2002-10-04, Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, Boston, MA

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Notes

Bruce performs at the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge dedication. Lenny Zakim was a Boston activist and a friend of Bruce's. The performance is televised.

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
1848
John Saia wrote: The Boston show was nearly a week ago now. I feel very lucky to have been opart of that experience.As you all know it was amazing. I first saw Bruce 9/25/78, and ever since then I have been hooked. However, the show in Boston really had a lasting efffect. I can not get enough to read, see, or hear enough about "the boss". I have visited your site and the Springsteen.net site everyday since the concert last week trying to find out a little bit more each day about the man and his music.

The man is a poet and a genius. If everyone could have that much passion for what they do, the world would be a better place. Also, what comes with the passion is hope. No matter what the meaning of one of his songs, there is always hope in each one (show a little faith There's magic in the night..).

Joe Wheeler wrote: WOW!!! What a show. Bruce always does something special in Boston and last night was no exception. The special monents of the night were "Candy's Room" and the piano solo of "For You". The surprise was "Dirty Water". It was how they did it. Peter Wolf was his usual self, all over the stage but at the end of the song the band walked off stage, single file, still playing. Except Max. The lights were down and the stage was dark and Max kept banging away. The crowd was into it big time. The Lights came up and the full band was on stage and let it rip. This was my 29th concert and probably the best closer I've ever seen. The best news of the night was when Bruce said, "We'll be back, see you soon." Can't wait sor 2003.

Ted Tyson wrote: What a show Bruce put on tonight. Fantastic choices in the setlist, including No Surrender, Candy's Room, She's The One, and a solo For You. Naturally, Peter Wolf joined in for a final encore of Dirty Water! For those of us who can indeed claim Boston as their home, it was a truly special tune. Don't think that the songs from the new album were not fantastic -- they were -- what, with outstanding versions of Empty Sky, Worlds Apart, You're Missing, and Into the Fire amongst others.

All in all, a great show. Not an empty seat in the house (an understatement), and everyone stayed until the end. A great way to ring in the fall in the northeast...Bruce rocked the house tonight. Thanks to the band and the great fans at Fleet!

Bruce talks for a bit about Lenny Zakim and how people had told Bruce about him "He lives what you sing" (I think I might be paraphrasing here). Not a long rap, but a rap, and then they go into

My Hometown. I hate that I did this, but I dashed up the stairs to the bathroom. No lines, no one in the halls at all, I can't remember when I saw THAT before (of course, I wasn't out there during Fuse, Countin, Worlds Apart, etc....) Got back in under 2 minutes and Bruce had to coach the crowd just a little to get louder in their 'my hometown's. I guess a lot of people were from out of town....
Tony says 'did Bruce just sit down at the piano?'
Why yes, yes he just did, didn't he.

I hear a chord and I recognize it, I know what's coming. Holy holy holy wow, I am going to experience personally Bruce Springsteen playing 'For You' on piano. And I did. And it was gooooooood. There was a guy in front of us, he was an old-school fan, heard us before the show talking about Kitty at the Christmas shows in '00 and was psyched, anyway I thought he was going to commit hari-kari right there as Bruce went into For You. Hell, I thought I was about to do that, too!

(Oh, have to backtrack a second - during Candy's Room he changed 'driving' to 'riding' all three times. Just so you know.)

Into the Fire - this starts differently now, Patti gets a well-deserved solo turn, singing beautiful eerie notes accompanied by Soozie on violin. Her fingers move as if she's playing an instrument, delicate, arms out in front of her, stunning to watch and hear. I'd use 'ethereal' to describe this, it's jaw-dropping gorgeous. The 'prayer' part of the song didn't seem to catch on with the crowd the way it had in New York, there wasn't a big mass of hands in the air and actually a lot of people were sitting through most of the song. At some point I had to stand and did, others were already and when I stood others did after me. There's something very mystical or quasi-religious or whatever about standing spontaneously, not standing the whole time because 'you have to stand,' but rather just getting up because you are compelled, you MUST stand up at the point in the song that calls you to personally.

Off, back on, 'anyone want to DANCE?'

Shit, I'd forgotten how much I just love Dancing in the Dark. Steven was funny, he was pointing to people, almost and maybe a reference to the video, maybe not, but it was funny. Bruce pogo'd a lot and jeez, this just sounded so fun and great and wow, I remember that, neat! Towards the end his eyes got really big almost like his expression in the video, and his grin sort of said 'remember when I was looking like this in the video?' I was hoping he'd do 'the dance' but he didn't.

