2002-08-25, America West, Phoenix, AZ

The Rising Tour
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Appr. 2 hours, 30 minutes.

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
Reinhart Kotzsch wrote: After two tremendous shows at Madison Square Garden (June 29 and Juli 1st ) two years ago, I actually could not believe, that this level of excitement can be got back somehow. I was wrong, the show in Phoenix brought not only the same feeling back to me but also exceeded all my expectations. Springsteen and the E-Street Band - by the way also featuring Soozie Tyrell on violin - offered something new without loosing their classic values.

I flew to Phoenix this time after purchasing a GA-ticket for a reasonable price. Fortunately I made it to reserve my place in a limited- to-300-people-area next to the stage. In a venue with 22.000 people I stood only two,three meters away from the band and had an awesome view. From the opening song on the tone of Bruce and his E Street Band seemed to be quite different from the reunion concerts. Here I must confess, that I love the new album, at least as much as Darkness... and by far more than Born In the USA or Tunnel... . So I really appriciate, that most new songs have become a certain part of the sets. When The Rising followed by Lonesome Day opened the show, the audience sounded pretty thrilled. I felt that both songs may become alltime live classics. Whether Empty Sky , You?re Missing , Waiting On A Sunny Day , Worlds Apart they all boosted our enthusiasm more and more. Even Mary?s Place, which is the only one of the album, I regarded to be unnecessary, came in a amazing live version, which opened the party for the introduction of the band - as a new replacement of Rosilita or 10th Avenenue Freeze out . I am not sure, but the song rocked much better than on the album. What did I miss? Maybe American Skin which had been played one night before in LA. But Dancing in The Dark - what a great new full band version - let me forget such thoughts immedialely
We all danced and danced and couldn?t stop dancing. My City of Ruins , made me on the verge of tears such an unbelievable great performance. A full band version of Born In The USA and a rocking Land of Hope And Dreams ended another unforgettable night with Bruce and the E Street Band.

Finally I may confirm, that Springsteen concerts at least in the US are long travels worth.... even when the set-list do not change a lot this tour.

Tom Cantillon wrote: When I first got a preview of the tour at the convention hall in Asbury Park, I was wondering about the story Bruce was trying to tell, based upon the order of songs played.With all previous tours, Bruce would weave a story throughout the show as a result of the songs he played. At the Convention Hall shows, the story had been unclear. But that changed in Phoenix. While on vacation I snagged a ticket and went to the show and as the songs were played, the story unfolded.

From "The Rising" through "You're Missing", Bruce's story was about not only surviving, but transcending and in a way, also finding a spiritual sanctification. And when he and the band blasted through "Promised Land", "World's Apart" and "Badlands", the story and message shouted for a coming together! Bruce and the band and the songs became church, and they did so in hope of bringing a little relief, liberation and celebration of life to all of us. We don't need to have been in NY that day to have been affected by it. We all have been. And the great thing about Bruce and the new songs is that they don't claim to have any real answers, he's just trying to keep us on our feet and "Rising" above those "Badlands". The Phoenix show proved that. Thanks, Bruce. A long time fan from Jersey.

Joyce Hinrichsen wrote: The Vegas show was weak, and I blame the crowd. The Thomas and Mack Arena was only about 75% full, and half the people there seemed to be (by the look and level of enthusiasm) simply Vegas vacationers taking in a show. As a 22 year veteran of Bruce concerts (and a fan of over 25 years), I just knew he'd do "Viva Las Vegas", but even this wasn't enough for me to say that the show was "good". The band sounded over-rehearsed and disappointing to someone like me who has seen better days. This simply would not do! Instead of trying to get into the (sold-out) L.A. show, I went to Phoenix where I was able to get a General Admission ticket and a place in line good enough to get me a spot right up against the stage! I was standing 3 people to the left of center stage, right in front of Clarence. We flirted all night! Bruce high-fived me and during "Bobby Jean", he leaned towards me, smiled and strummed his guitar as I clapped in time with the music, making total eye contact for the entire 7 seconds (I replayed this moment in my mind so many times that I could actually clock it!) The energy level was very high, and the set list was comparable to the L.A. show with the exception of "American Skin" which he did not do. Although the Phoenix show was not sold out, they must have made some last minute sales because the place seemed pretty packed - and with TONS of seasoned tramps. The America West Arena was totally immersed in Bruce Juice Sunday night, and there was at least one person there that night who got to live out her dream of being right up front at a Springsteen show. I sang, I danced, I laughed, I cried, I even said a little prayer of thanks, I took the night for all it gave me and I think I proved it all night that I was having the BEST time of anyone else there. In fact, when I got back to my hotel, my husband said I was glowing! I don't know about anyone sitting in the rafters, but from someone who was right down front, the show was dynamite!

