2002-09-27, Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

The Rising Tour
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Notes

Appr. 2 hours, 45 minutes.

"No Surrender", "Mary Queen of Arkansas", and "Little Queenie" are tour premieres.

Eyewitness accounts

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Steve Foster wrote: Of about 20 boss shows starting back in 1978, this one ranks for me in the top 5. Bruce and the Band seemed to bring a little extra energy and the crowd responded beautifully (unlike the '99 tour). Saw this tour in St. Louis and Chicago but this was the best yet. Little Queenie at the end was pure and raucous fun and frivolity, reminiscent of the detroit medley of past tours. My, my, my... as Bruce would say... next to cold beer at a reasonable price, this was as good as it gets! Thanks Boss.

Rob Zapelli wrote: My god what a show. The band came out to play tonight and they rocked the house in a big way. The lights went out and the crowd went nuts.

During the first two songs Bruce was having a bit of trouble with his jacket flapping over the end of his guitar which was interfering with his playing and he looked a little pissed and most of the guitar work was being handles by Steve and Nils who looked to be a lot more into the show then before. After the one two punch of the Rising and Lonesome Day Max powered into No Retreat from Born in the USA and set the Bardley center on fire and about blew the roof of the whole place. The fuse followed this in was a simmering, smoldering version, especially when Bruce pulls away the instruments, the red glare of the spotlight hits his face as he sings "You're bittersweet taste on my tongue."

Bruce starts moaning and it's a visit way back to '78 for 'Something in the Night' it appears like a lot of the crowd aren't that familiar with the song but man does he punch it out. I really dug this one a lot. The show slows down here for Empty Sky and You're Missing and the crowd gets swept up in the emotion. Clarence cries like he did in Chicago and the emotion is palpable. The fans on the floor are still swaying, but many of the audience in the seats have sat down so Bruce tells them it's time to get sexy as he goes into a rousing rendition of Waiting on a Sunny day. He really works the crowd and cuts the music to let the crowd sing along. He presses the mic into the audience and a eight or nine year old girl gets to sing to which Bruce responds "hey that was really good". He does the obligatory slide across the stage and the crowd goes wild again.Next we swing into another crowd pleaser with the promised land and the band just smokes. The sound for this show was really clear and you could hear each crash of the cymbals and each note from the piano and guitars, I was a lot more impressed with the sound for this show than for anything else I'd heard thus far. The mood then slows down again for World apart and though a lot of the audience used this song for their toilet break it sounds very akin to the album version, even without Asif Ali Khan and his qawwli band. The audience kind of let this song down a bit by their general apathy but the show picked up steam again immediately when the band explodes into Badlands and everyone rushes back into their seats from the lobby. This got one of the biggest reactions of the night and absolutely blasted through the sound system.

She's the one followed and the crowd still jams away enthusiastically and though the song is nearing 30 years it sounds fresh and vibrant.

Bruce asks the crowd "are you loose" a reference to the famous Milwaukee bomb scare show and then takes us for a house party with Mary's place. Tonight the song gets a new chorus and new lyrics during a verse which works really well, to compensate for this he runs through the band intro's pretty quickly except for Clarence Clemons for whom Bruce says "You all wanna be like him, but you just can't, he goes on to call him either the most talented or intelligent lifeform in the universe. Whatever it was he said the crowd ate it up.

After this is another rising song and then come the point in the show where Bruce has been pulling a surprise number. I was thinking maybe Cadillac Ranch for the line about the Wisconsin Night seeing as we're in Milwaukee but instead he pulls out an acoustic version of Mary Queen of Arkansas. What the hell? He never plays this anymore, ever. It was voted as his worst song ever in his own fanzine. Though I gotta admit I was surprised as hell to hear him play it, I actually liked it. The acoustic working sounded really good and it was worth it to see the front ten rows standing their with their mouths hung open by the fact he was playing it.

