2005-08-06, Fox Theatre, St. Louis, MO

Devils & Dust Tour
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"County Fair" and "Backstreets" are tour premieres. "Backstreets" has never been played in an acoustic version before.

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
Sharon wrote: An evening with Bruce was awesome! It was an intimate venue and the night was all Bruce. He shared his inner feelings and thoughts through his music. He was also very personable as he talked to the audience about their "first teenage party." He sang "Backstreets" for the "guy with the banjo." If you were expecting Bruce rockin' like he does with the E-Street Band, you weren't paying attention to "Devils and Dust."

Mark Stitt wrote: Amidst much cheering, Bruce walked onstage about 8:15. The Fox theater was sold out, all 4,000 seats filled. Easily the most ornate theater I had ever been in, just a beautiful setting, every square inch decorated. I was maybe 15 feet from the microphone, prime seating to be sure. The stage was framed in plush red velvet drapes, 2 chandeliers overhead.

Dressed in blue jeans, a black shirt rolled up above his elbows and boots, Bruce looked fit and happy. Despite the grind of being on the road for months at a time, it appeared that performing live agreed with him. He sat at the keyboard and opened with a rarity 'Back in Your Arms', then took out his harmonica and played 'Reason to Believe' in a funky, smoky delta blues style, keeping time with his boot pounding the stage. As he finished that, he strapped on his acoustic guitar and went right into 'Devils and Dust', the title track from his latest release. It was about this time that I felt the sides of my face hurting, and I realized it was from grinning non-stop!

Bruce continued to entertain us for the next two and a half hours, featuring songs from his new album and a mix of some of his older classics. He played piano, electric piano, harmonica, acoustic 6 and 12 string guitars and for a memorable performance of 'Part Man, Part Monkey' plugged in an electric guitar. He was in a good mood, chatting with the crowd, sharing stories of his growing up, being raised Catholic, the trials and tribulations of being a parent of a teenager. Early on he played 'County Fair', a perfect song for late summer. However, he botched one of the lines, stopped, went back to play it again and messed it up again. He laughed and said "Okay, how about I just skip that line"!

He played 'The River' on piano, then brought the house to its feet with a
standing ovation for the first ever solo performance of 'Backstreets'! As
the crowd stood and cheered at the conclusion, Bruce stood up from the piano, put on his guitar, strode to the microphone while a floor level flood light came on behind him, framing him in the brightness. He then sang the opening lines "Can't see nothin' in front of me, can't see nothin' comin up behind" from 'The Rising'. Lots of emotion in that song, played superbly. The whole night was like that, just one amazing song after another with nary a break.

He finished up, waved to the crowd and walked offstage to deafening applause and cheers. A few minutes later he walked back out for a 5 song encore while the entire crowd stood. One of the songs was the classic 'The Promised Land', but played in an entirely different style. Bruce strummed the chords, then used his thumb and fingers to keep a percussive beat going against the body of the acoustic guitar, hard to describe but done in a great way. He finished off the night with a cover of the song 'Dream Baby Dream', played on pump organ. He got the organ to play on a loop, stood up and walked to the front of the stage and sang while the organ played behind him. Holding a microphone in one hand, waving the other hand back and forth in a mesmerizing rhythm, he swayed back and forth as he sang. He finished the song and walked offstage as the organ continued to play, a very satisfying finish.

When the house lights came up and the fans gave one final round of
thunderous applause before heading out, I thought the night could not have been any better. We stood and talked while waiting for the crowd to thin out, the aisles were jammed. I turned and looked back into the wings of the stage and saw Bruce standing by himself, arms folded. I waved at him and he waved back, the perfect ending to a perfect night!


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

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