Mar. 2nd, 2016

...I went to a concert at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, Az. The venue was an unusual place for a rock and roll band to play - it was a theater in the round, with the musicians set up on a round turntable in the middle of the theater (Said turntable rotated throughout the show. As I said, an unusual place for a rock and roll band to play).

On stage, that night, was Ernest "Boom" Carter on drums, David Sancious on piano, Danny Federici on organ, Gary Tallent on bass guitar, Clarence Clemons on saxophone, and Bruce Springsteen with the vocals and lead guitar.

One of my most vivid memories from the show is Springsteen breaking a guitar string in the middle of a song, and the band sliding into some jazzy music while Bruce simultaneously replaced the string and cracked wise.

Monday night, thanks to the lovely and talented [ profile] mizzlaurajean, I watched the two remaining members of that ensemble (along with seven other musicians) play for three hours and twenty-five minutes (non-stop - no intermission, no encores, just one song after another) at the Excel Center.

This concert differed significantly from all of the other Springsteen concerts I've attended. They started the show with the house lights up. The first half of the show they played all of the songs from The River (one of my all time favorite albums) in the order they appeared on the album. The second half of the show they played songs that could fairly be characterized as iconic. There weren't many between song stories. The arrangements were largely the same as the arrangements on the recorded versions of the songs.

I think the highlight, for me, was Independence Day, one of the few songs he did talk about before performing it, and a song that I still find tremendously affecting.

I think this was the first time I'd seen the Big Man's replacement in action. He didn't have the same impact that Clarence had, both physically and as a performer (no real surprise on the physical part - Jake appeared to be bigger than anyone else in the band, but he's nowhere near as imposing as Clarence was). Jake brings his own, different impact to the band - I enjoyed his performance, even while I missed his uncle.

It was good to hear Drive All Night in concert, even though it didn't match the performance I heard from Bruce and the band in the early 80s at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles (not too surprising, I think that version is the best live performance of any song that I ever heard). My recollection is that hearing Glen Hansard perform Drive All Night at Winnipeg is what led me to hang around for the rest of his set.

It's probably just me, but I felt like Bobby Jean was being sung to/for Clarence Clemons.

There was absolutely no question about Tenth Avenue Freeze Out - that was a tribute to both the Phantom and the Big Man.

We got home way too late, and I'm still recovering.



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