Ramrod - okay, I've said before I could really do without Ramrod, and I still feel that way except when I am actually somewhere where Bruce is actually in front of me playing Ramrod. He did do the robot and it was funny as hell!
"What time is it, Steve?"
"It's...... BOSS-ton time!"

Workin' on the Highway - This was good, it was cool to see Gary and Steven sharing a mic, the whole country-bear-jamboree thing was cute, but really, I guess I'm just kinda' done with this song. Hell, one out of.... how many did we get again? Anyway, that ain't bad.

Born To Run - nothing needs to be said here.

My City of Ruins - another mostly sitting song, again with the spontaneous 'I must stand up NOW' going on. I like being part of the Church of Bruce, and I love when I feel my 'religion' forcing me to put my hand in the air and stand because that's what I have to do at that moment.

BITUSA - He mentioned how we're about to rush into a war. I couldn't make out everything he said, hopefully someone can get the exact quotes. Angry, awesome.

LOHAD - Hands, pogoing, rejoicing. When it's done, he does the 'one more?' stuff and then brings on.... .Peter Wolf.

(This gets a period rather than an exclamation point because the last time Peter Wolf was onstage with Bruce in Boston, he knew none of the words to Raise Your Hand and just seemed to be a general nuisance. Regular Boston club-goers from the 1980s also are so used to seeing Peter Wolf everywhere that it's not the thrill it could be if a) he seemed like he was in touch with what was going on around him and b) if he wasn't around so much, everywhere. (This was true with Aerosmith as well for a long time, but they aren't around as much as they used to be)

Why Peter Wolf looks like MJ - his face was so white it looked like he was wearing white makeup, his hair was jet black, he was wearing shades and a black hat. You'll see when the pictures start showing up....

Anyway, here comes Dirty Water (!!!!!) and it sounds great, then Peter takes the second verse and I can't believe he doesn't actually know it, perhaps he's just doing it in his own inimitable way. I dunno, in any event it's like a replay of 'Raise Your Hand' and after the break Bruce does the second verse again. By himself. And you can hear him singing the words.

They're playing, then they all head down the stairs, off the stage, and it's just Max playing and the whole arena singing 'love that dirty water' over and over. Then there's a red spot and Bruce is crouched down with the guitar and brings the song back up again, the stage lights come on and everyone is in position and playing, and it's a great, fun, fantastic ending to yet another in a string of incredible post-break shows!

They showed the Countin' on a Miracle video - is anyone going to stick around to get this onto a recording, I wonder? It's impossible to describe and there are so many people who haven't heard it, I hope they get the chance. It's very.... different.

I thought I'd have enough time to go back to the Harp for a post-show drink, but to my surprise it's 11:30!!! Did we crack 3 hours? It only seemed like 3 minutes! In any event, I have a 12:10 train and the next one is 6am, so I go have a quick look at the back side of the stage, then head down to the trains.

I can feel the post-show depression starting, it feels like July 2, 2000, and I just want to go somewhere and cry, it was SUCH a GREAT show and I just wanted it to go on forever. But it didn't. I opt for a cigarette and gazing out at the deserted new bridge from the other side of the Fleet, then head back in to get my train. I run into KTdream, Rockaway and Happygirl and they are drained as well and we're talking but I just want to get home, get here, get whatever I can down before I start forgetting more and more. Listen to Main Point on the way back and by the time I've walked home from the train station I'm smiling and happy and still sad that it's all over now for a looooooong time but it's okay, it's not over forever. Just for now.

"CarolJude" wrote: Got to my seat and was pleasantly surprised at how close it was - about mid-court, two sections or so up from the floor. A glance at the folks around me made me fear that they were 'sitters,' which in time turned out to be quite untrue! Tony/TpinMa showed a little while later and we chatted about the music playing before the show. I'd mentioned how the night before MSG I had been listening to Little Steven's show and the music playing at MSG was the same. At exactly that moment we heard 'you're listening to Little Steven's Underground Garage' over the P.A., so that was pretty cool, finding out that that's exactly what they're playing before the shows (so if you hear something you like, you can check his website and find out what it was you heard!)

I don't know when it started, but it started. Bruce looked great of course, pin-stripe jacket over the greyish/tiny blue checked silk (?) shirt, beard looking very cool, his hair looks like there's more grey coming in, it looks 'lighter.'

Rising - excellent. No 'dream of lifes' from Bruce, they were very understated and sounded (to my bad ears) very much in the background. Much smoother, makes his main vocal more pronounced as there was no 'rushing around' vocally.