"backstreetsister" wrote: This is not a review because let me tell ya, when Bruce Springsteen is singing a foot from your face dripping sweat upon you, your critical thinking skills fly right out the mother f*cking arena. I don?t know where this is going to start or finish because words are not coming easy right now. I still seem to be in some kind of strange post-concert nirvana.

Being right up against the stage and dead center was unbelievable--literally. I couldn?t believe it was happening and that I was really there. When the band came out I thought I was going to pass out. I had to remind myself to breathe, it was so tense it was like the air got heavy and was charged with electricity? and it built as each member of the band came out. There?s a narrow strip at the front of the stage that?s a step down from the rest of the stage. Bruce came down there for some songs and was close enough to touch. Being so close to him and the band made it feel like being a participant rather than an observer. It was so immediate and so powerful. One of the things I realized is that what makes him so good is he is fully and completely in the present, whatever the present may be?whether it?s Empty Sky or Ramrod?he is living what the song means, feeling what he wants us to feel. As much as he gives out he expects and gets back that much from the crowd. We?re feeding off each other but instead of consuming us it grows bigger. It?s so big it could knock you off your feet. At times it overwhelms. It?s a symbiosis and it?s transcendent. At the same time it?s obvious Bruce is fully aware of where he is on the stage, how he?s connected to each member of the band and the crowd. The set list was duct-taped to the floor in front of his mic stand. I had no sense of how the crowd was as a whole except by Bruce?s reaction to what was happening. He seemed pleased and thanked the crowd and Phoenix for being good to the band over the years. The new songs are so much better live, but especially Empty Sky. Patti and Bruce singing together and it was heartbreakingly, exquisitely beautiful. The setlist seemed to flow perfectly and it was like riding a roller coaster?going up, building, careening down, swinging around curves, rising and falling again and finally rolling back into the station with LOHAD.

Highlights and observations:
Bruce has his eyes closed when he?s playing a guitar solo.

I didn?t think the sound would be very good where I was but it was very good.

Mary?s Place worked great for me. I loved it. It was on this one that Bruce was leaning over the front row singing his ass off and dripping sweat on me?no more than a foot from my face.

Born to Run: Bruce held out his guitar and let us play it.

Having Bruce looking directly in my eyes when he sang ?Tonight I?ll be on that hill cause I can?t stop? during Darkness.

Ramrod was an absolute blast, they had SO much fun with it!!! When Bruce sang ?I swear I think of your pretty face when I let her unwind? he sort of crouched down in front of me and pointed straight at me and wiggled his eyebrows. OH MY GOD did that just really happen or am I dreaming??? Later he shook his ass right in my face... Oh yes I was tempted to grope LOL.

When he jumped onto the piano he seemed to struggle a bit. I think performing the way he he does is physically painful for him. He looks VERY trim though. I think he's at the perfect weight right now and I think part of the reason for that is so all that jumping around and pogoing doesn't hurt so much. His boots have rubber soles (!)
Clarence. The Big Man has such a great presence. After the first encore when the band was taking their bows he teared up he just looked so happy and grateful.

Bruce is so compelling on stage it?s hard to take your eyes off him. I was watching the others at times but not for long. The man is riveting. I do think there?s a unique dynamic between Bruce and the band?some combination of those people that makes magic. But Bruce is the catalyst for it all.

I never thought I?d be saying this because I was dreading it so much but the GA line was actually fun. Trading stories and getting to know other Tramps made the time fly. I got there at 9:00 in the morning and was #24 on the list. The weather forecasters had predicted a record-tieing 112 degree high for Sunday and I think that kept a lot of GA ticket holders away til the end of the day. I think by 2 or 3:00 there were only a hundred people on the list. The line is being run by volunteers who do it out of the goodness of their hearts and because it gets them the choice positions at the shows. Once you sign up and have your hand numbered you can leave til the next roll call which at the beginning was every three hours, then every two hours. At 4:00 it changed to hourly. The venue gave out the wrist bands prior to the doors opening. When the doors opened at 6:00 most people respected the positions they?d had in line as we headed to the stage but a few raced forward. As soon as the guys behind me ran past me I started running too. The security guards were screaming at us to ?WALK!? but I was going as fast as I needed to keep anybody else from passing me. I ended up to the right of Patti in front of the piano initially. I was there til about 7:00 when I was upgraded to center stage. I think I said ?Oh my God? several thousand times LOL.

I?m going to shut up now because I sound like I?m at the freakin? Oscars and it was a whole lot better than that. It?s an experience I?ll treasure for the rest of my life?it?s seared into my mind, my heart and my soul forever.


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