Last night's Springsteen show (2nd of the 3 I'm chasing) was nothing short of jaw-dropping. I didn't have the amazing spot I had in Nashville (right up front with one person between me and the stage), but I had a pretty nice spot fairly close where I could see just about everything; I've always hesitated to go for general-admission tickets because I'm 5 foot 1 and figured I'd just end up staring at some six-footer's back, but both nights it has worked out well. (For Kansas City, my sister & her husband are driving out and we have reserved seats. I'm going to feel like we are verrrrrry far away, sigh.)
Bruce was about as happy as I've ever seen him on stage. He always seems to love performing; yes, as an entertainer it's his job to make it look like he's having a good time even if he's not, but folks, you can't fake that much fun. Last night he was positively radiant! And some nights, you just can't drag that boy off the stage. After the usual encore set, he's been adding on a bonus second encore pretty frequently, generally just one song. Last night he played two songs in that spot, and after the band took more bows, there was yet one more! They ended with "Twist & Shout," which is the same way the very first Springsteen show I ever saw ended... back in 1978. Wow. All in all this show was about 20 minutes longer than Nashville, clocking in at a sweet 3 hours and 15 minutes. For a guy who's pushing sixty, and a bunch of band members around the same age, that is amazing. And no, they don't take an intermission. Not a lot of "stand there and talk to introduce the song" breaks either. His shows these days are relentless.
His guitar players (Little Steven Van Zandt -- yes, the guy from The Sopranos; he was in the E Street Band long before he was on TV -- and Nils Lofgren) have been absolutely on fire both in Nashville and St. Louis. They both tore the roof off the place last night. Steve's solo on "Gypsy Biker" might be the best I've ever seen him do. Just incredible.
The other thing I want to say is that if you're ever looking for a moderately priced hotel in downtown St. Louis, the Drury Inn at Union Station is highly recommended. The room is well-appointed, clean, and comfortable; the amenities are great (and I didn't even get to take advantage of the evening reception where you get up to 3 free alcoholic drinks!), and the staff has been very helpful and professional. Also, the breakfast buffet is huge, with pastries, sausage, scrambled eggs, french toast, make your own waffles, decent coffee, and lots of other stuff. Not the cheapest hotel I've ever stayed in, but quite reasonable, and just very nice.
Tonight: Goin' to Kansas City!
Oh, and Friday night when I got here I met up with Julie and Laine, who showed me a bit of St. Louis. Beer, a used bookstore, dinner, and gelato. Yes, that covers the bases of almost all my favorite vices right there. Thanks, guys! :)
P.S. After 3+ hours of singing along, whooping, and "Bruuuuuuuuce!"-ing, I have almost no voice. I sound like a cross between Mickey Mouse, a gravel road, and a mime. I don't know how Bruce does it without ripping up his voice every night... I guess that's called "actually knowing how to sing." *grin*