Lonesome Day - the first of two 'this was great but I can't think of anything to say about it' songs.
No Surrender - crowd, which by the way was EXCELLENT!, goes nuts, you could hear the entire place singing along, at least to the chorus. I was so happy to hear this one, I only thought of how Prove It wasn't going to be played just once!

The Fuse - I love The Fuse, always will, sounded cool and I'm not sure if this has always been the case, but Nils is singing along with Patti on the 'dut dut dut's, sounded, of course, great.

WOW OH WOW OH WOW - PROVE IT!!!! In 5th postion, and it sounds better coming after The Fuse than Fuse sounded coming after Prove It in previous setlists. The solo sounded like it wanted to keep going even after Max started playing the 'homestretch' drum part, and maybe it even did go on for an 'extra' measure, I'm not sure right now...

Prove it ends and Tony says to me 'Candy's Room.' I look at Max and see him hitting the edge of the cymbal, and yes, that's what's coming!

Such a short song, yet it's so HUGE. The crowd is jumping out of their skin, we know that this is going to be another of the 'holy effing s--t!!!' concerts, the energy is so high and you can see that Bruce is REALLY having a great time and feeding off the energy of the crowd.

Empty Sky - the woman in front of me was yakking to her friend. I waited a few long seconds to see if she'd stop, she didn't, I shhh'd her and she said 'calm down, lady, relax.' Had she been whispering and not talking, she wouldn't have bothered anyone. In any event, she shut the hell up. There were whistles but for the most part the crowd was really respectful of this and You're Missing. I remember being surprised at how 'you can hear a pin drop' quiet it was, aside from Bruce and Patti and the music. Patti was dead-on perfect and singing 'strong,' further down in her chest so she didn't sound strident or 'screechy.' Just lovely, both of them.

Waitin' - he's confident enough, seemingly, to let us have a go at the first verse. He sang it 'low' and it seemed like everyone joined in, knew the words. Don't know if that's true with all the more recent shows, if so then very, very cool. My brain is mad at me for how much I enjoy singing this very dopey song. But it'll get over it...

Promised Land - If Bruce ever decided to drop this from the set, I would be very, very unhappy. There is no more glorious sound than the moment he comes back in on the harp after Clarence's solo, no matter what version, from what show, anywhere. It always makes me happy and it's kinda like on Cheer's when Norm comes in and everyone yells 'NORM!!!!'

Worlds Apart - No 'la la la la li's at the beginning, just a bit of the Qwaali and then Bruce goes right into the verse. Love this song, loved it here, the ending was a fantastic jam between Bruce and Steven, Steven's guitar sounding like a cross between a violin and 'whale song,' Bruce sounding like Bruce. I wanted it to go on longer, it's funny how little they play together like that, like the old days of 'Saint in the City. Fantastic.

Badlands, Badlands refrain RIGHT INTO She's the One - WOO-HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Again: WOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Less pronounced She's the One keyboard riff, which was a little bit 'different' sounding and quite welcome by me. I always tend to think the keys were always just a little too loud on this, but they weren't here.

Mary's Place - Tremendous, glorious, if we had any doubts before about everyone and Bruce having a fantastic time, this certainly put them to rest (there weren't any, I just said that for emphasis). Funny part - after the intros, when the song goes soft and he's about to do the 'missing you' part, the whole arena starts doing
'BROOOOOOOOOOCE.' He motions for us to stop (and said something, what did he say again guys?????), we do, he's crouched down with the microphone, about to sing, and we start up again, and are rewarded with a maybe-just-a-tiny-bit-exaperated smile. Then we shut up and let him start singing again. I love when it goes into the extended 'Turn it Up's - no one's sitting, I looked all around, no asses in chairs anywhere! It's another big, glorious, triumphant home run of a performance.

Countin' - I love this song and it sounds great live but I really can't think of anything interesting to say about it.

Tomm Gamache wrote: Before I present my unbiased, objective review, let me say that I didn't even know I was going to the show till 2 and 1/2 hours beforehand. I know there are a lot of Bruce fans out there, but I'd venture to say I'm one of his biggest. I'm 22 year old songwriter and the man is honestly my hero. Not because he's a superstar but because his work is truly so amazing. And I really admire and try to aspire to his amazing work ethic. He puts out music because he wants to, not to make money or push some product, he truly means what he says. My dream is to someday build a fan base like Bruce has, though I wouldn't care if I sold 12 million or 12 records. He gives me something to aspire to, a reason to always progress, and a reason to always care. Anyways... on with my review...

