Concert Review: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band


What makes a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band show different is his connection with the crowd. It is the stories – stories he uses music as the vehicle to tell as if it was only you and him in the room. It is his energy (his shows usually run well over 3 hours) and it is passion he brings to the stage that make most rock fans agree their shows are among the best.

Their recent Florida stop at the BB&T Center in Sunrise allowed Springsteen to showcase his storytelling ability in a different form by performing his 20-song album The River in full, and in the order he originally arranged the songs.

Leading off with a b-side from the album, the lively “Meet Me In The City”, the first two hours were dedicated to performing the The River. While very much a rock concert, he snuck in brief anecdotes about the songs to better help transport the crowd back to his head-space when he wrote them. Just enough insight to make you go “oh, interesting” without turning the show into an episode of VH1 Storytellers.

Springsteen and the E Street Band did a fantastic job bringing The River to life even when the track listing is a bit of a roller coaster in terms of energy. Just when the band was hitting their stride early on and the energy was reaching levels only seen at Springsteen shows the next song up was “Independence Day”. It by itself, along with most of The River material, are great songs but being bound by playing the album in order made for some high energy moments to die extremely quick. But this is Springsteen, whether it be crowd-surfing, running through the crowd or jumping on speakers on back of stage to play to those in the cheap-seats, he always found a way to re-energize the crowd when the moment came. And yes, you read that right – at age 66 he still crowd surfs.


Following The River performance, “Badlands” opened a 12-song run of non-River material (and mostly hits) to close out the show. “Because The Night” was a highlight with guitarist Nils Lofgren showing off his guitar skills in a extended energetic solo that reminded everyone the E Street Band are much more than simply backing musicians. As always for “Born to Run” house lights came on and remained on for rest of encore which included the always-fun “Rosalita” which saw most of the band goofing off and trading vocals with Bruce on the catwalk in front of the stage.

Even for fans who may not consider The River their favorite Springsteen album, the run of hits and Springsteen’s passion and energy of performing them, was worth admission on their own. And while rearranging the set may have led to a better paced show – seeing one of the greatest storytellers tell the story he wrote in order he arranged it on the record saved any moments of doubt.



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