The River tour finally hit that international metropolis of Coventry on Friday night. Around 50,000 sell out crowd were here to pay homage to the Boss as they do in every other city on this tour.This gig introduced 5 tour premieres. It started off in reflective mood, Bruce alone at the piano singing For You. as this song came to an end he had a broad smile for the crowd as he ushered on the E Street band for the start of the show proper. Early highlights were Sherry Darling and Out on the Street before he introduced a really obscure outtake from Darkness, Save your love – this was beautifully played and the high point of the first half of the set. Nils then proceeded to blast out a stunning solo on Youngstown. Next up was Murder Incorporated which is not my favourite Bruce song but he and Stevie played out a coda of a guitar duel that was sensational. Now the crowd were getting the best of the band – a trio of Working on the Highway, Darlington County and Waiting on a Sunny day really set the tone for my highlight of the night in Because the Night replete with Nil’s whirling dervish guitar solo. Encores included a rowdy Travelling Band and Seven Nights to Rock with Bruce resting his head on the keyboard as the reverend mimicked the notes on his head. Ending with an acoustic Thunder Road, Bruce in the spotlight, 50,000 people singing in harmony. Magical.
Largely very good as far as stadium audiences go. Bruce seemed to feed off their energy as the set progressed. The sound was largely good although if I am honest when the played The River the backing vocals were not where they should be – couldn’t work out if Bruce was ahead of the beat or they were behind it but it didn’t sound as anthem as it should have done. A minor quibble in a near perfect set and this is about my 12th time of seeing him and possibly one of the best.
It made me think..
Live music should be defined by the performances of people like Bruce who always give their all for their fans. The fans repay that commitment by really involving themselves in the performance.
Also it is evident that the most integral part of the E Street Band live is the drumming of Max Weinberg. Beholds the groove together and on this night his performance was exceptional.