Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band wowed their fans in Dallas on Sunday evening during the third and final day of the NCAA March Madness Music Festival. Fans were also treated with the ability to watch the concert online via a live feed provided by Capital One Jamfest. This performance kicked off Bruce and the E Street Band’s six week tour in the US.
Despite the rain and a chill in the air, the rockers played a jam-packed, 25-song set that began with Springsteen and the E Street Band coming out to the theme music for the Harlem Globetrotters, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” in celebration of the Final Four in the basketball championship tournament. Bruce carried a basketball and joked, “This has something to do with basketball. Am I right?” He and Nils Lofgren then had a mock jump ball, initiated by guitar tech Kevin Buell, who acted as referee and donned a referee shirt. They continued their basketball-inspired performance by covering Van Halen’s “Jump,” which was intensified by the inclusion of guitarist Tom Morello and keyboardist Charlie Giordano.
The near three-hour set included hits like “Glory Days,” “Badlands,” “Atlantic City,” and “The River.” During his performance of “Hungry Heart,” Springsteen crowd-surfed and drank a beer provided by a fan upon returning to the stage. At one point, not long into the set, he took some time to rile up the crowd. “Dallas, Dallas, Dallas,” he said, “Been here many times.” Then, making reference to the Final Four tournament, said, “I was hired to bring the spirit to Dallas. Do you feel the spirit, Dallas?” The crowd thundered applause. Later in the evening, he mentioned the light rain to the crowd. “I need help. We gotta stop this rain.” Then he went into his upbeat “Waiting on a Sunny Day.”
Springsteen and the E Street Band continued to wow the Dallas fans with the performance of two songs from the new album High Hopes. He did not fail to get the ladies actively involved in the show. He picked a girl from the crowd to help him and Nils sing “Darlington County.” More ladies were required during the “Dancing in the Dark” performance…about a dozen of them. This time, the ladies danced with just Springsteen and took “selfies” with him while he shouted, “Selfie, selfie!”
This was his first concert since March 2 in New Zealand, but Steve Van Zandt was missing. The guitarist is in Norway filming Lilyhammer but his wife joked on Twitter, “For all you asking why Stevie Van Zandt is not on the Bruce US Tour — he is replacing Harry Styles from One Direction for a bit.”
The night ended on a high note with Patti Scialfa and Springsteen performing “Thunder Road” in acoustic, but not before five other songs were played as an encore. These songs included “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” “Born to Run,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “Glory Days” and “Shout.” This was Scialfa’s first full show with the E Street Band since September.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will wow fans again soon, but it will not be in Dallas. Their next concert on April 8 at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati is sure to be a rockin’ crowd pleaser. Then on Thursday, April 10 at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, the E Street Band will be honored with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Opinion by Twanna Harps