An Evening with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Nationals Park

Bruce Springsteen performs in front of a sold out crowd at Nationals Park last Friday (Photo Courtesy of Jo Lopez/brucespringsteen.net)
Bruce Springsteen performs in front of a sold out crowd at Nationals Park last Friday (Photo Courtesy of Jo Lopez/brucespringsteen.net)

Witnessing Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live is a religious experience. Like a preacher spreading the good news from the pulpit, Springsteen commands your attention from beginning to end with a passion and presence unaccustomed for a 62-year old rocker. With gospel and rock melodies coupled with the powerful lyrics of his songs, Springsteen intends to enlighten and console even the most down-trodden follower. The congregation, young and old, feed off this empowering energy, with arms held high and voices to the heavens.

Friday night at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. was no different.

Opening to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", Springsteen referenced the successful season that the Washington Nationals have had while welcoming his guests to the performance. The concert, which lasted over three and a half hours, was filled with a variety of old favorites and new songs from his most recent album, "Wrecking Ball.".

The over-arching theme of the show focused on ghosts. The ghosts of your past---people, places and moments in life that are no longer present and a personal tribute to those lost. For Springsteen this dedication namely was to the late E Street saxophonist Clarence Clemons who passed away in June 2011.

"I don't need to know how to balance the budget, all I want to know is--- can you feel the spirit?" roared Springsteen, engaging his audience to lead into a soulful rendition of "Spirit in the Night." The song, "Blinded by the Light" made its tour premiere and just days after the 11-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the band played "The Rising," a tribute to the country’s unity and rebuilding after that horrific day.

After hours on stage, Springsteen and the band took a bow and the stage went dark. Newcomers began to head out of their seats to beat the traffic. Longtime followers knew that this was not the end but nearly the beginning of another hour of music. Just then, the stage lit up and the band flowed back into position, with Springsteen as the ringleader for an encore performance.

Featuring classics such as "Born to Run," "Dancing in the Dark," "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," and an Isley Brothers cover of "Twist and Shout," the encore saw the congregation of thousands dancing the night away, leaving all enlivened. 

At his age, the question of how much longer Springsteen can perform at this magnitude and frequency is always asked. But, the love for music and performing that Springsteen has puts no age limit on his musical career. It wouldn't surprise most fans if Springsteen were to go another five to ten years touring the globe---selling out stadiums and arenas, turning thousands into believers.

After seeing Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band in concert, all other concerts you see pale in comparison. The length of the show and the level of passion that he displays are well worth the price of admission. Springsteen sends his followers home satisfied---heart, mind and soul rejuvenated.

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