Music Springsteen
main_spring28a.jpg Chris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.

September 08, 2016

Last Night: Bruce Springsteen @ Citizens Bank Park

Bruce Springsteen works as hard as any entertainer ever has. Wednesday night’s show at Citizens Bank Park, the first of two, clocked in at four hours and four minutes — apparently his longest show ever in the U.S. All that plus a setlist varied enough to keep both the diehards and the casual fans happy is what makes him The Boss.

Backed by a string section, Springsteen and the E Street Band (noticeably missing Patti Scialfa) began with the gorgeous and somber “New York City Serenade,” the beginning of a glorious 10-song mixtape of his first two underrated records — “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” and “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle.” From “Lost in the Flood” to “Kitty’s Back” to “Rosalita,” the crowd was sucked into a timewarp.

Springsteen was uncharacteristically distant from the crowd (physically), but it must have been the determination to deliver a miniseries’ worth of music that kept him and the band going so strong. Two sign requests: a rare delivery of “The Fever” followed by fan favorite “Thundercrack.”

Though he made no political statements between songs, the powerful one-two punch of “Jack of All Trades” and “American Skin (41 Shots)” was all the commentary Springsteen needed — the former (backed Wednesday night with a great string arrangement) about working-class disenfranchisement and the latter crawling under any listener's skin with the chorus of “You can get killed just for living in your American skin.”

All told, Wednesday night’s marathon offered 34 songs spanning 43 years of music — the lyrics propelled by a keen understanding of love, loss and the common man. Springsteen is one of the best at connecting the listener to emotions and memories that might otherwise stay dormant in our minds and bodies. But when thousands of people hear “Born to Run” or show closer “Bobby Jean” all at the same time, those feelings can well up again, leading to a stadium-sized sing- and dance-along. Pure joy.

NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.


NoneChris Sikich/for PhillyVoice

Bruce Springsteen plays Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 7.