Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Bruce Springsteen @ L.A. Sports Arena

Bruce Springsteen (Wrecking Ball Tour 2012) @ L.A. Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA - 
April 26, 2012
Review: Jessie Rosen and Rob Luchow

What follows is a review of Bruce Springsteen’s Los Angeles stop on the Wrecking Ball tour (night one) from the perspective of a first-time Springsteen concert-goer and a veteran fan…who just so happen to be dating.
Rob: So J, first question off the bat is simply, what did you think? To guide this question a little more specifically, what are your 3 biggest takeaways from the evening?

Jessie: Well, as you know I was a tad apprehensive about this man you call THE BOSS

Rob: Everyone calls him that.

Jessie: So you claim. Anyway, my apprehension is ironic because Bruce and I share a hometown.

Rob: Which makes your apprehension sacrilegious.

Jessie: Perhaps, but I have to say that my tune is changed after last night's experience. My three biggest takeaways from the evening are:

1. That man and the E Street Band 2.0 have more energy than most acts half their age, and it's incredibly powerful in a live venue.

2. Though I don't have anything to compare it to, his live sound is really tremendous. Clear, strong vocals and a really expertly mixed show overall.

And 3. The musicality of it all blew me away. It's rock, yes, but there was so much blues, jazz, and even blue grass in the arrangements (especially with the horns) that took what you make me listen to in the car to a whole different level. I really appreciated that.

So I guess my question back to you is, has it always been like this? Or do you feel like there's a new sound to Bruce in 2012 than there was in earlier tours?

Rob: The simple answer to the question is yes - last night was a reminder that despite losing two founding members of the E Street band (first Dan Federici and most recently Clarence "Big Man" Clemons), these guys still know how to put on a better live show than anyone else out there right now.

Jessie: Anyone else out there??

Rob: In my opinion…which is correct. When Bruce slides across the stage and does his gospel-like rant about transporting the audience to another place through rock 'n' roll, you laugh at first but the guy means it. I think the epitome of this idea was during "City of Ruins" when he introduced the members of the band knowing it would be emotional without Clarence there. Instead he turned it into this poignant moment by beautifully singing "If I'm here, and you're here, then they're here." It's a little much for a rock show but in that moment, it all makes sense to what Bruce wants the experience of a show to be like. That ability to go from fist pumping and chanting to getting moved emotionally will always be the hallmark of what makes him one of the greatest. Sure, the pieces of the band changed and like many aging rock acts, he keeps adding instruments and new members, but the core group and their philosophy was fully on last night and will be until he decides to stop, which probably won't happen.

Jessie: That was very deep.

Rob: I believe Bruce would appreciate the thoughtfulness of my response.

Jessie: Now, can we talk about when that Rage Against the Machine guy came on stage? A. how/why is he friends with Bruce and B. does “Ghost of Tom Joad” always sound that amazing, or did RAGE-man make it even more incredible? I think that might have been my favorite song of the night, and I didn't even know it before.

Rob: I’m not sure if you can sound more girly by calling him the 'Rage-man'. I don’t know exactly how the two became friends initially (although who wouldn't want to call Bruce a friend??), but I'm sure the interweb has the full story. However, the two share a similar songwriting persona of crafting music that speaks to the plight of the working/lower class. That song “Ghost of Tom Joad” was off the the same-named album Bruce wrote inspired by The Grapes of Wrath. It always has the same grit to it but I think Tom brings an added intensity to it especially when he does his guitar solo with the same RATM stylings. Here's a video of them performing this song once before:

One aspect of the Bruce show I know you thought was both unique and fun was how he loves to play with the full house lights up. What did you think about that?

Jessie: I just watched that video, and I like the RAGE-man even more than before. Amazing stuff.

Regarding this lights-up situation - TOTALLY bizarre. At first I didn't like it because it felt so exposed. There's something "correct" about watching a live show in proper live show lighting, but what Bruce's lights preference accomplishes is an insanely contagious energy. You see people dancing/screaming/fist-pumping, and that shared experience pumps up the energy to a degree I've never experienced at a live show. I'm a fan.

Let's talk favorite song of the set? I said mine was the Tom Joad one. You? Maybe a new one off Wrecking Ball? (please note that I know the name of the new album).

Rob: Good job. As a fan it was great to hear some of the old numbers like "She's the One" and "E Street Shuffle." "Something in the Night" off the Darkness album was a rarity in his live shows, but unfortunately we got caught on an intense line for some Miller Lites.

Jessie: The beer of The Jersey Shore.

Rob: Exactly.

