting on a sunny day" singalong really is fun. Mary's Place is GREAT!!! the band intro's are great: "Seigfried and Roy got nothing on clarence") and the singalong refrain led by Bruce: "i drop the needle and pray.... turn it up!" was a pleasure to behold. how bruce wrote such a happy sounding song about recovering from great loss is a wonder.

the suprise of the evening was bruce's rendition of "Viva Las Vegas" he started out in the wrong key and made a funny comment to the crowd that that should have been sorted out at the sound check. after then placing a capo on the telecaster, and commented that the song might sound better in its proper key of B, it was a rousing version that would have made the King proud. little stevie wrapped a pair of pink foam dice around the neck of bruce's guitar for the second half of the song and at the climax, bruce gave them a big round up and tossed them way out onto the floor into a lucky fan's outstretched hands... i wonder if bruce learned this song just for this show. i like to think so....

bruce moved nicely all over the stage, up on the piano and drum stand at various points. he played nicely to the folks behind the stage too, making a point to wave a couple times to two young girls, about 10 and 5 years old, in the rear front row.

bruce didn't talk much, limiting his comments mostly to promoting the clark county food bank and a nice comment about the recent encroachments on our civil liberties and to remain vigilant in a good intro into born in the usa. a great way to segue into this often misappropriated song. LOHAD was super and the show was over, two and a half hours after it had begun. no one was disappointed, i assure you.

afterwards, my ladyfriend and i drove over to the hard rock hotel and casino, where the band had been staying along with leo dicaprio, christian slater, and robert downey jr. we missed seeing any celebrities, but i did make a small profit at blackjack before we called it a night... all in all, a great time was had...

Kevin McDevitt wrote: I am going to do a comparison. A(ny) Reunion Tour show vs. New Jersey '02 vs. Las Vegas '02. Like many, I loved the RT. Like many, I was very disappointed in the opening show at the Meadowlands. Part of that was my fault; I went in looking for a repeat of the RT show with cuts from the new album thrown in. I was really let down at that show...not just by the setlist, but by the lack of enthusiasm and cohesion. Heck, even the intros of the band members were lame.

FLASH to Las Vegas. 200% improvement. The band was into it, obviously feeling more comfortable in their new "clothes". Granted, I was not expecting much coming off the NJ show, as well as seeing the "uniformity" of the setlists (night after night after night...) but Hey!, he did play Viva Las Vegas, and there's a bit of a new six-pack with Sunny Day-Promised Land-Worlds Apart-Badlands-Bobby Jean-Marys Place. Two of the biggest problems of the show, however, are The Fuse and Counting On A Miracle. Both songs seem to slam the brakes on the building momentum. But all-in-all, a superior show to NJ. Just don't go in expecting a Reunion Tour show.

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