Bruce Springsteen Carousel concert review Asbury Park
Just back from the Carousel. Some quick thoughts before I go to sleep.
It was one of the greatest Bruce experiences I’ve ever had. Unique. A great party mood. It was basically a movie set. The band was set up in the middle of the Carousel, with wires and cords and tracks and lighting and cameras all around. There were about 60 of us let in; when we got in, there were already around 20 people (not counting crew) inside. Seems like they were mostly family and friends, including Bruce’s Mom (at one point Bruce pointed to where they were and joked that his relatives would be signing autographs later.) Danny Clinch was photographing. Jon Landau was there.
We were placed in 3 or 4 groups behind Max/the horns/Roy, and in front of Bruce/Steve/Clarence. Occasionally we were moved around, changed front-to-back, etc. Basically, each of us spent half the show behind the band, and half in front. They started at 4:35, ended at 7:45. 20 minute or so break in the middle.
There was a 5 piece horn section, including Ed Manion and Curt Rahm. No Nils, Patti, or Soozie. David Lindley played violin.
1. Racing In the Street (1978)
2. Gotta Get That Feeling
3. Outside Looking In
4. Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)
5. One Way Street
6. Save My Love
7. The Brokenhearted
8. Ain’t Good Enough for You
9. Talk To Me
10. The Promise
11. Blue Christmas
(Some songs might be out of order.) Every song was played through twice; IMO the second performance was always better. For some songs they re-did portions of the song after the second run-through.
Most exciting aspect — for 4 songs (Save My Love, Ain’t Good Enough For You, Talk to Me, Blue Christmas) Bruce brought the audience, all of us, right up to the band (front and back), and sometimes inside the band — literally amongst the players. At one point, during Ain’t Good Enough For You — a real party song — Bruce was on Roy’s piano, and a bunch of us were right in front of them. I was at the back of that group. Immediately behind me, a few inches behind me, Steve and Garry shared Steve’s mic singing. Bruce came off the piano, through the “crowd”, and joined them, and we all turned around — putting me basically just about with Bruce, Steve, and Garry. If I had leaned forward a few inches, I coulda been singing with them.
Bruce a few times referred to the audience as “the 59 of you”, and at one point said we were such a good audience that all future ESB shows would have audiences of 59 people, and then he told us that this audience of 59 would be the audience at future ESB shows.
The Brokenhearted was a revelation. It is (well, was) my least favorite song on The Promise. In concert it turned into a Memphis blues number. After the first take, Steve came over to the horns and, clearly not satisfied with how they performed it, gave them instructions. The second take was significantly better, and I watched Steve watching them with satisfaction. After the second take, Bruce and Steve came over and gave them more instructions, and they did a few more takes (I think of just the latter part of the song, but I’m not sure) and the ending, featuring the horns, was even more improved. I loved the song.
To me, Talk To Me was the power song of the night.
Bruce explained that Come On (Let’s Go Tonight) was largely about Elvis Presley’s death.
Blue Christmas was a rocking rendition. They handed out Santa hats for all of us for the song.
Opportunities at the end for handshaking, etc. (I got a Bruce hug.)
No cameras or cell phones. What a pleasure — should be a rule at all concerts!