Over 8 months in the making, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band finally made its way through the Western New York area this past Thursday night. Tickets for this show went in July of 2022. Better known as “The Boss,” this was Springsteen’s 18th time playing Buffalo (which includes him as a solo artist and with The E Street Band). Besides the E Street Band, they were accompanied by 4 piece horn section and 4 backup vocalists. It should be noted that E Street Band member and Springsteen’s wife Patti Scialfa was missing. There was no reason was given for Scalfia’s absence. With all the musicians on stage, this made the biggest ensemble that the boss has ever toured with.
At 7:45pm, each member of The E Street band took the stage one by one. Lastly, Springsteen joined them and led the band into “No Surrender.” This staple came off of Springsteen’s most successful commercial album in “Born in the USA.” Up next was a cut called “Ghosts” from his latest record “Letter to You.” This was Springsteen and the E Street Band’s latest album, which came out in 2020. For this track, Springsteen with guitarist Nils Lofgren made their way out to the extended stage. It was the first of many trips Springsteen would make out there. For “Kitty’s Back,” this tune seemed like a good mix of jazz, blues and rock and roll rolled all into one. Springsteen held a note on the guitar for about 15 seconds during the track. Each of the horn section had a small spotlight as well. During the Commodores classic “Nightshift,” Springsteen made his way to the end of the extended stage and shook hands with the crowd. A touching moment of the show was when Springsteen talked about his first band The Castiles. “A few years ago, one of my best friends who started that band George Theiss passed away. I’m the sole survivor of that band Springsteen remarked.” He dedicated “Last Man Standing” in his honor. Usually the setlist stays the same minus one of two sings. For the show in Buffalo, we got the rarity “I’m on Fire” slotted in. It’s only the 3rd time it was played on the tour. Their was humor tossed in as one of the back up vocalists started to play a continuous cowbell during “Johnny 99.” Springsteen quipped, “I know what your thinking. We need more ….” and the audience would scream cowbell. This went on a few times. He even brought out the entire horn section to the extend stage to end the song. Springsteen dusted off the harmonica for “She’s the One.”
The band didn’t leave the stage for the encores and the lights were turned on for the entirety of them. A slew of hits followed including the crowd favorites “Thunder Road,” “Glory Days” and “Dancing in the Dark.” During the song “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” Springsteen made his way around a small platform that outlined the general admission and floor seating. He closed the set with another homage to his friend Thesis with his harmonica and acoustic guitar for an sentimental and emotional version of “I’ll See You in My Dreams.”
Nothing from Springsteen’s catalog from the period of the 1990’s made it into the setlist. Out of the 27 songs, 4 tracks off of “Letter to You’ were played. Despite this omittances, I felt the setlist really encapsulated what a Springsteen show should be. That was a mix of his hits, songs that traditionalists come to know and love with a few sprinkled covers to keep it fresh. Their wasn’t anything on the setlist form the 90’s.
You can call this show a Rock revival show. In recent interviews, guitarist Steven Van Zandt has said these shows are the strongest reactions from any shows the band has received in America. He stated the fans have taken that reaction and connection to the band to another level. Those words are well said because you could feel that connection throughout the entire 3 hour set. Also, I should mention that during part of the set, Van Zandt played a purple and yellow Rickenbacker guitar. It was nice gesture for the support to the people in Ukraine.
I know a big topic of conversations has been the costs of the tickets. We can go on and on about the cost of the tickets. This was my first time attending a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band show. After watching this show, I can honestly say I believe at the end of the day, the music wins. Springsteen and the band delivered and I have a whole new appreciation for the Boss and the E Street Band!
Prove It All Night
Letter to You
Out in the Street
Nightshift (Commodores cover)
Trapped (Jimmy Cliff cover)
I’m on Fire
The E Street Shuffle
Last Man Standing (acoustic)
Because the Night (Patti Smith cover)
She’s the One
Born to Run
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
I’ll See You in my Dreams (acoustic)
We would like to thank Erica Goldish from Shorefire Media for the photo credential.