Columnist CJ LaCava
(Born in NJ and now in the UK)

The E Street Band Reunion Tour Climax at MSG
Posted on July 10, 2000 @ 10:00PM GMT

The Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Reunion tour is over. They played 134 shows across Europe and North America over about 15 months. Fans from all over the world came to see these shows - to see the rebirth of a very important band and some very important music.

I saw my fair share of shows in Europe. After hearing about how the tour was evolving in North America, I knew I had to go back to see them again. I was able to get very good seats to the last three MSG shows - two of which I will never forget. Thank you for the tickets, Peter. I really appreciate it.

MSG June 27, 2000

I can honestly say that June 27 at MSG was the best concert I have ever seen. Most of the people who went to the majority of the MSG shows agree that June 26 & 27 were the stand's climax (with the possible exception of 6/20 and 6/22). Reports from RMAS are that Max Weinberg believes June 27 was the best show of the tour. The band's energy level, lead by the man himself, was absolutely astounding. This show was ten times any of the shows I saw in the UK during 1999. It was like I was watching a whole different band perform. The show just kept getting better and better. Songs that I didn't really care for in London (Light of Day especially) had me riveted this time around.

I was treated that night to a handful of songs I had not seen performed live. One was Adam Raised a Cain, which really whipped the crowd into a frenzy. After Two Hearts (when section 66 literally began to shake) I thought there was no way that the show could get any more intense. I was wrong - because then Bruce hit us with Trapped, and words can not describe the experience I had from that point on during the show.

I had a rock 'n roll orgasm (that's about the only way I can describe it) during Badlands and Light of Day that night (which came with CC Rider and Jenny). We were hit with a killer Loose Ends after Tenth Ave Freeze-out. To top it all off, we got one of my favourites for the beginning of the second encore: Blinded By the Light, which Bruce and the band looked so happy to serve up for us (just like on LA Night).

Back In Your Arms Again and Mary Queen of Arkansas were wonderful to hear as well. Neither are one of my favorites, but both were very pleasant. Back in Your Arms Again was an audible (i.e. thrown in at the last minute) by Bruce. You can see him, the band, and the crew signalling each other by crossing their arms to their shoulders briefly.

While I will never forget that night, it unfortunately tainted my experience for the next two shows, which just did not measure up. I could hit myself for not going to the show on June 26 (which people say was as good as June 27). I could have easily done so, but backed out at the last minute. Never again. I missed out on For You, Night, and Candy's Room.

MSG June 29, 2000

Many people consider the second to last show in NJ last year (during the 15 show stand) was better than the finale. I had a lot of expectations going into this show, but by now I was spoiled. The show itself wasn't bad, but it paled in comparison to June 27. The energy level was lower, the band seemed distracted, Bruce seemed like he was in a good mood (but he was not beaming like two nights before), and I think that the video taping might have been a distraction. There were a lot of cameras and the audience was lit up a lot of the time. In the end, despite hearing an emotional rendition of The Promise and a very powerful Jungleland - the shows was rather flat. Especially during Don't Look Back, Growin' Up and This Hard Land.

Bruce asked the crowd for quiet during the quiet songs for the sake of the recording that night. Everyone graciously seemed to oblige him. My Hometown (right after Mansion on the Hill) was really wonderful to hear that night. A nice surprise for me.

Bruce and the band are only human - I know it must be impossible to have a show like June 27 every night (or once a week)! Maybe they were just getting tired of MSG.

MSG July 1, 2000

This was it - the last dance. The anticipation was killing me and everyone else. I have never seen a larger drop line as I saw outside of MSG that day. There were NO tickets (except some that were obviously fake). I felt so bad for all of the people lined up outside holding up their hands or signs, hoping for a seat. There just weren't very many that day.

The show started late that night. It was 8:45PM when the house lights went down and the crowd erupted into a deafening cheer. The crowd that night was the best I'd ever seen - in fact, the crowd had more energy than the band. As the show got going and the setlist was being unfolded, I looked at my friend Peter and he said, "I feel like we're back in Europe."

He was right. The setlist was nothing special - all of these songs we had heard many times while the band was touring Europe over a year ago. What was worse than that was that the band's energy level was low - really low compared to the last two or three shows.

Bruce was definitely distracted and upset by something and it had a big effect on the band and the music. Did it have to do with the video taping? Did it have to do with why the show started late? Or, did the show have a bittersweet mood because it was the end of the line for the tour?

I was really worried. During American Skin, Bruce actually asked the crowd to be quiet before he started the first verse and after the music began. I think he was under pressure to get this song right on tape. It's too bad the taping had such a negative affect on the show - I sure hope the tape is put to good use (i.e. PLEASE release a live DVD or CD).

I am happy to report that the show's mood changed considerably for the better during the end of Youngstown and into Murder Inc. I can't say why, but Bruce seemed to lighten up and the energy level of the show shot up. I think the energy peaked during E Street Shuffle, which was a joy to see. Bruce and the Band seemed to enjoy it as well.

Then, they dropped the bomb on us . . . it was Lost in the Flood from the very first album. I couldn't believe my ears when Bruce started to sing. They absolutely nailed it - the song was full of emotion and seemed to be executed perfectly.

A lot of people in my section had no idea what they were playing. But that's OK because Bruce was playing it for us and not them. This was a clear sign from Bruce - a tribute to the community. Only the most dedicated fans had been requesting this song. One or two signs, some posts on RMAS or the LTD, and maybe a few personal requests during brief meetings (which definitely happened with Max Weinberg during the taping of the Conan show on June 30). There were fans at this show from all over the world - these are not causal listeners hoping to hear Glory Days.

Lost in the Flood quickly shot the July 1 show into history, but then there was one more surprise for the audience that night. After Land of Hope and Dream, the crowd once again started a deafening cheer. Even after over three hours, no one wanted it to be over. Bruce gave thanks to the crew, fans, and the band - and that's when a spontaneous "E Street Band, E Street Band, E Street Band" cheer began. Bruce and the band were visibly moved - some almost in tears. As the cameras hit the band - you could see it.

After giving thanks once again for the support of all the fans and audiences around the world, Bruce thanked the band with an extremely emotional version of Blood Brothers - complete with a new third verse written just for this tour. I'm sure you will all hear this when the recordings hit the net. These bootlegs will surely be some of the most popular from this tour.

Not the best show of the tour, but definitely one that will be long remembered by the band and all of the fans there that night. Thank you, guys. We loved it.

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