2003-10-03, Shea Stadium, New York, NY

The Rising Tour
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Notes

Appr. 3 hours, 5 min.

"Roulette", "Rendezvous", "Another Thin Line" and "New York City Serenade" are all tour premieres. They were all last played on the Reunion Tour.

Baseball player Al Leiter guests on "Rosalita". Gary US Bonds guests on "Twist and Shout"

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
1584
Tom Cantillon wrote: WOW! One of the greatest shows I've ever seen Bruce and band do!

Intense, poetic, heartbreakingly beautiful--a moment of rock 'n' roll bliss.

Roulette was very strong and nice to hear finally. Candy's Room blistered! Rendezvous was exciting and simply one of those songs that just should have been played more often.

Another Thin Line was very good, but the combination of Souls of the Departed, Because the Night, Badlands and Prove it was outstanding! The energy alone from those songs was incredible.

Then came the long-awaited New York City Serenade---wow! A performance that was filled with some of Bruce's best romantic poetry and images--thanks for playing that one!

The encores were a blast! Pink Cadillac had everyone up dancing and singing from the floor up to the bleachers. 7 Nights--love that song--Bruce kept the party going. And a nice finish with Twist and Shout. This show rocked from start to finish and by encore time, became one big party that seemed to be played in Bruce's living room, rather than Shea stadium. He has that way of turning something enormous, into the most intimate of experiences. Thanks for a truly great, great show. In my top 10 of all Springsteen shows!

TD wrote: What a great tour - it was so cool to run into people that I met at earlier shows. Bruce fans have this common thread of decency (for the most part) and friendliness that I will miss until the next tour (if there is another).

But last night was ruined for me by one security guy that thought I was not respectful enough of his wind breaker. In front of a bunch of my employees and friends I was forcibly picked up and thrown out of the stadium during Badlands. And I am a skinny yuppie guy from the burbs with no intimidation factor at all. Pretty much sober (beers are 6 bucks, take forever to get and then it takes an hour to pee.) 44 years old, father of 2, never been in a fight with anyone but my brothers, did not resist, did not struggle. A lover not a fighter. Honest.

We were in the front row of section B4 and dancing in the big walkway in front of us with a bunch a great women seated in the same row. The guard wanted us to go back to our seats, which I did - but I guess too slowly, he asked for my ticket. I said "Hang on" I guess too annoyed sounding and that was that.

Without another word he twisted my surgically repaired shoulder/arm behind me and pushed me out. In a T shirt - without my sweatshirt, without any explanation or warning into the 45 degree night.

I said "really this is crazy - I have a ticket, you cannot simply throw someone out for no reason."

His answer "Watch me smart guy" and then he ripped up my ticket.

Wow. I was told by his manager that there is absolutley nothing I can do and there was no chance that maybe he overreacted. I guess he was a bully in school and now he gets to push around people.

If this happened in real life, I would have had him arrested. Just incredibly unfair and very ironic - there is Bruce on stage preaching unity and peace and "nobody wins unless everybody wins" and question authority and I get tossed because I dared to tell a guy in a windbreaker that he had no right to hassle me since I was not hassling him.

Bill Noke wrote: 2nd-to-last night of the tour, and a true blow-out at Shea.

Crowd turned the Shea infield into a dancefloor for "Seven Nights To Rock" and the closing "Twist and Shout".

Bruce and the band emptied out the closet of rarities, highlighted by the hardly-ever-played "New York City Serenade", "Janey Don't You Lose Heart" and many more.

Much more intense crowd than Wednesday's show.

Philly Clete wrote: Night 2 at Shea was an unbelievable show where the "power of rock and roll" was exhibited by Bruce and the band in grand style. Bruce was a monster! When he opened the show with "Roulete" and "Candy's Room" before "The Rising" he was sending a message to the crowd, which I believe was: "Buckle your seat belts!" The power suite of "Because the Night", "Badlands" and Prove It" without even waiting for crowd responses (no reprises during Badlands) was simply awesome. As has been the case all tour, set list selection was a joy (how can you not love a show that includes "Rendezvous", "NY City Serenade", "Janey", "Pink Cadillac" and "Twist and Shout". A good crowd reacted nicely to the intense performance. He didn't need to sing "I'm on Fire", because he performed like he was on fire all night. A wonderful show.