The show began at 8:30 with the band each coming out on stage. The last four members came out in pairs, with Steven and Patti arm and arm, followed by the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, and Bruce. Bruce greeted the crowd and the band, accompanied by a violinist/backround vocalist, launched into a tight version of "The Rising." It was exceptionally tighter than the TV performances I've seen, so I was immediately impressed. This was followed by a looser, yet impressive version of "Lonesome Day." Bruce then suprised the crowd by playing "No Surrender." The band's performance and crowd reaction made this one of the best numberso f the evening. Bruce then dimmed the lights, launching spots of red illumination for "The Fuse." Though a lot of the audience took this as a cue for the bathrooms, it proved to be a great live number. Max kept a drum machine like feel much like on the album. The one problem was dynamics. It didn't really get louder or softer at appropriate moments which hurt the sound. Bruce then immediuately woke up the crowd with "Prove It All Night," which proved to be as solid as ever. Bruce then once again suprised us be launching into "Candy's Room," which soared and erupted into an arena sing-along. Bruce then did a moving version of "Empty Sky" followed by a spine-tingling performance of "You're Missing." The band then geared up for "Waiting on A Sunny Day," which seemed to replace "Tenth Avenue Free Out" as the tour's gospel jam and sing along. It was less tight than it should have been, but the band was really into it and it more than made up for it. Bruce then brought a personal favorite of mine, "Promised Land" which was a little slower than usual, but had a great drive and it really torn into the crowd. An arena shot would've have revealed at least 12,000 fists pumping in the air. Bruce follwed this with another personal favorite of mine, "Worlds Apart" from the new album. The much of the audience took a bathroom break on this one. While it's a great track, I have to say I preferred the album version. The crowd immediately rushed back to their seats when Bruce did his traditional chord progression before launching into "Badlands." At this point, the whole arena was pumping their fists and screaming their throats hoarse. Bruce then dug "She's The One" from the vaults and proved that the Bo-Diddly backbeat can prove to be a great asset live. The band drew this one out, but at know point lost its intensity or interest from the audience. Another new track followed. "Mary's Place" is great track that really disaplyed the band's ablility to rock on the album. However, live, it was a little loose and proved to not be as strong. "Countin On A Miracle" proved to be both intense and hard, though it didn't arouse the audience much. Bruce then spoke to the crowd about his friend, Lenny Zakim, for whom a bridge had been dedicated in Boston earlier that day. Bruce then touched into an awe-inspiring performance of "My Hometown." Bruce then suprised the crowd by sitting at the paino, and he suprised us even more b Not even two minutes later, Bruce and the band came back out and launched into an almost unrecognizable "Dancin In The Dark" (at least to the amateur ear). Bruce pushed it down a half step and replaced the dance beat with a slower, rock groove that proved the do the track justice. A screech of guitar then led into a bar-house run through of Ramrod, which turned into a jam. It was much like the version on Bruce's last live album. Bruce then did another "Born in the USA" track, this one being "working on the Highway," which wasn't terribly tight. The lights then came on for "Born to Run" which seemed to get the crowd into a Beatles like frenzy. Bruce then left the stage again, only to return a brief moment later. He sat the piano and started "My City of Ruins." He began the tune alone, but was eventually followed by the full band. Bruce then took a chance to mention some local charities (Lenny Zakim Fund, Boston Food Bank, Pediatric Aids Foundation). He then told us to remember, we're all "born in the USA." They then launched into the tume, bringing the crowd into a roar that honestly hurt my ears (and I'm a guitar player and drummer). It proved to be quite an expereince to hear. Played with the passion of the original by all members of the band, it was a highlight of the night. Bruce immediately jumped into an extended version of "Land Of Hope and Dreams." At this point, may assumed the show was over, only for Bruce and the band to return with local great, Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band ("Centerfold, "Freeze Frame," "Musta Got Lost). They then launched into the hometown favorite, "Dirty Water" by the Shondells. Everyone in the arena, including the band, seemed to be having the time of their lives. The band all left the stage while the song was still going, leaving Max alone to keep a beat. Everyone then came out the end and took bows, and then the show was over.

Wow, that was a mouthful. In all honesty, this was the greatest show I've ever seen (I've seen Bruce twice, Neil Young twice, Clapton twice, Tom Petty twice, The Allman Brothers twice, the Who four times, Aerosmith 4 times, The Rolling Stones 4 times, Pearl Jam, The Pretenders, the list goes on). As one can see by the accompanying parentheses, this proves to top some great company. Bruce still proves to be the best at what he does. There isn't a person who can touch his songwriting, perofmance skill, or work ethic at this point.

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