Bruce starts solo on Into the Fire and one by one the band join in and it's like a communal gathering. This song was really moving and the crowd really paid a lot of attention. The band walk of stage but are back in no time at all for an awesome version of Dancing in the Dark. This song really rocked with the four guitars and I tell you take away the synthesizer and the disco back beat and you've got a hell of a song. Much,much better than the studio version. This ought to be a b-side for one of the Rising's songs upcoming single. Bruce follows up with a thundering Ramrod during which he really lights up the guitar. Towards the end he says I think it's quitting time, the crowd yells "Nooooo" Bruce says it's time to go home, crowd "noooo" Bruce says "It's bedtime" crowd "Nooooo" Bruce "I got my pajama's on underneath my clothes" Crowd "nooo" Bruce "Ok Steve, what time is it" Steve "It's Boss time" Crowd goes wild for the umpteenth time as Bruce and Steve do the six string duel before the band does a conga line up the ramp towards the people with seats behind the stage.

Then the biggest crowd reaction of the night and the song I always anticipate the most as those first few chords for Born to Run hits. The house lights go up and close to 20,000 people are going nuts, dancing from the rafters in an absolute frenzy. The band walks off again and everyone stays on their feat begging for them to come back.

While the band stays in the back Bruce comes out and sits on the piano and begins to play my city of ruin as the band files out to join him.

This song is like church here, everyone is swaying and it's prayer time. It was just amazing. Bruce leaves the piano, raises his hands to the heavens and sings the refrain and then as the band plays the music he does a little dance and you can just tell that he is having the time of his life out there. Around this time in Chicago his voice was starting to give out but he was hitting all the note this time around, though when he gave his speech after this song about being vigilant in regards to our civil rights in this time of possible war it began to crack a bit, but soon as he started belting out Born in the USA it seemed to have righted himself and he spat out his rock god anthem like it was nobody's business. Bruce really doesn't get enough credit for his ability on the guitar because he attacked the solo to this one with the same kind of ferocity as a Hendrix or a Page. I'm surprised the strings didn't catch fire, I really am.

Then came Land of hope and Dreams and though it's a terrific song I was starting to feel a bit maudlin as I knew it was the last song for the evening.I mean after all every other show of the tour except Kansas has ended after this right? As he sang the People get ready refrain there's a train a coming, don't need no ticket, just get on board I was almost pouting. The band said their goodbyes, Nil's gave his guitar away to the roadie and the band turned ready to file off, but the crowd was pleading "One more, one more"

Bruce shook his head, slung the guitar over his shoulder and tuned back to the mike, the band looking around bewildered, they had no idea what he was doing, it was totally of the cuff. It sent the crowd into raptures though. "We got one more" Bruce shouts, "just for Milwaukee." The band still didn't know what song was coming and Bruce told them it's in 'C" I'll cue you in. I thought for sure this time we'd be going to Cadillac Ranch but nope, it was "Jailbait time" as Bruce fires up a classic ChuckBerry riff and the band fires into a rocking, rockabilly version of Little Queenie. The band follows Bruce offstage leaving Danny, Roy and Max behind still tearing up the stage with a terrific jam, before the rest off the band sneaks back up from the stage with Bruce carrying a rubber chicken under his arm. The song ends the band files off and everyone starts filing out, except those few who stay behind to hear Bruce playing on the video screen with his hair slicked back and his acoustic guitar singing in falsetto. I'm not sure what the song was but it was defiantly not his usual voice, sounded good though.

I'm totally spent, the show was terrific again, as always. There's been a lot of talk of the show being too expensive and whatever at $75 bucks but the couple sitting behind me came down from Florida and spent $400 bucks apiece for their tickets. the guy was having his 50th birthday and had never seen a Bruce show before, he thought it was worth every cent.

I was hoping this show would be enough to convert my wife into a Springsteen fan and although she said she enjoyed the show I don't think she's there quite yet. I think she got more entertainment over my crazy antics and reactions than she did from the show itself, but there's more shows and she'll get there eventually. She did let me listen to Bruce in the car all the way home which is pretty rare.

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




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