Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena - 4/27/12

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena - 4/27/12
Andrew Youssef

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena 4/27/2012

One-two-three-four! No signs of fatigue at night two of Bruce Springsteen's run at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena; The Boss and the E Street Band turned in a three-hour, 25-song barnburner where everyone in the building knew all the words and loved every second of it.

The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, the red-headed stepchild of Southern California sporting and concert facilities, was at rare capacity again Friday night. People were still filing in at 8:40 p.m., an hour after the listed start-time, when Springsteen and the E Street Band started into "No Surrender" with the house lights still on and pretzel vendors in the aisles.

All that didn't matter because Bruce was on.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena - 4/27/12
Andrew Youssef

Bruce Springsteen is the most believable rock 'n' roll megastar alive. He makes you feel like a working-class hero even if you parked your BMW for $40 and then walked through serious urban blight in South Central Los Angeles to get to the show -- just a few minutes ago. He exudes that kind of authenticity. It's so magnetic that suddenly you're him, singing about shuttered factory towns, probably in Ohio, which is the gist of his most recent (17th) album, Wrecking Ball, songs from which he played early on in the set.

Tom Morello was on stage again tonight for "Death to My Hometown," "Jack of All Trades," and "Ghost of Tom Joad," which featured Morello trading verses and guitar solos with The Boss, who more than held his own against the virtuoso guitarist of Rage Against the Machine. The guitar moment of the evening may have to go to Nils Lofgren for his scorcher on "Jack of All Trades" "Youngstown."

Any pyrotechnics were strictly of the musical variety, along with Bruce's trademark classic rock 'n' roll stage moves -- an epic 30-foot crotch-slide, a full-on backbend, and best of all, he surfed the crowd from half court back to the stage. Not too shabby for a 63-year-old; his body and his voice showed no signs of fatigue. To start his encore, he featured the acoustic ballad "Rocky Ground," with his voice as pure as when the set opened 180 minutes before.

Throughout, the enthusiasm never waned, on stage and in the seats. Even songs played thousands of times over three decades ("Born To Run," "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," "Dancing In The Dark") shook the girders. But more impressively, fans knew the the lyrics and the right time to fist-pump (it's a Jersey thing) during the new songs. There was an emotional salute to recently passed saxophonist Clarence Clemons, and Bruce tricked his longtime guitar tech to come on stage so he could congratulate him on his 1,000th concert.

 

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena - 4/27/12
Andrew Youssef

There was some political talk. Normally, patience for rock stars waxing political wears out after 0.4 seconds, but Bruce being Bruce, he can take three minutes worth of shots at the 1 percent and that's fine, if only because he acknowledges himself to be part of it. Because Bruce keeps it that real.

And that's the best part about seeing Springsteen. You can tell The Boss isn't an asshole boss. He loves the people on stage, loves the people in the seats. The people in the sets love fist-pumping and they love Bruce, and he loves that. Sure, the house sound wasn't that good, that the show started late because people couldn't get through the gates fast enough, and that the cheap seats cost $100.

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All that didn't matter because Bruce was on.

Critical Bias: Only familiar with the Greatest Hits, first time seeing Bruce live.

The Crowd: White.

Overheard in the crowd: "I am not buying you cotton candy!" Mom to 11-year-old daughter.

Random Notebook Dump: Chicken nachos ... literally.

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Los Angeles Sports Arena

3939 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90037

213-748-6136

www.lacoliseumlive.com


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