Jam Productions Presents: Bruce Springsteen at Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL (September 7th 2012)
Writer: Shawn Kellner
Photos By: Shawn Kellner and Kevin “Kevo” Stanton
5/5 stars

Tonight, September 7th, 2012, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen backed by the E Street Band began their first-time-ever, two night stand at historic Wrigley Field. He made sure it would 100% be a night for all in attendance to remember. At 63 years old, Bruce Springsteen has more energy and performs with more charisma than 99% of the artists that perform live today. Backed by some of the top musicians in the business including Max Weinberg on drums and Steven Van Zandt on guitar and backing vocals, they are known for putting on an amazing show that takes over an entire night.

Keep in mind, he does not use in ear monitors and he sees no need for a teleprompter. In fact, during tonight’s three-and-a-half-hours show he only stayed still when he had to be glued to the microphone while playing guitar. The rest of the night he moved over the entire stage, up and down platforms, and even into the crowd several times. He stopped to read signs on poster boards that fans had made, interacting with the crowd, bringing people onto the stage, even letting a young girl sing the chorus of her favorite song on stage, and dancing with a man’s wife at his request.

Just under an hour after the doors opened at Wrigley Field under an overcast sky, Springsteen and his band came out from under the bleachers and began Night 1. The twenty-three-song set began at 8:23pm with “Prove It All Night (78 Intro)”. It started out with a piano solo and Bruce quickly added his guitar licks to the mix which somehow matched the cheers of the sold out crowd, who were eager for the show to begin. The intro gained momentum through the interplay between the guitar and piano and came to a dynamic climax in unison with the crowd of adoring fans. It took about the first 2 minutes for the engineer at the front of the house to get a proper mix, but the crowd didn’t seem to notice or mind. They were too interested in the vocal and guitar interplay that began between Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt. Max Weinberg chimed in with a drum solo during “My Love Will Not Let You Down” to the roar of the crowd. Next came “Out In The Street,” “Hungry Heart,” “We Take Care Of Our Own” and the first crowd favorite of the night “Wrecking Ball,” which is the title track for the entire tour. By this time in the set the band was in their prime. It was time to bring out the nights first special guest. The lights went down and the band reset with Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine joining them for “Death To My Hometown.” Tom Morello has joined Bruce and the E Street Band several times on the tour so far this year, and it was great to see him again in Chicago.

Next came “My City of Ruins,” “Sprit In The Night,” and “Trapped.” Morello then joined the band again for “Jack Of All Trades.” What came next many had speculated about; however, I don’t believe anyone knew it was actually going to happen. The band began “Atlantic City” and shortly into the song, Bruce announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. Eddie Vedder.” This sparked an enormous cheer from the crowd. Pearl Jam’s Vedder (a Chicagoan) was in attendance on Monday in Philadelphia, but did not join the band that night. Instead, he waited to be in front of a sold out crowd in his hometown inside the stadium that houses his beloved Chicago Cubs. He played guitar and contributed back-and-forth lead vocals with Bruce during “Atlantic City.”

Next came “Lonesome Day,” “I’m Goin’ Down,” “Darlington County,” and “Shackled and Drawn.”

The next song was “Waiting On A Sunny Day.” This was indeed one of the many highlights of the night. At one point Bruce went over to the edge of the crowd and saw that a young girl had a sign with the name of the song on it. He then decided to pull her up on stage, show the entire stadium the sign, and let her sing an entire chorus of the song. She did a great job and received an enormous reaction from the crowd.

Next was the tour debut of “None But The Brave.” The song built slowly and really showcased Bruce’s vocal talent as it progressed.

Tom Morello returned and joined the band again on “Ghost of Tom Joad.”  He performed a guitar solo that literally lifted the capacity crowd to their feet and there is no doubt in my mind the level of the cheers from the crowd woke up anyone sleeping in the surrounding apartments in Wrigleyville.

The final two songs of the set were “Badlands” and “Land of Hope and Dreams.”

The band left the stage and cheers of “Bruuuuuce!!!” rang throughout Wrigley Field. Leave it to Springsteen to turn a year full of boo’s inside Wrigley Field into a capacity crowd of “Bruuuuce” cheers in just under 4 hours.

Bruce and The E Street Band returned to the stage for the 7 song encore which included most of their better known songs and the hits, including: “We Are Alive,” “Thunder Road,” “Born to Run,” “Dancing in the Dark” (ironically performed under the lights of Wrigley Field” which turned on at 11pm sharp), “Jungleland” (A request put in by a young fan in the front row of the pit with a glitter filled sign that Bruce picked out of the crowd and put on top of his guitar amp).  Tom Morello and Eddie Vedder joined the band together one additional time for “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.” The song paused near its end for a moving video tribute to the late Clarence Clemons who passed away last summer. Clemons’ nephew has since joined the band and filled in on saxophone.

The final song of the night was an extended version of “Twist and Shout,” which got every single person in the stadium on their feet dancing.  At most concerts, fans rush out of the stadium during the last song to beat the crowd or the traffic. In tonight’s case it seemed as if not a single person left the stadium until the final note was struck and Springsteen and the band had left the stage.

After three hours and thirty-eight minutes it felt like the night was never going to end.  Bruce Springsteen defines the art of giving fans their moneys worth of the ticket price and putting on a show that is memorable.  The themes behind the songs are as relevant as ever. Springsteen is a great example of what it means to stand behind ordinary people and let them know they are not alone.

I highly recommend you find a way to attend Night 2 of one of the most amazing live concerts I have ever attended with one of the best performers (and one of the best backing bands) I have ever had the pleasure of covering - “The Boss” himself. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band.

Hand Written Set List From Tonight’s Show

Who: Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
When:September 7th 2012

Doors 7:30pm
Band Takes Stage 8:20pm
Show Begins 8:23pm

1. Prove It All Night (78 Intro)
2. My Love Will Not Let You Down
3. Out in the Street
4. Hungry Heart
5. We Take Care of Our Own
6. Wrecking Ball
7. Death to My Hometown (With Tom Morello)
8. My City of Ruins
9. Spirit In The Night
10. Trapped
11. Jack of All Trades (With Tom Morello)
12. Atlantic City (With Eddie Vedder)
13. Lonesome Day
14. I’m Goin’ Down
15. Darlington County
16. Shackled and Drawn
17. Waiting on a Sunny Day
18. None But the Brave (tour premiere)
19. Ghost of Tom Joad (With Tom Morello)
20. Badlands
21. Land of Hope and Dreams

22. We Are Alive
23. Thunder Road
24. Born to Run
25. Dancing in the Dark
26. Jungleland (Fan request from a glitter filled sign pulled from the crowd)
27. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out (with Eddie Vedder and Tom Morello).
28. Twist and Shout

Show over at: 11:50 p.m.