2002-12-13 Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY
Ralph After getting shut out in Boston, my old high school buddy and I drove up to Albany to catch the Boss in concert there. I was really sorry I didn't him in Boston (I couldn't even scalp them with $250 in my pocket!), figuring that the quality of show that he'd do in a smaller city like Albany wouldn't match that which he'd do in Boston. Boy was I happy I went to NY! Not only did I get to see him sing "Santa Claus" (which I narrowly missed out on way back in 1981), but when he ripped into "Around and Around" it capped a great night. It's wonderful to see a seasoned artist like Bruce pull some old song out of the hat, especially when it seemed the band was as surprised as everyone else (at one point, Bruce shouted out that the band was "winging it", and later shouted out to the band "E!" when it became apparent that not everyone was playing in the same chord. Faith was rewarded. Long live Bruce and the E Street Band!!
Ben Corrado In my review of the show at MSG on 8/12, I had commented what a difference five days had made in between opening night at the Meadowlands and the MSG show. Well, if five days could make a difference, imagine what four months could do. Last night s show in Albany ranks in my top five of performances I have seen. There were so many highlights; I hope I don t leave anything out.
After what seemed like a bit of a sluggish start with The Rising and Lonesome Day, the band nailed The Ties That Bind, which features one of Clarence s best solos. My Love Will Not Let You Down followed, which is great for the way that Bruce will first jam with Steve, then Nils, and then all three will finish the song with screaming guitars. This then brought us to Night, which I hadn't seen performed since Hartford in 1980, when he opened the show with it at my first concert of his. The crowd really got into this song, and the place was energized. You could tell early on that Bruce was feeling pretty loose and that we were going to be in for a great show. After the always emotional Empty Sky and You re Missing, he throws us a curveball. Fully expecting to hear Waiting On A Sunny Day, I was surprised to see him grab the electric instead of acoustic guitar. What followed was one of the better versions of Darkness On The Edge of Town I've ever heard. Maybe due to the two songs that preceded it, but I don t think he s ever sang it with so much raw emotion and anguish in it. Whether it was part of his thought process or not, it was ironic to follow up Darkness with Sunny Day. He always seems to have a lot of fun with this song. At one point, he was holding the mic out to several kids at the end of the stage by Patti. Not sure whether they were his kids, or maybe his sister s. If you didn't think he was loose yet, the twenty foot knee slide he did after running the full length of the stage would have confirmed it for you there. The crowd went nuts for that.
For me, She s The One was the highlight of the night. This was another song that for me was a rarity to see live. I m not sure if he has done this at previous shows on this tour, but at the end he started wailing on the harmonica and got into a duel with Clarence on sax which reminded me of when he and Steve would trade off guitar licks at the end of Saint In The City. The crowd just exploded at the end of this. Another new twist that he has added is the acoustic solo for Nils leading into Counting On a Miracle. It accomplishes two things. It gives everyone a chance to catch their breath after Mary s Place and gives Nils a little showcase for his talents.
George This was my fifth Springsteen show and had high expectations for my first Rising show. Throughout the tour I found the setlists interesting but felt that it lacked a certain punch of the reunion shows. Bruce and the Band's first five song (rising, lonesome, ties, my love will not let you down, and night) was probably the best Springsteen moment I have ever had and it was great. It gave me a certain respect that for this tour and now I believe it is debatable which tour is better.
I heard a great deal about Patti's improvement on this tour but I simply do not buy it after hearing her solos. Her "contributions" were dastardly. She destroyed Empty Sky and Into the Fire with her solos. I had head that she added a great deal to empty sky but was disappointed greatly. I also heard that the crowd cheers the line "I want an eye for an eye" but was surprised that it was so loud. Bruce was clearly annoyed and next time around added a yeah to fill the gap. Your Missing was beautiful and Darkness in that spot is perfect in every possible way. Best version I have ever heard.
Bruce nailed Waiting on a Sunny Day and No Surrender. I was looking forward to Worlds Apart but it simply failed to be as good as the album version (same with Counting).
Badlands, She's the One, where awesome and The dual at the end between the sax and harmonica wasn't much of a dual. Couldn't really hear the harmonica as much as I would have liked but it was till pretty cool.
I thought Mary's Place would disappoint live. the "turn it up" line is crucial and a culmination of that first half of the show and it is awesome. having heard 10th avenue so many times in this spot and was anxious for something new and it did not disappoint, This hard land into the fire and counting were all kinda weak even though they were nice to hear. Nil's solo was cool. Dancing was awesome, Ramrod was a crowd pleaser even though I couldn't get into it. Born to Run was great as always.
MCOR was awesome and beautiful and really perfect. Born in the USA kind of blew but LOHAD of hope and dreams was a highlight for me. Santa was a good time and around and around was awesome because I thought for sure Santa would be it.
Overall the second best show I have been too and from the rising to Mary's Place it was a perfect set.
Ashley Ward I travelled from the UK for this one and even my lack of geographical knowledge that Albany was still quite a distance from NYC was worth it. I am not sure how much of the enjoyment was derived from being so far from home with Bruce in his own country and how much was down to the quality of the show. It was excellent. On this tour I had previously seen him at Wembley and the following Summer I would see him 3 times on almost consecutive nights outdoors in the UK but personally nothing matched this one. I agree totally with the other reviews and would only add that Santa Claus was a delight to behold - complete with festive named hats. Christmas, Bruce, the Band and New York come on… it can't get better than that!
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