Friday, February 29, 2008

Red Sox Double Drubbing And A MAGIC Night In Hartford

24-0 and 15-0. That says it all. The Boston Red Sox whitewashed the college competition in convincing fashion, with Josh Beckett and Justin Masterson, the two starters, looking good. Josh said that his best curveballs were thrown in the bullpen after his two inning stint, but he was satisfied. Much the same for Masterson, who has an outside chance, albeit a long one, to make the club at some point this year. Tonight's game will be TELECAST on NESN at 7PM!

But now I must turn to last night, a truly MAGIC night in my city of Hartford. Downtown restaurants were packed (I made my reservations three months ago!), the streets echoed and amplified the sweet sounds of Bruce Springsteen music blaring from every bar in town and 17,000 joyous people of all ages were treated to an unbelievable night of American rock and roll, Bruce Springsteen rock and roll. And it doesn't get any better. No way, no how. Here is the Hartford Courant's Eric Denton's full review. Have a great Friday as I look for my voice, which I somehow left somewhere amongst and between the backstreets of the city, which was, at least for a night, a city of hope, a city of light, a place where dreams come true. And I am all the richer for having been there.
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"Before the lights came up, before the storm let loose, Bruce Springsteen stood alone at center stage, a shadow in the dark.
With his back to the audience filling the XL Center to capacity Thursday night, Springsteen seemed to savor that one last moment of anticipation, adulation rippling through the crowd to wash over him, arms raised as if he were conducting the warbling, off-key version of “The Man on the Flying Trapeze” pouring from the calliope spotlighted at the back of the stage.
Then the music started, the lights came up on “So Young and in Love” and he was the Boss once more, swinging around his microphone stand like it was a lamp post on a warm summer’s night.
It was the first show on the second leg of Springsteen’s “Magic” tour, and there was a different kind of intensity to his performance than the barn-burner of a concert he gave in Hartford last October to kick off the first leg of the tour.
Many of the songs he chose this time had a more somber edge, though there were certainly moments of pure rock ’n’ roll abandon. “The Promised Land” was one of them, and Springsteen sang about wanting just one chance to transcend grim reality in pursuit of a dream. Or “She’s the One,” the crowd joining in on the joyful refrain as Clarence Clemons’ saxophone rang off the back wall of the arena.
Much of his 23-song set, though, was about what happens when reality overtakes dreams. Springsteen sounded a note of walled-off desperation on “The River,” and tried to make sense of crumbling love on “Loose Ends.” He reprised the chilling, bone-weary political allegory “Magic,” with Soozie Tyrell adding mournful violin and harmony vocals, and murmured about a power both seductive and dark on “Devil’s Arcade.”
Through it all, though, he poured all of himself into his songs, and he gave the E Street Band plenty of room to shine, too. Clemons played huge sax licks on “Radio Nowhere,” guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt played a lean, dirty blues riff on “Reason to Believe” and shared Springsteen's microphone throughout, and guitarist Nils Lofgren traded verses with Springsteen on “Janey Don’t Lose Heart.”
Springsteen’s wife, Patti Scialfa, was absent while she attended to a different sort of gig. “We have three teenagers at home, so we live in constant fear of the house burning down,” he said by way of explanation. “It must be watched.”
After the anguished anti-war song “Last to Die” and an audience sing-along on “Long Walk Home,” Springsteen ratcheted up the energy level once more, ending the main set with a version of “Badlands” that seethed through the verses and exploded into the chorus.
No Springsteen encore would be complete without “Born to Run” — complete with house lights on and crowd singing at top volume — but he dug deeper into his catalog, too, for “Kitty’s Back.” He also played “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” and “Backstreets” before ending with “American Land.”

Set list
1. So Young and in Love
2. Radio Nowhere
3. Lonesome Day
4. Gypsy Biker
5. Magic
6. Reason to Believe
7. Loose Ends
8. She's the One
9. Livin' in the Future
10. The Promised Land
11. Waiting on a Sunny Day
12. Janey Don't Lose Heart
13. The River
14. Devil's Arcade
15. The Rising
16. Last to Die
17. Long Walk Home
18. Badlands

Encore
19. Girls in Their Summer Clothes
20. Backstreets
21. Kitty's Back
22. Born to Run
23. American Land
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Peter here on this bitter cold two degree Friday morning, but my heart is still warm with the memory of a fleeting three hour escape to the magic world of rock and roll. My thanks to Bruce Springsteen & his E Street Band for a night that I will never forget. As always, my Constant Readers, BE WELL, and you know what? I wish I could do it all over again. Tonight.

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