2003-08-28, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

The Rising Tour
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Appr. 2 hours, 45 minutes.

"Independence Day" is a tour premiere. "The Fuse" is back in the set for the first time since the European tour.

Bobby Bandiera guests on "From Small Things".

The show is filmed with high-resolution cameras for unknown purposes.

Bruce brings a 10-year-old girl on stage as a dance partner for "Dancing in the Dark".

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
Steve wrote: Listened to Bruce since 1974 - never 'saw' until this year (Buffalo, Rochester, Phila 8/11, and now Giants Stadium 8/28). Every show different, always amazing energy, fun, poignant, relevant, the crowds are knowledgable, singing, screaming, waving, laughing, crying (in NJ after 'Empty Sky'), DITD Bruce pulls a 10 year old up on stage, ID, DOTEOT, TTTB - afterwards parking lot is full of happy, exhausted fans - every show -amazing. Thanks Boss.

John Swift wrote: Overall, a very average show which was the weakest of the eight shows I've seen this summer. The highlight was definitely "From Small Things" which I had never seen in my 50+ shows. The sound continues to be a problem; especially during "No Surrender" where Bruce's vocals seem to become distorted during every Giants Stadium show. After seeing the 8/9 show in Philly and 6 of the 7 July shows in Jersey, I am really starting to believe that Philly may be the best place to see the Boss.

However, a dissappointing Bruce show is still better than anything else so let's just hope for two killers shows this weekend.

Bryan wrote: This is my 6th show on the tour and my first time seeing Bruce in a stadium as well as New Jersey. I had somewhat low expectations of the set list since it was the first of the final three at Giants Stadium.

Sadly, even with my low expectations, I was very displeased with the number of songs and length of show. At only 23 songs a 2 hour 40 minute set, both were very low for this point of the tour. I did enjoy getting three ultra-rare audibles though. I'm not a big observer of the band being "on" or "off" or if Bruce is in a good mood or bad mood so I'll let the comments already posted about that aspect stand as is. From what I've read, Bruce and band were above average.

When he started with "The Rising", I figured he wasn't going to be playing around with the songs. Ties - Darkness - The Fuse is a less than desireable three-pack given the songs he typically plays in that section of the show. Fuse is a song that barely worked in the arenas, but should be put to rest for stadiums.

The audience continually chattered during Empty Sky and it's obvious that Bruce is aware of that fact as he strums his guitar more instead of pick the notes in order to
drown out the excessive noise.

Bruce totally goofed up during "Waiting on a Sunny Day" by letting the crowd sing for too many verses and he skipped the middle section leading up to the 3rd verse.

Be True was a nice treat (by request) but I wanted to hear something else prior to World Apart and thought that due to lack of up-beat songs to start the show, he would deliver.

Indy Day was also a nice treat as I had never heard/seen it live. Once again, though, the audience did not give it the respect it deserved (you could hear a constant chatter in the background) but I guess that's just what the deal is when Bruce plays a 55 000 seat stadium.

By the end of the main set, it was only 90 minutes into the show and at 15 songs, I started thinking the encores would be something special. I was wrong...

From Small Things was a promising start, but Hungry Heart isn't what it used to be and although Ramrod & Born to Run are played to perfection, to get nothing after Born to Run (even the CA shows that fans have said were pretty standard got a song after Born to Run) was a let down.

Watching everyone rise to their feet at the pinnacle of City of Ruins was quite a sight and Rosie was a huge highlight. I was at the back of the floor seats by this time and it was just one big dance floor. DITD was an above average closer when he pulled a girl up from the Pit (nice going Ally).

With Bruce is working his way up to the big finish this weekend, it won't be difficult to go up from Thursday night's set and length of show.

Rob Oslan wrote: Compared to the Aug 9th Philly show Bruce's energy level wasn't the same. I was hoping for something other than The Rising to open the show and the sound was bass heavy. Philly's sound on the floor was like hearing an excellent soundboard recording. The other disappointment was the lack of respect during Empty Sky and Independence Day. People were chatting and walking out like it was intermission time!!!! I can't recall this happening in Philly. Overall the show was better than most artists on their best night. So, with that in mind, it was still good to see the Boss!

Tom Cantillon wrote: Strong, solid show with some very good performances. The Fuse and Ties that Bind were very good, especially Ties, Bruce really delivered on that one. Independence Day was a nice treat, but a song that should have probably been played earlier in the set. Towards the end of the main set, Bruce needs to deliver a classic, such as: Backstreets, Incident, Jungleland or Racing.

From Small Things rocked and was definitely unexpected. A strong show from start to finish, but seemed a little reserved at times.

JoshO wrote: Wednesday - Spirit in the Night
Our tickets were purchased in April of 2003, so basically Cal "Calhoun" Heinle and I had to suffer through an entire summer of rollicking good times before we could have our raison d'?tre: two sold-out Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concerts in the heart of New Jersey - Giants Stadium.

If you ask us, Calhoun and I did a pretty good job of muddling through the summer, from partaking in champagne baths in May to having a 5K bar crawl in honor of Cal's 21st birthday to holding down both cities of Brackney, PA and Oswego, NY in rapid succession.

