Bruce Springsteen at The Verizon Center; Nov. 11, 2007

This marked the sixth time I’ve seen Bruce in concert (over a span of 25 years), but it was a special occasion. I was bringing my son B. (age 17) to his first Bruce show (also on the team was brother R, brother-in-law C, and a couple friends).

I consider this the fulfillment of a parental obligation. B. is seriously into hip-hop, and not to sound like a middle age white guy, but…I can’t stand the shit. Okay, there are a few hip-hop tunes here and there I can appreciate, but for the most part, it’s music devoid of harmony, melody, soul, morals, truth and beauty. I feel it’s important to expose B. to music that is honest, passionate and empathetic. Music like Bruce’s.

The show opened with “Radio Nowhere” from the new album, “Magic.” As is his wont, Bruce played a lot of songs from the new album. I wasn’t terribly familiar with the album going in, but there are a few songs in there I suspect will grow on me, especially “Radio Nowhere” and “Girls In Their Summer Clothes.”

The highlights of the night were powerful renditions of “No Surrender,” “She’s The One,” “Promised Land,” “The Rising,” and, of course, “Born To Run.”

Bruce kept the commentary to a minimum, getting political only when introducing “Living In The Future,” when he spoke about the erosion of civil liberties and assaults on the Constitution we’ve had to endure over the last six years. His songs “The Last To Die,” and “Long Walk Home” are such overt anti-war statements, they need no introduction or explanation. They make their points just fine all on their own, thank you.

Our “seats” were general admission on the floor, and we ended up about 100 feet away from the stage, slightly to the left, directly in line with the Big Man, Clarence Clemmons. In other words, great seats. When seeing a rock band, I much prefer standing in the middle of an enthusiastic crowd to sitting in a seat. It’s the difference between being a participant and a spectator.

The show closed with an uptempo, Irish-style, jig-like number, called (I think), “The American Way.” Because it’s a new song, Bruce had the lyrics scroll across the giant screens while he was singing. I’m not sure, but somewhere in there, I thought I caught a criticism of this country’s current immigration policies. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

After the band left the stage, and the arena was still dark, people held up their open cell phones, electronically recreating the classic concert effect of a sea of lighters. Kinda cool–in a cold, technological, non-organic sort of way.

As always, the show was a flawless celebration of energy. B. seemed to enjoy it, even though he didn’t know many of the songs. The band was tight and professional. It moved seamlessly from song to song with full confidence and determination. Bruce is a renowned perfectionist, and it shows. He also puts 100% of himself into every show, and this one was no different. He holds nothing back, and by the end of the night, he’s spent, you’re spent, and you ride the adrenaline and echoes in your head back to reality. He still puts on the best show in all of rock. Period.

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