Thursday, August 20, 2009

Buchholz Outduels "The Doc"...BRUCE Lights Up A Hot Hartford Night

It was a doubly good Wednesday night for Red Sox fans and Bruce Springsteen lovers in New England and here in Hartford. First, the game.

Clay Buchholz was solid once again for the Boston Red Sox as he and his teammates beat the at home Jays by a score of 6-1. It was another tremendous start for the up-and-coming Buchholz, who lately always seems to have to go up against an opposing team's best pitcher. He said this about that after his successful six inning outing...

“It’s always fun going up against the other team’s best pitcher. If you want to succeed in this game for a long time, you’ve got to succeed against the guys that are the best in the game, and he’s definitely in that category.’ I felt really good the last three times out,’’ Buchholz said. I went up against a guy that’s in the running for the Cy Young award. It’s hard to go out there and expect a lot of run support, so you want to keep the runs to a minimum. It’s been a whole lot better for me this year being back up (in the majors) as far as getting outs in key situations and making some good pitches and minimizing damage.’’

Clay did both last night. The Boston 'pen put up goose eggs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Boston goes for the road sweep tonight before returning to Fenway for a three game set with the NY Yankees. It'll be Lester facing Richmond. Enjoy the game and GO SOX.

Now, here's the latest on the Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band concert last night in Hartford, a place he and the band love to play. We love to have them, too. My thanks to the Hartford Courant for this fine review...

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"Overheard in Hartford Wednesday afternoon: "Has Bruce Springsteen worn out his welcome?"

No, he has not. It's a fair question, given that he's now played here four times since October 2007, including a performance Wednesday night at Comcast Theatre that clocked in at darn close to 3 hours. But he wouldn't keep coming back if there weren't interest, and there was plenty of that this time around, even on one of the hottest days of the summer.
The sweltering weather made for a sweaty show on stage and in the crowd, but there was something special about the vibe that created: a sort of superheated rock 'n' roll delirium as Springsteen dug deep into his catalog for concert rarities and sat them next to some of his biggest and best songs.
"Do you feel the spirit?" he shouted early on, and the answer was yes. Well, either that or it was dehydration. Nah, let's go with spirit. Bruce sure felt it on the inky hot rock 'n' soul number "Spirit in the Night," drummer Max Weinberg swinging the song as Springsteen made forays into the crowd, clasping people's forearms and accepting a proffered beer, which he tossed back with a few quick gulps.
He dove into working class anthems, sounding defiant on "Out in the Street" and trapped on "Johnny 99," guitarist Nils Lofgren adding fiery lap steel as Springsteen wet him down with a sponge from a bucket near the drums.
The rarities included the cynical "Murder Incorporated" and "Be True," an outtake from sessions for his 1980 album "The River." It was one of the more reflective moments, along with the restless yearning of "My Love Will Not Let You Down" and "American Skin (41 Shots)," one of Springsteen's most pointed social commentaries.
There were moments of levity, too: Springsteen collected song requests on signs from people in the audience, and the band arranged a few of them on the spot, including joyous versions of Johnny Rivers' "Mountain of Love" and the Manfred Mann hit "Sha La La."
He pulled back from the deep cuts toward the end of the show with an impressive run to end his main set. "Lonesome Day" led to "The Rising," and then the lights came on for "Born to Run," the audience singing at top volume in a wringing catharsis.
Next came the buoyant "Rosalita," building to waves of saxophone from Clarence Clemons, followed by a deeply soulful version of "Thunder Road." It was a little less urgent and a little more wistful, and Clemons' iconic solo at the end shone out like a beacon for true believers.
Springsteen and the band had already played 24 songs by that point, but he seemed loath to stop. He pushed onward with another four songs in the encore: the folk songs "Hard Times Come Again No More" and "American Land," followed by "Dancing in the Dark" and, finally, a medley of "Twist and Shout" and "La Bamba."

Set list
1. Sherry Darling
2. Badlands
3. Out in the Street
4. Outlaw Pete
5. Spirit in the Night
6. Working on a Dream
7. Seeds
8. Johnny 99
9. Murder Incorporated
10. Something in the Night
11. Raise Your Hand
12. Mountain of Love
13. Sha La La
14. I'm on Fire
15. Be True
16. My Love Will Not Let You Down
17. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
18. The Promised Land
19. American Skin (41 Shots)
20. Lonesome Day
21. The Rising
22. Born to Run
23. Rosalita
24. Thunder Road
Encore
25. Hard Times Come Again No More
26. American Land
27. Dancing in the Dark
28. Twist and Shout/La Bamba
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All I can say as a Bruce fan for coming up on 37 years (gulp!) is WOW. No words can describe last night any better. I hope your Thursday will be a good one as I try to find my voice...somewhere, somehow. Click on this post's title for more Sox stuff SI style and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are always welcome and always devoured with glee. Thanks.

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