Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

Live Shots

Live Shots
Photo by John Anderson

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

Frank Erwin Center, April 5

"Talk about a dream, try to make it real," rang Bruce Springsteen's mountain baritone to a sold-out Frank Erwin Center on Sunday in opening state of the union "Badlands." For decades now, the Boss has chiseled away at the dream, a distinctly American promise of defiant optimism and communal solidarity. Yet in comparison to last April's Magic stopover in Houston, the working-class hero is performing with a renewed sense of purpose and determination, evidenced by the Working on a Dream couplet of "Outlaw Pete," a rugged, spaghetti Western epic that found Springsteen stepping into character with cowboy hat in hand, and "My Lucky Day," a gunning new rave-up. Springsteen laid out the blueprint for the evening halfway through the album's title track: "We're going to take that despair and build a house of hope, take that fear and build a house of love. ... We got all the tools on this stage, and we've got the band to bring you the music and the spirit." Indeed, the E Street Band steamrolled its way through a greatest-hits collection on par with its 2000 reunion tour ("Because the Night"), including rough but exhilarating handpicked requests "Sherry Darling" and "I'm a Rocker." Springsteen dueled with Steve Van Zandt on "Prove It All Night" and dueted with wife and bandmate Patti Scialfa for the tender "Kingdom of Days," while guitarist Nils Lofgren kicked up serious dust on the electric-folk picket line in "Youngstown." Selections from 2002's The Rising ("Lonesome Day," "Waitin' on a Sunny Day") ran a bit dry but over the course of nearly three hours were washed away by surprises such as the wasteland blues of "Seeds." The band saved its feats of strength for the seven-song encore, one-man sax pack Clarence Clemons and pianist Roy Bittan sharing the spotlight for "Jungleland" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," framed between the retribution gospel choir rendering of Stephen Foster's "Hard Times (Come Again No More)" and romping closer "Glory Days." Now more than ever, dare to dream.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Bruce Springsteen
Rock & Roll Books
Born to Run
Born to Run

Libby Webster, Dec. 9, 2016

Gift Guide 2015: The Boxing Lesson
Bruce Springsteen
The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (Record Review)

Libby Webster, Dec. 18, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Austin Powell
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re playing

July 31, 2020

Record Review: The Young
Record Review: The Young

Aug. 22, 2014


Bruce Springsteen

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle