Live in Charlotte, NC Time Warner Arena, Sat, April 19, 2014
Bruce Springsteen opened his show in Charlotte with the poignant “Iceman” (originally an outtake from Darkness on the Edge of Town) and proceeded to blow the roof off the arena for the next 3 hours and some 14 minutes. Lead guitarist Little Steven was somewhere filming TV shows, but Tom Morello (ex-Rage Against the Machine) and E Street Band veteran Nils Lofgren backed Springsteen up with their mighty guitars. Morello especially roused the crowd with his wizardry on “Ghost of Tom Joad.” Other rockers, like the Celtic-flavored “Death to my hometown” brought the crowd to its feet, fists in the air. Springsteen makes no qualms writing about things that he perceives are wrong or have gone wrong; he takes everyman words and phrases and turns them into songs about the longings, disillusionment, as well as joys of growing up and living in America. The Vietnam War has affected his writing since the mid-70s. His heart wrenching rendition of “The Wall,” a song written after he visited the Vietnam War memorial and is on his latest record High Hopes, was one of the most moving songs I’ve heard anyone perform. He referred to it as a “prayer for my country.” Springsteen is a street fighting man, deeply spiritual when singing about the country he loves, but not afraid to shed light on its failings, foibles, and missteps. A personal highlight of the night was a blazing rendition of “Wrecking Ball.” (Note to Miley: Listen to the Boss’s title track from his 2012 album and learn). Springsteen has always been fan friendly, as several audience members were invited on stage during various songs to dance and sing along. He covered songs handed to him on homemade signs by fans including, “Louie Louie,” “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Shout,” and “Mustang Sally.” Springsteen never left the stage during the concert, no breaks or handing vocal duties to someone else. He closed the show with another cover, the band Suicide’s 1979 song “Dream Baby Dream,” another track off High Hopes, a simple song, a chant almost, of hope.