Kae wrote: After seeing Bruce on July 26th at Giants Stadium, I was absolutely blown away by the intensity of this show. Roulette, Janie, New York City Serende--rarities, B-sides, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Candy's Room, Badlands, The Ties That Bind, Prove It All Night--but I was especially blown away by the wailing, wrenching whirlwind of Because the Night. I've never seen him play guitar like that and it was a big "f-you" to Rolling Stone for not including him on their list. Pink Cadillac came out of no where, and the grin on his face when the audience realized what it was was as impish as it was in 1972. Now, as much as I didn't want to like the Rising album, he truly does the songs justice live. Mary's Place is romping, and Empty Sky is a haunting and poignant song. My City of Ruins, preceeded by the standard publicity for NJ Food Banks, was chilling and haunting, from those first beautiful chords to those low, gospel-ly notes Clarence sings, to his pleas to his city. Set against the stunning background of city lights, it was a moving and uplifting night. The most moving song, however, was Into the Fire, dedicated to the young firefighter killed the night before in Queen who'd had gotten tickets for that evening's show for his 41st birthday. It sobered everyone up, and reminded us all who the album was really for. Born In The USA is only better after being played acoustically for so long, and while Dancing in the Dark is my least favorite, Twist and Shout was a wonderful way to end such an incredible show. Oh, and who can forget Al Leiter shakin' a tamborine on Rosie and singing his heart out? Almost makes you like the Mets. This concert was the most memorable thing to happen at Shea since the ball rolled through Bill Buckner's legs.

Magnus wrote: The second show at Shea was tremendous, easily the best of the 4 shows I saw this summer in the US stadiums and of the 17 shows I saw this tour, a close second best to Gothenburg II.

My friend Andy and I were lucky enough to have GA tickets, and we found the floor entrance and got our numbered wristbands at about 4pm. When the lottery number was called, it placed us at about number 85 or so, but we missed the lining up, because we thought they wouldn't allow us in until 6 or so. We wandered off to meet some people in the drop line and when we returned at 5, the line was being let in. That sucked a whole lot, but we ran to join it, and ended up about 5 rows back in front of Bruce, in truth a great place, and surrounded by a bunch of cool fans.

Lots of fans were disgruntled with the first night at Shea. Complaints included 'only' an OKish setlist, uneven pacing and too much overtly political stuff. I personally would have loved to see a show open with Souls'?, but I was expecting something different to open this show.

And so at 8.40 or so, the lights go out, the crowd goes wild, and the band comes onstage etc you know the drill. As Bruce stepped up to the mike, I was wondering, as does any diehard fan who has seen a bunch of shows, what's he going to start with?

And so the assault began with Max's frenetic machine gun drums. Roulette! ROULETTE! After my initial shock, my first thoughts went out to Rosie, somewhere up in the nosebleeds who had been hoping for the song, and the guys at Backstreets, who had put this song on their top ten wish list. It sounded as tight as hell, perhaps better than ever before. It was a real treat and set the pace for the rest of the show ' intense, emotional and relentless. Candy's Room followed and when The Rising kicked in at a much less frantic pace, the two opening songs together seemed almost like a separate preshow set.

The Rising, Lonesome Day and Ties, all standard songs were played to perfection as far as I can remember. Brilliant Disguise was next, and it worked far better early in the set than it had in the encores in Chapel Hill. By this time it was clear that both Bruce and the band were in great form and would deliver a top notch show, although the audience in general was good rather than excellent.

Empty Sky was great as always, and when Bruce went straight into WOASD (without You're Missing) I could tell he was in a fun mood. Waiting included the 'Once more if you wanna' impeach the president' line, indicating that the show would not be a complete reverse of the 'political'show on the 1st.

Then came a slew of great songs for me, both rarities and songs which I hadn't heard before with the ESB. Rendezvous was a curious choice for a tracks gem, but on its first outing this tour, it sounded almost as tight as it did back in 2000. Bruce shared the mike with Patti and other band members for the final 'I wanna' rendez- I wanna' rendez- I wanna' rendezvous' line. Another Thin Line was a big surprise. At the end of the last tour, I thought it was the only one of the new songs which wasn't good enough for official release, but I hereby take that sentiment back, and hope to see it on disc 3 of the upcoming Essential Collection. It sounds better on this tour than the last, tighter as if the band is more comfortable with it.

The next song was a highlight on an evening of highlights. Souls of the Departed was a song I had hoped would be a standard on this tour, and it was great to finally see it done with the band. Like most of the HT/LT stuff, the ESB play it loud and play it well, but don't necessarily do it any better than the 92-3 band did. The thing which made this performance stand out was in fact the lighting. Throughout the whole first verse, as Bruce sings slowly, the strobe lights around the stage give off a flickering white light reminiscent of the lights one might expect to see on a battlefield at night. It worked wonderfully. After the first chorus, the lighting went back to normal as the full band attacked the song for all it was worth. I seem to remember a Nils solo in there somewhere, but I may be mistaken.