In all honesty, I was hoping for a few more of his epic songs like "Jungleland" or "Racing in the Street." The trade off was getting Tom Morello on a few songs (which I'll gladly take) and a really fun cover in the encore of The Riviera's "California Sun." Of the new stuff, I like "Wrecking Ball" in general - sounds like a real Bruce song with the Jersey references and the sing-a-long parts.

Jessie: I do enjoy the sing-a-longs.

Rob: I noticed.

Now that you've seen Bruce and Bon Jovi, how do you compare the two and more importantly do you have a greater appreciation for our home state?

Jessie: Bruce v. Jovi is an interesting comparison. They exhibit a similar energy, despite their respective ages, and both rock an impressively tight pant. That said, Bon Jovi is a singer/performer and Bruce Springsteen is a musician.

Regarding my feelings about New Jersey following this epic show, I'm happy to report that they've been enhanced. I was proud to be among the screamers during the Jersey references in Bruce's songs. The Boss certainly helps redeem what MTV's JERSEY SHORE did to diminish our poor state.

Rob: Well I’m happy to hear that your opinion of our state and more importantly THE BOSS have improved…because you’ve got a lot more Springsteen shows in your future if this relationship is going to work.
A very big thank you to our crackerjack team of L.A. correspondents! Check out The Boss' remaining tour dates below and fist-pump your way into the future.

Bruce Springsteen 2012 Tour Dates
2 May, 2012-NEWARK, NJ Prudential Center
13 May, 2012-SEVILLA, SPAIN Estadio Olímpico
15 May, 2012-LAS PALMAS, SPAIN Estadio de Gran Canaria
17 May, 2012-BARCELONA, SPAIN Estadio Olímpico Lluis
18 May, 2012-BARCELONA, SPAIN Estadio Olímpico Lluis
25 May, 2012-FRANKFURT, GERMANY Commerzbank Arena
27 May, 2012-COLOGNE, GERMANY Energie Stadion
30 May, 2012-BERLIN, GERMANY Olympia Stadion
2 Jun, 2012-SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN Estadio Anoeta
3 Jun, 2012-LISBOA, PORTUGAL Rock in Rio Lisboa
7 Jun, 2012-MILAN, ITALY Stadio Meaza
10 Jun, 2012-FLORENCE, ITALY Stadio Francesco
11 Jun, 2012-TRIESTE, ITALY Stadio Trieste
17 Jun, 2012-MADRID, SPAIN Estadio Santago Bernabu
19 Jun, 2012-MONTPELLIER, FRANCE Park & Suites Arena
21 Jun, 2012-SUNDERLAND, UK Stadium of Light
22 Jun, 2012-MANCHESTER, UK Etihad Stadium
24 Jun, 2012-ISLE OF WIGHT, UK Isle Of Wight Festival
4 Jul, 2012-PARIS, FRANCE Bercy
5 Jul, 2012-PARIS, FRANCE Bercy
7 Jul, 2012-ROSKILDE, DENMARK Roskilde Festival
9 Jul, 2012-ZURICH, SWITZERLAND Stadion Letzigrund
11 Jul, 2012-PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC Synot Tip Arena
12 Jul, 2012-VIENNA, AUSTRIA Ernst Happel Stadium
14 Jul, 2012-LONDON, UK Hard Rock Calling
21 Jul, 2012-OSLO, NORWAY Valle Hoven
23 Jul, 2012-BERGEN, NORWAY Koegen
24 Jul, 2012-BERGEN, NORWAY Koegen
27 Jul, 2012-GOTHENBERG, SWEDEN Ullevi
28 Jul, 2012-GOTHENBERG, SWEDEN Ullevi
31 Jul, 2012-HELSINKI, FINLAND Olympic Stadium
18 Aug, 2012-BOSTON, MA Gillette Stadium
24 Aug, 2012-TORONTO, CANADA Rogers Centre
26 Aug, 2012-MONCTON, CANADA Magnetic Hill
29 Aug, 2012-VERNON, NY Vernon Downs Raceway
2 Sep, 2012-PHILADELPHIA, PA Citizens Bank Park
3 Sep, 2012-PHILADELPHIA, PA Citizens Bank Park
7 Sep, 2012-CHICAGO, IL Wrigley Field
8 Sep, 2012-CHICAGO, IL Wrigley Field
14 Sep, 2012-WASHINGTON, DC Nationals Park
19 Sep, 2012-EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ MetLife Stadium
21 Sep, 2012-EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ MetLife Stadium
22 Sep, 2012-EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ MetLife Stadium


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