I sent out a Facebook update at 1 a.m. on Monday, essentially saying: "Quick review of Springsteen in Buffalo: Best. Show. Ever." Strong words for me, but I'll stick to them 18 hours later.
Why do I say that?
1. The talk of the band making its last show in its last full tour added an edge to the proceedings. Haven't seen that sort of electricity around here since the Who played the Aud the night after the Cincinnati tragedy. The building was just jammed with fans who seemed to wake up a week or so ago and said, "Hey, this is the end of the tour, and these guys aren't getting any younger. I gotta go." It included Pat Riley, the NBA executive who wrote a book blurb for Clarence Clemens' book, "Big Man."
It's pretty unusual to get an audience that's filled with true believers, fans that know every song and would rather be at the show than any place on earth. That's what it felt like.
2. The complete playing of "Greetings from Asbury Park" helped make the night an event, since it hadn't been done before. I don't think I've heard "Spirit in the Night" since the late 1970's, although I haven't checked.
And I noticed what could have been a sense of relief from the band once the album had been played. "OK, the tough part is over, so let's have some fun."
3. The attitude was very playful from the gang, particularly Springsteen himself. Can't say I've seen too many kids pulled out of the audience to sing at a Springsteen show. Helping that approach was Steve Van Zandt's birthday, complete with cake, and the coming Christmas season (good for two songs).
4. If you felt like a birthday or Christmas party, this was the best set list imaginable. This was not a time to hear "41 Shots" or "The River," worthwhile songs but not a good fit here. The only really slow tunes were in the "Greetings" portion. Otherwise, it was clear the decks and start rocking. My back is still sore from all the standing. (Just wondering: When was the last time I saw a show without "Badlands"? I think it was 1977 in Utica.) What's more, there were a ton of songs that most bands would have been happy to use as a set-closer. For Springsteen, they were just another tune.
I've learned never to say never when it comes ever playing together again. Even with these guys. But if this was a farewell show to this particular combination, except on special occasions, it was a great one.
For a more enthusiastic review, click here.