Springsteen in Rochester

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Last night my wife and I went up to the Bruce Springsteen concert at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester. The concert was sold out, as are most of the others that I know of that are taking place soon. (The full tour list is on the official Springsteen web site.) The Arena is not huge since it is primarily used for the Rochester Americans, a “minor league” hockey team. Nevertheless, we were two of about 11,500 people present.

Springsteen in Rochester, NY, on March 6, 2008
Photo by Kris J. Murante, staff photographer of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Since the 70s and 80s when he consistently went to the top of the charts, Springsteen has branched out from his work with the E Street Band into solo acoustic work and the Seeger Sesssions album. This tour is in support of the Magic album, and the full E Street Band was present save for Danny Federici who is battling melanoma, and Bruce’s wife and fellow E Street Band member Patti Scialfa, who was home with their three teenagers.

The set list was

  1. Night
  2. Radio Nowhere
  3. Lonesome Day
  4. Jackson Cage
  5. Gypsy Biker
  6. Magic
  7. Reason To Believe
  8. Because The Night
  9. Loose Ends
  10. She’s The One
  11. Livin’ In The Future
  12. The Promised Land
  13. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
  14. Racing In The Street
  15. Devil’s Arcade
  16. The Rising
  17. Last To Die
  18. Long Walk Home
  19. Badlands
  20. encore

  21. Girls In Their Summer Clothes
  22. Rosalita
  23. Born To Run
  24. American Land

Most if not all of the Magic album was covered and the flow between songs was smooth, especially between “Livin’ in the Future” and “The Promised Land”. To be clear, Springsteen is opposed to the war in Iraq and the politics in the US over the last 7 years, and that came through loud and clear in his songs and his dialog. Few of the audience seemed to disagree.

Springsteen and the band were in great form and I had a fantastic time. There’s just something about singing along live with Springsteen and eleven thousand other people to “Born to Run.” While focusing on his new work, Bruce covered enough of his older material to fully engage the audience for nearly two and one-half hours.

I’m not great at writing these reviews because I more want to document my experience than be a critic. So here are some adjectives and phrases to describe what I saw and how I felt last night:

  • Where do we park?
  • Are all these people going to the concert?
  • Glad we didn’t expect to eat at The Dinosaur Bar-b-que before the concert.
  • Be careful, it’s icy.
  • How do we get in?
  • We meet our daughter Katie’s history teacher and his son.
  • Do we want to buy t-shirts?
  • At 7:30 we can start yelling “Bruuuuce”.
  • This is weird that he is starting so late (it began at 8:30).
  • We know this song, what’s the title?!
  • Where’s Patti? She’s down at the end.
  • “Radio Nowhere” – I was off by one, thought he would open with it. He hasn’t lost anything.
  • Is that guy going to drink both of those beers?
  • He’s buying more beer?
  • That’s not Patti.
  • “Jackson Cage” – am I singing too loudly? no one around me is telling me to be quiet.
  • “Because the Night” – only a couple of piano notes to recognize it, do all these people know that he and not Patti Smith wrote it?
  • He’s pacing himself, Little Stevie is singing a lot.
  • “She’s the One” – everyone is singing.
  • They’re not going to take a break.
  • “The Promised Land” – one of my all time favorites, I’ve gotta get more Springsteen sheet music for the guitar.
  • “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day” – what album is this from? (The Rising) Beautiful song, everyone singing to the choruses.
  • “Badlands” – a total kick ass experience, this crowd sounds good!
  • Very short time until the encore starts, about 3 lighters and a thousand cell phone lights.
  • “Girls In Their Summer Clothes” – This is just pretty, nice change of pace.
  • Rosalita? Rosalita? Rosalita!
  • “Born To Run” – we’re all in a shared Bruce moment and loving it.
  • “American Land” – Nice tie in to the Seeger Sessions, words to sing along to on the monitors. Great way to end it and send us on our way.
  • … one hour to get out of the parking garage, home, can’t sleep, I’m exhausted but happy.


  1. “Blue Cross Arena” is what they call it nowadays?

    I am from Rochester and it used to be called the Rochester War Memorial. I haven’t been back home is AGES so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the practice of naming arenas after corporations has infected Rochester as well.

    I saw many a show at the War Memorial and even worked there for a year during which I saw just about every concert and hockey game. Does anyone remember Val James laying down the the law for the Americans?

    Ah, memories.

  2. Officially they call it “The Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial.”

  3. I’m more than a little jealous that you got BOTH Rosalita AND Because the Night, but we saw the same show on the same tour nearly four months ago (you may recall I posted the set list from that show …).

    The one comment you probably made but didn’t record for posterity: “Man, there are really a lot of OLD people going to see Springsteen !!”

  4. An hour to get out of the parking garage.

    Yep, us too.

    But what a great show that was!

  5. Of all the great armies of rock fans, few can match the devotion of Bruce Springsteen’s. For them it’s not just catching just one show-it’s about catching them all. Anyone who has experienced Springsteen in concert will testify that the bond between audience and artist transcends the usual adulation. Something magical, almost mystical happens. Some might describe it as spiritual-most definitely it is life affirming. It is in trying to nail this phenomenon that the beautiful hardbound For You has arrived.

    Edited by Lawrence Kirsch and replete with an amazing welter of outstanding photographs, it’s a mind-blowing collection of thoughts and stories from fans of every age and many nations, each explaining why Springsteen occupies such an important place in their hearts. Covering all four decades of Springsteen’s career it is possibly the ultimate fanzine for it is the fans who have made the journey and whose words tell us as much about them as they do about Springsteen. The warmth and humanity that flows from every page is truly moving and provides a beacon of hope from which we can all draw strength in these hard times. Not a book to be read at one sitting but rather to revisit and enjoy over time.

  6. Not to disparage Bruuuuuucce but you must have missed the early Grateful Dead tours. Talk about devotion and mystical attachments…

    Every age group has at least one. Our generation is hanging on a bit longer than most. If Bruce were Frank S., he would be working on his third variety series and making guest appearances on others. Such is the generation gap: not only a gap of tastes but of media.

    One wonders what the internet generation will do given the disposability of the current rosters. Captain Trips is smoke on the water now, for sure.

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