2006-05-07, The Manchester Evening News Arena, Manchester, England

Seeger Sessions Tour
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Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
Alasdair wrote: I have seen every tour since 1980 and having been mesmerised by his solo shows I really didnt know what to expect with this one. But I shouldnt have worried what a sound, what a show. Another fantastic night with Bruce. Roll on tomorrow

Nin wrote: Show was absolutely fantastic - Bruce was on top form and the band is amazing. Great to hear 'City of Ruins' 'Cadillac Ranch' 'You Can Look....'. Bruce gave it all he could and he looks fab. Wish it could have gone on all night.

stacks wrote: Really uplifting show- Bruce really into it. Crowd a bit static - however they eventually woke up! Jacobs Ladder had the whole place rocking and How Can A Poor Man Stand Such times And Live awesome.

And yes When The Saints Go Marching In was the last song.

Pete wrote: Before the release of The Seeger Sessions album I wouldn't have been the only Springsteen fan in the world who was worried! The Boss does folk somehow didn't sound too encouraging. The first listen allayed my fears and, knowing that his music is always better live, I set off to Manchester with the same confidence I've always had since first seeing Bruce many tours ago.
Walking away from the concert my wife and I agreed that Springsteen is so consistently superb that he beggars belief! This show was astounding. The band he has assembled sounded more live than live if that possibly makes sense, and Bruce's voice was as strong as it's ever been. The songs from the album already sound familiar and the audience soon picked out the bits they could sing back. By the time they got to Pay Me My Money Down we were all singing back in the best traditions of Hungry Heart or Badlands. A nice bit of comedy thrown in too with the enthusiastic tuba player staying centre stage whilst the rest of the band exited stage right. Bruce's showmanship came to the fore when the audience failed to pick up the chorus for a much different version of Cadillac Ranch." That's miserable!" he good naturedly shouted . "We need some professionals" as the backing singers seemlessly took over.

As usual there were so many highlights it's hard to remember but I particularly enjoyed an emotional Eyes on the Prize and a rousing Jacob's Ladder. My City in Ruins was also as good as I've heard it. The thing I'll remember the most though is the sheer exuberance of the show. Bruce was clearly enjoying himself and it showed. There were a few diehards leaving the arena muttering that he could have done Thunder Road, etc but that's for another day. This show was all about folk and it rocked!!

Peter Jenkins wrote: 5 stars really is not enough to do this gig justice. I've seen Bruce on many occasions over the last 20 years and this was up there with the best of them. It all sounded so happy as if the band was really enjoying the occasion and not meerely going through the motions - not that Bruce ever has sounded like that but some bands do. From the opening chord of "John Henry" he had the audience in the palm of his hand right through to the closing, muted yet incredibly powerful "When the saints go marching in". A night of joyful celebration and of music how it should be played with warmth, humour and passion and above all consummate skill. A great rock'n'roller, a great troubadour and a wonderful story teller. The man is a legend and I count myself very fortunate to have seen him again.

JH wrote: Great arena and a fantastic show.
Bruce and the band were terrific with some stand out songs which are great live. The world premiere of How can I sing? was awsome and the whole show was really tight.
Don't go thinking you will get the "greatest hits" but with the new setlist and Bruce's voice so strong you will have a great time.

db wrote: This was bruce at his best, having a blast. The band were fantastic and swung/rocked/got down, depending on how you saw it. Too many of the crowd seemed to be waiting for bruce to adopt his e-street persona but man they were at the wrong gig if that was the case.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck on "How can a poor man stand such times",what an emotional performance!His arrangements of all those old songs really brought them to life and made you appreciate the strength of the material

A truly awesome show from the most consistent, versatile and value for money performer alive!

Mike wrote: Beautiful and uplifting. At times the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. You could have turned up with troubles on your shoulders, I've just come through my own 'Tunnel of Love' trauma, but they would be forgotten with the sheer exuberence of the band, the pleasure and warmth emanating from the stage. How can a poor man stand such times and live was awesome! You lucky people with tickets for the shows are in for a treat! How I hope we see a live dvd of this tour. And one other thought, have we seen the last of the E St Band?

Geraint wrote: This really is what Bruce should have done in 1992. Strong songs, unfamiliar to a rock audience, performed by a superb band that is distinctly different from E Street, yet delivering the same message and the same fun.

An early highlight was was Eyes on the Prize, with beautiful lighting effects and a great richness to the sound. Another (unexpected) highlight was (a live world premiere) How Can I Keep from Singing - far superior to the album version, with Patti taking solo vocal early on. From that point on, the show was irresistible. Open All Night absolutely rocked. My City of Ruins was beautiful (back to the original horns version), Jacob's Ladder and Pay Me My Money Down both brought the house down.

The acoustics at MEN are dreadful, and this caused the crowd to fail to pick up on the lyrics for a join-in piece on Cadillac Ranch. In general, the audience started our pretty diffident, with the upper tiers mainly seated until late on in the show - but joining in well for all the new material, and cheering each song loudly.

All in all a gig that compared favourably with many E Street Band shows I've been to - but just short of being one that ranks amongst the very best.


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