The Bruce world woke up this morning to a sensation. No, Clarence wasn't resurrected from the dead. No, Electric Nebraska wasn't released. No, Bruce didn't reunite Steel Mill. So what happened? Well, Bruce decided to spend a few minutes of the show last night in Barcelona playing a guitar solo as an intro to "Prove It All Night". But why is that a sensation? He usually plays several guitar solos during his shows. Not to mention that Nils Lofgren makes stadiums go wild with his equilibristic guitar playing during songs like "Youngstown" and "Because the Night".
The guitar intro to "Prove It All Night" was first heard at the first show of the Darkness Tour in 1978. In the beginning it was hardly worth mentioning. It was over before it really got started. But during the course of the tour it evolved into a frantic, majestic 3-4 minute guitar exhibition that made audiences drop their jaws wherever the tour went. And thanks to several live radio broadcasts that were turned into classic bootlegs, the song and thereby the solo reached an ever-growing audience of Bruce fans all over the world. The piercing, and yet incredibly melodic solo became the symbol of a tour that by many is regarded as the highlight of Bruce's career... which, to a lot of us, is pretty much the same as saying the highlight of music itself.
The story of the "Prove It All Night" '78 guitar intro is not complete without mentioning the piano part that preceded and accompanied it. Roy Bittan's foreboding piano notes were the perfect expression of how something dangerous and yet both spiritually and physically arousing was about to happen. After a couple of minutes of this, in its own right, more and more accomplished piece of music, he would settle into an inciting groove while Bruce got himself and the Fender Esquire ready. That moment, just before Bruce's first scorching touch of the strings, just before the explosion, was almost as exciting as the guitar solo itself. A solo which was just the first of three raging guitar assaults that the, on the surface, slightly insignificant song would be the launching pad for, before its climactic ending 7-8 minutes later.
The "Prove It All Night" guitar intro was played a few times during the first part of the River Tour in 1980, but until last night it was firmly connected to the Darkness Tour. Last night's resurrection of the solo is an opportunity for several new generations of Bruce fans to get a sense of living in legendary times. To finally be able to stand up to those oldtimers who experienced the Darkness Tour first hand and refute their indulgent shrugs that, better than words could ever do, made it clear that "yeah, Bruce may still be pretty good, but you should have seen him in '78".
Time will tell if the "Prove It All Night" intro is back to stay or if this was a one-off experience. As great as that moment was, no one who heard it can deny that it would need a lot more work to come close to the Winterland or Passaic '78 versions. But maybe this was just Bruce teasing his fans and we'll never hear another attempt, or maybe he'll get serious about bringing it back and once again let it evolve into perfection.
Whatever the case, what happened last night was magic whether you were at Estadi Olimpic or not, and the first night in Barcelona of the 2012 Wrecking Ball Tour has already secured its place in the Bruce history books. Dreams came true, and it was more than nice.