As great as it was to hear a slew of rarely played stuff, Worlds Apart would have really worked well to bridge the gap between Souls and Because the Night. Because the Night is in fact one of my favorite songs, and I hadn't heard it live since my first show 10 years ago, so it was a great thrill to finally hear with the ESB. It's surprising that a crowd pleaser (and great song) like this has gone unplayed for so much of the past 2 tours. Clarence's short solo got great applause as always, and Bruce's guitar solo, gave him a chance to show off as well. It segued into a stomping Badlands, which went into surprise surprise'? Prove it all Night - played for the first time in a quite a while. I noticed at the end of Prove it, Bruce gave Nils the solo that he usually keeps for himself, which was a nice new little touch, although I prefer Bruce's solo.

Mary's Place was cut down a little, which was nice. At one point during the band intros, Al Franken made a hit and run guest performance, running onstage, kinda' waving, and then leaving without making any comments or singing or anything. It seemed to me like a fun and appropriate way for Bruce and Al to express their mutual respect and admiration for one another. I seem to remember the crowd cheered so much for the band after the introductions, that he gave up doing his 'Shhh'? I've been missing you' thing which never really worked for me anyway.

Then they brought out a standup bass and I thought they were going to do Meeting'? and then Jungleland. But no! From the first note, it is clear that this was something different. NYC Serenade isn't a song I ever expected to hear live, much less in a massive stadium, but they were actually playing it, and it sounded absolutely great. The band handled the merges between the different parts of the song with ease, Bruce sang it rather than speaking his way through it, and I think Suzie added some of her violin to the mix. I'm pretty sure it was better than it had been on the last tour. Hearing the crowd sing; 'Oh she won't take the train no she won't take the train' and; 'He's singing, singing'?.' was priceless, one of those wonderful Bruce moments you cherish and tuck away inside of you somewhere and never forget. Along with Roulette and Souls, this was one of my favorite songs of the show.

An emotional Into the Fire was dedicated to a fireman who was supposed to be at the show, but who had died recently fighting a fire. I think this song has been most effective when played on the East Coast, but it still doesn't hold water as a set closer. Thiunder Road would have been the perfect cap to the main set.

The encores have always benefited from some spontaneity, and on 10/3, this is exactly what we got. Interestingly, on the written setlist it seems Bruce had planned on playing Kitty's Back, BTR and Seven Nights'? exactly the same songs which had been used in the encores the previous show. But instead of Kitty we got Janey Don't You Lose Heart and Pink Cadillac. Janey sounded laid back and mellow, played at a slightly slower pace than the punchy performances from 99-00, but the song seemed appropriate after Into the Fire, and Clarence handled his solo well. If I had any complaint about the show, it would be that this first encore set didn't start with the bang it merited. Yet Pink Caddy sounded far tighter than it had in Washington, with Nils playing the opening riff. These two B sides played side by side were the first songs from the BUSA era to be played. Born to Run followed, but it was really Seven Nights to Rock which really brought the house down.

The second encore finished the show on a strong note. Rosalita and DITD, which seemed almost like taken-for-granted fluffy fun in Washington and Chapel Hill took the show to new levels of energy, and got the crowd on their feet with help from guests Jon Landau, Willie Nile and Mets pitcher Al Leiter. Landau and Al Leiter (on tambourine between Suzie and Patti) both seemed to be having fun, but Willy Nile (folks, check out his excellent Beautiful Wreck of the World album) really knew how to rock, and danced around the stage when he wasn't trading lines with Bruce. Finally Bruce brought Gary 'U.S.' Bonds and Bonds' daughter to help out on one more song, Twist and Shout. It was an appropriate gesture to finish such a great show with one extra song after DITD.

The show clocked in at well under 3 hours, but it hadn't seemed like a short show to me. It was a great, exercise in extremes, from desperate to jubilant, to mournful and back to jubilant again. Consistently emotional and intense, the pacing was spot on. Setlistwise, we had nothing to complain about, a grand total of four songs had their Rising tour premieres Roulette, Rendezvous, Another Thin Line and NYC Serenade, and several others were pretty rare. The encores started off a little bit mellow but by the end they were pushing the crowd to its limits. Sound quality in front of the stage was fine, and the crowd in the pit was far more into the show than it had been in North Carolina, but the crowd overall was less into the show than most of the audiences I saw in arenas on the last tour, which I suppose is to be expected. I left the Stadium, with the kind of 'Holy shit' feeling I only get now after seeing a very good show.

Jay Stern wrote: Simply the best Bruce concert I have seen in 20 years. High intensity fun and energy from note one. Clearly the best night of the 3-night stand and the only night that the place was packed to the rafters. A perfect setlist except that Tunnel of Love should have replaced Brilliant Disguise. Other than that, I wouldn't be surprised if this show becomes a bootleg of Legendary Status like 10/23/99 in LA. The crowd was jovial and pumped from the get-go. A Master performance.

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