By: David Higdon
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band :: 08.16.08 :: North Charleston Coliseum :: Charleston, SC
There are some journeys that one must go alone, and then there are some one must share with their closest friends. When Bruce Springsteen made his first appearance in picturesque Charleston, SC in over thirty years, diehards and novices alike scurried to pick up one of the coveted 12,000 tickets. Bruce – the embodiment of this road trip philosophy - brought the earth shaking E Street Band along for an unforgettable, life-affirming concert, and I brought my closest friends.
From the opening surprise of "a little beach music" with the state shagging anthem "Double Shot (of My Baby's Love)," the evening had its very own feel. Sure, it was an E Street concert through and through, but Bruce and company had made a winding trip to the edge of America that veered from the Magic heavy setlist. "Radio Nowhere" brought the audience out of shock with its searing rock 'n' roll tempo before the coliseum filling "uh uh ohs" of "Out in the Street" let the crowd know that this show had no musical compass; the band was just having fun. "Two Hearts," with perfectly ragged harmonies from Little Steven, even carried the theme of friendship through by its lesson of always looking ahead.
Springsteen was building up the crowd participation as a whole, and the audience was in his hands (except for when Bruce was literally in the audiences' hands while they supported his frequent stretches out above them). Miraculously, he finds a way to make each ticket holder, from the front of the pit to those dancing in the aisles by the rafters, feel like this show is being put on just for them. Whether it is through a birthday request for "Growin' Up" or just the parking lot wish to hear "No Surrender" that night, the Boss has a distinct connection with his fans.
During the non-stop three hour show, Springsteen showcased a number of characters who have become close friends to his fans - Janey ("Janey Don't You Lose Heart"), Mary ("Mary's Place") and Rosie ("Rosalita") were just a few of the flesh and blood sketches from the Boss' catalog we've come to know and love. The songs of strong emotion (the intense "Streets of Fire" and "Last to Die") were delivered with the same power as the fist pumping "Badlands" or the hip swaying "Hungry Heart." Nils Lofgren provided the show's only truly jaw-dropping solo during "Because the Night," which was accented with numerous full body spins and Springsteen shouting out for him to "go for it!"
| Bruce Springsteen|
But, no matter whether it's the knee slides across the stage, the cocky cool of the guitar-to-roadie axe toss or the taking of requests to patch together an on-the-fly setlist, Springsteen is just guiding this musical leviathan. The coolest person onstage is still the King of the World, the Master of the Universe, the Secretary of the Brotherhood, Mr. Big Man himself - Clarence Clemons. When the change was made uptown, Big Man added the spiritual weight to this group of rock 'n' roll devotees that was uncharacteristically absent. His sax delivers the notes on air in a way that is dignified, beautiful and rich with soul ("Jungleland").
The E Street Band has a unique camaraderie onstage and in the pantheons of rock history in general. They play for themselves, for the name of the band, and for each and every person in the venue. Their friendship is seen through the music. Its memories, smiles and the inside jokes are the exact same qualities we were all sharing in the audience.
08.16.08 :: North Charleston Coliseum :: Charleston, SC
Double Shot (of My Baby's Love), Radio Nowhere, Out in the Street, Two Hearts, Spirit in the Night, Light of Day, Growin' Up, Janey Don't You Lose Heart, No Surrender, Atlantic City, Because the Night, She's the One, Livin' in the Future, Mary's Place, Hungry Heart, The Rising, Last to Die, Long Walk Home, Badlands
Encore: Streets of Fire, Jungleland, Born to Run, Rosalita, Dancing in the Dark, American Land, Twist and Shout
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