So when the time had come, Cal and I gathered at 623 Jennings St ("The House That Mama Built") for pre-departure activities. We made those necessary preparations and not being physically or emotionally tired to call it a day, we sat and watched a tape of a Springsteen show from March. The fist-pumping that occurred in the living room of 623 did not compare to the rock 'n' roll hellride that The Boss was going to put us through in the coming nights, but this was the perfect, how do you say appetizer. My mom sat on the couch and listened as we made our setlist predictions, from Calhoun's sensible call for "She's The One" or my insane "demand" that The Boss play the entire "Wild, Innocent and the E Street Shuffle" album in its entirety.

Plans were made to chronicle an hour-by-hour breakdown of the weekend, along with a tally of how many fist-pumps, handshakes, "Holy Shit!"s and/or platonic hugs would occur.

At a perfectly reasonable hour, we parted for the evening, ready to get down to bidness. Calhoun mentioned later that he couldn't sleep a wink that evening, but instead sat up until 3:30am.

Thursday - Baby, We Were Born to Run
As Calhoun made morning preparations, I attended church. As I sat in the presence of the Almighty, I prayed in earnest for my previous request of the entire "Wild and Innocent" album setlist.

Calhoun arrived back at my house at around 11am to finally make our departure. As all good road trips should, we began our voyage to the Holy Land by stopping at the Mecca of commerce - Wegman's.

And we gunned that bitch to Jersey. For our aural enjoyment, we listened to Springsteen albums in order from Wegman's parking lot to 42 Burgess Place (The House That Baba Built). We rocked out from "Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ" to "Darkness on the Edge of Town" during the drive, only skipping over a few songs (including "Wild Billy's Circus Story"). Baba was very excited to see us, and she prepared some fantastic eats for us. After getting the dish (in more ways than one) from Baba, we departed Sesame Street in search of a supermarket and Route 3 East - the dusty beach road that would lead us to Giants Stadium. Upon reaching the parking lot in a whopping thirteen minutes (including a stop for gas), we established ourselves in section 4D. Incidentally, Calhoun had parked in the very same spot in the very same section for a Bon Jovi concert earlier in the summer. Though we mean no disrespect to Mr. Bon Jovi, we considered that concert a mere scrimmage. But this, baby, this is varsity.

We set up base camp right around 3:35pm, as 89% of the lot was still empty. After toasting the events and grilling some fine cheeseburgers, we met our neighbors. They were very fun people, the Yankees fan and ever-benevolent Mike The Gambler and his sidekick, The Lady Who Hit on Us and Offered Weed. I said "Up with hope and down with Dope" to the latter, while Calhoun also passed on grass. We were content with the musical high that Mr. Bruce Springsteen would provide in, oh five hours.

And we sat on. And sat. You know that feeling when the initial adrenaline rush of doing some rare hits us And you know that rush leaves you? Well, that hit around 6. And we still had an hour and a half before the gates even opened. So we journeyed our bones to the makeshift Jersey Shore carnival set up outside the stadium. There we listened to the tunes of Exit 105 (Might be a reference to the Turnpike, but I'm not sure), were spit upon by a Sierra Mist stand, and listened to the barbed insults coming from a real, live clown at the dunk booth. That killed about a half-hour, so we bounced back to the car for another healthy dose of sitting.

As 7:15 approached, we left the car for Goldenrod (more on this later) and our entry to the house that Jimmy Hoffa Lies Under. Our seats weren't that bad, third row upper deck, leaving a great vantagepoint. We sat from 7:30 until 8:32, when The Man finally took the stage. The entire E Street Band received raucous cheers, but the place nearly blew up when Clarence Clemons (on sax) came out with a fedora, pinstripe suit and cigar.

The setlist was basically a rundown of "The Rising", which I mistakenly labeled as "doesn't translate live well". Oh, but it did. The pairing of Worlds Apart>Badlands>Out in the Street was a particular high, and the appearance of "Independence Day" was wonderful. For an encore, Bruce brought out Bobby Bandiera for a rendition of "From Small Things". When Bruce announced that he was bringing out "Bobby " I almost had an attack because I thought the Rhythm Guitar Jesus Bobby Weir was coming out. We settled for Bobby Bandiera, and the results were nothing less than scintillating. The transition from "Ramrod" into "Born to Run" was fantastic, as the entire band left the stage while Roy Bittan (piano) played a five-minute solo. Bruce reemerged and sat on the piano while Roy rocked out, then the rest of the band came out for "Born to Run". Everyone in attendance obviously knows that it's going to be played, but when it hits, there's nothing like it.

The second encore had the lone "Wild and Innocent" song from it - "Rosalita (Come out Tonight)", and we rocked from the coastline to the City. Bruce brought up a little girl to cut a rug with him during "Dancing in the Dark", the last tune of the show.

We left our seats at 11:15pm and were back at Baba's by midnight. Not bad for two hicks from upstate New York. One show down, one trip to the Shore and one concert to go.


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