Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Nigh Hopes Tour
Pittsburgh, Pa April 22, 2014
Reviewed by Michael Rampa
Bruce Springsteen’s “High Hopes” tour is really a two for one deal. With the addition of Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello, the E Street Band’s firepower has grown exponentially. Included in the ticket price is Springsteen’s trademark show spanning over three hours and three decades of material.
You can throw away the set list on any given night as he proved by opening with an unexpected cover of the Clash’s “Working For The Clampdown.” From then on, he tore through a 28 song set which thankfully contained its share of older material but was little short on classic deep cuts . Thankfully because the “High Hopes” album is an uneven collection of covers, updates and new songs far from the quintessential Bruce. Morello was otherworldly all night, whether soloing with his teeth on “High Hopes” or maintaining a four minute metal sustain on this tour’s perennial highlight, “Youngstown.”
His rap metal background nay lead one to believe that Morello was chosen to bridge the generation gap between the Boss’s wide fan base. But it felt like he had been a member of the newly inducted Hall of Famers since their inception.
Some numbers got the orchestral treatment from the 17-piece band. Early on, “Johnny 99” featured a trombone and fiddle. Jake Clemons channeled The Big Man all night long with soulful solos and an infectious stage presence. Refreshingly, Max Weinberg has transitioned from a simple timekeeper to a full-fledged drummer as he demonstrated later on an amped up “Born In The USA”
The night was peppered with audience participation as the Boss crowd surfed and took requests from signage, quipping, “We’ll get to that one” to “I don’t know that one.” At one point, he was handed a homemade balloon caricature and sang from behind it, stating, “We are in the presence of a balloon master.”
The dual encore featured a total of 11 songs to a house lit arena as patrons poured onto the floor and danced the show to its close.
A new generation of fans was ushered in over 25 years ago with 1985’s radio friendly classic, “Born In The USA.” On this night, he surely won over another . Even at 64, he proved his energy has no bounds as he appeared much more chipper than the General Admission floor patrons who stood for the duration.