2009-11-08, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Working on a Dream Tour
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The River album is played in full.

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
Ralph from Jersey wrote: The River. THE RIVER! The entire album. What a night. Bruce played this for the only time ever - "and never again" - as he said that "it takes too long to play". After another opening with "Wrecking Ball", Bruce went right into The River album. It was historic. As prepared to play the rockers, ballads and epics, he told a long story about how much the album meaned to him and "how he wanted to develop characters in this album that he would bring back in other albums". It was Bruce telling stories in a night which would take well over three hours and nearly 30 songs in length.

Bruce was masterful. Yeah, we had "Sherry" and "Crush" and "Jackson", but we had "Fade Away", "The River", "Independence Day" and other ballads. "Marry You" was special - and you could just feel the emotion as retold the story of young love.
But, it was side four. Oh, Side Four! After "Ramrod", we tightened our seatbelts and endured the emotions of "The Price You Pay", "Drive All Night" and "Wreck on the Highway". Wow.

Bruce usually takes me on the rollercoaster ride. Up emotionally, down emotionally, a little fun, a little retrospection, more fun, etc. Tonight, there was no show for me emotionally after "Price/Drive/Wreck". I was done - and so were a lot of my friends. Not since the New Year's Eve show at Nassau Coliseum (also in NY) on December 31, 1990 had I heard those three songs - and certainly not in their natural order.

How can I describe it? Now, 29 years later from when these songs were released, they meant so much more to me. I have grown into these songs and my story has become the stories in the songs. Life has endured. Dear members of my family and friends have passed on. Love has been found, and lost, and has become complicated. The light that shines ahead is flickering and the world has changed - and is still changing.

While, to me, "Born to Run", is Bruce's best album, due to the perfection of eight amazing songs, Side Four will always be my favorite - make that, most critical - side of any of Bruce's album sides. Maybe more so than any album side from any other artist.

After Side Four, I was done. It's almost 2:00am and I have to tell the world that this was one of the most emotional, yet enduring, nights of my life. I have now heard it once - maybe the only time played - but, I do not think that I could sit through Side Four again. Once is enough. Once was almost too much.

Bruce was so in tune with this album tonight and the extraordinary E Street Band was so good. More so than ever. There were some references to Danny (although Charlie did not miss a note tonight) and I could not help but think of Terry (they broke the mold). It was a great night. An essential night. Played once.

Bruce, if you do see this note, please accept my thanks for doing these albums. They mean so much to us - especially in today's world. There are a lot of disciples out here that believe that The Promised Land is always just around the bend.

And, you know something, it always is...

Forever friends, Ralph from Jersey

Marcus wrote: We (my wife and me) flew in from Berlin, Germany, just to see that show. It was fantastic! It was my 11th concert and simply one of the best. To hear the whole River album was just a dream come true. So many songs I never heard before at a concert. The sound was so clear, I had goosebumps all over during Fade Away and especially Drive all night. It was also interesting to attend a Bruce show in the States and compare it to Europe: The fans are much more into it in Europe, thereĀ“s much more dancing and clapping in Europe. But at MSG the people all new the lyrics much better than in Europe. Also the fans in Europe are in average much younger which explains why there is more dancing and partying in Europe. All in all a fantastic experience that I will never ever forget. Hopefully we get a DVD from that show.

Tom Cantillon wrote: "Now with their hands held high they reached out for the open skies..."
THE RIVER--From start to finish!
Breathtaking. Riviting. Mindblowing. Unmatched.
From reckless rockers such as Cadillac Ranch,
Crush on You and Ramrod, to heartfelt songs about love, desperation, risks and death within such classics as Independence Day, Point Blank, Stolen Car, Price You Pay, Wreck on the Highway and the epic love poem, Drive all Night, this was a show unlike any other. Without a doubt, easily in my top 3 because the show was off the charts from start to finish.
There are a few artists whose music can reach deep into their listeners and make lifelong connections that in some instances, are even life-altering.
Bob Dylan, of course. The man's music is timeless, a reflection of humanity's soul, both divine and depraved. The Stones, with their British-blues tinged songs of love and lust played with a real bad-boy attitude.
And then there's Springsteen, with a catalog of songs that reach deep to our very core, asking questions about the life we live, the dreams we have, the places we travel, the love we share with the connections we all make thru our own personal journies.
This was the first album, The River, that spoke to me on many levels. I remember while attending art school and working late at night on various art projects, I'd put The River album on my turntable and play it nonstop, sometimes till dawn.
And there I sat, drawing and painting, creating images that were both directly and subconsciously effected by this collection of songs. I remember listenng to the River, it's lyrics filled with heartbreak over the realization of the death of one's own dream and nothing seemed more frightening. The dark poetic imagery in Stolen Car and Drive all Night inspired much of my own art and writing because they were so honest, so down to the bone real and powerful that one couldn't help but be moved.
And then of course there were moments in which to celebrate, to dance and rock all night because it simply felt like the right thing to do. Ramrod, You Can Look, I'm a Rocker and Crush on You are moments of joyous celebration embeded in the foundation of all good rock songs--thanks to Chuck Berry.
This collection of songs spoke to me in a way no other music ever had up to this point in my life. And when I saw my first Springsteen concert, December 8th 1980, the man, the performance, the music and the lyrics were a life-altering moment that I am forever grateful for. It was like attending a concert in which the souls of Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Elvis, the Beatles, Woody Guthrie and Dylan all came together for one unbelievable night of music.
As the River segment finished that night at MSG, Bruce was obviously on a high and delivered a powerhouse of songs with Atlantic City, followed by Badlands--right into Born to Run--which I was hoping for at least one night--and then into a rip-roaring 7 Nights. The energy level was astounding!
The magic continued with a reved-up Sweet Soul Music, manic No Surrender, a surprise I Can't Falling in Love and the hand-clapping sing-along of Jackie Wilson's Higher and Higher, which was the perfect way in which to end this show because Bruce and band had taken us all higher and higher that evening, all the way to the end and there was no place left to go. Except maybe out to the streets of New York to rock 'n' roll till the break of dawn.
Thanks Mr. Springsteen and E Street Band for finally delivering the entire River collection, something I've waited for a long time. Hopefully, this show will be released as a dvd or cd because for the fans who were not there, they definitely missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a monumental collection of songs played with all the energy, sincereity and passion that only New Jersey's true street poet could do.


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