July 21 / Stadio Olimpico / Torino, ITANotes: You gotta be there. Every time. Every time Bruce Springsteen is in town, you gotta be there. You may attend 200 shows in almost 30 years—that's roughly what happened to yours truly—and hold your breath every night Springsteen performs \"Backstreets,\" hoping he would remember that long soulful rap he used to perform in 1978 in the middle of the song. And it won't happen. But if you miss that special night he performs \"Drive All Night\" (which during the River sessions sprung directly from that beautiful \"Backstreets\" interlude, \"Sad Eyes,\" that's how bootleggers referred to that rap) you are in serious trouble. You may not want to go to a Bruce Springsteen concert anymore. You'd rather retire, and go fishing for the rest of your life, or diving for pearls.
\"We are so glad to play in the most beautiful city in the world,\" Springsteen said before the Recession Trilogy (where \"Atlantic City\" replaced \"The Ghost of Tom Joad\"). As he said, \"My favorite promise is to tell you the bad news and the good news.\" Good news arrived after he collected the signs from the crowd: \"Hungry Heart,\" \"Pink Cadillac,\" \"Surprise, Surprise\" (for the 35th birthday of a Jersey fan) and \"Waitin' on a Sunny Day\" are perfect for a continuous and joyful call-and-response between Bruce and the audience.
The building a house shtick echoed the previous night's, with some additional local references such as the presence of Irish rugby star Brian O'Driscoll in the crowd. Charlie was particularly noticeable tonight on \"Seeds,\" with fantastic playing complementing Bruce's almost maniacal licks, showing great synergies between the players. \"Youngstown\" made a welcome return with Nils again in full exhilarating flight. \"Darkness\" filled out the recession set beautifully in the slowly fading light.
The real \"holy shit\" moment of the evening, however, occurred during the band's pre-encore bows. The screen camera zoomed into the pit, and there was a young woman sitting on someone's shoulders, wearing an orange \"Jersey Girl\" logo t-shirt. It appears that Bruce motioned the camera operator to keep the focus on her, and eventually, the shirt came off (she was wearing a bra underneath). Bruce had the shirt handed over to him onstage, showed it to the crowd and said, \"Well, I guess we'll have to play that one now, right\" The whole place went totally ape, and then followed what was one of the most awe-inspiring, goosebump-inducing moments I have ever witnessed at a Springsteen show: What else but an absolutely beautiful rendition of \"Jersey Girl,\" performed for the first time ever outside the U.S.
But all things in good time. Here in the preparation phase, getting to watch Springsteen develop a show is compelling in and of itself -- as long as you're not looking for one fully grown at birth. And with surprisingly few miscues tonight, even the goofs were fun. Like when Bruce stopped \"Johnny 99\" dead for a moment: \"Waitaminute! We almost... We almost had it! A one-two-three!...\" 781b155fdc