The first 10 songs of the April 26 show in Atlanta rocked hard, relentlessly, and ruthlessly. As has been the case with each show of the Working on a Dream tour, the band opened things up with the classic "Badlands." The crowd was ready for it and the show got off to a fast start.
The early shows on the tour had WOAD song "My Lucky Day" in the 2-hole. That quickly went away and the second slot has become a rotation of different songs. Just like in Los Angeles, "Darkness On The Edge of Town" stepped in next. I was not only surprised, I was ebullient.
"Outlaw Pete" drew a mixed reaction from the crowd. On record, "Outlaw Pete" is long and unwieldy. Some of the lyrics are a bit cringeworthy. On stage, it takes on an almost campy feel. By playing it loose, "Pete" doesn't have to be an epic ballad. By playing it loose, it's hard to understand why the song needs to go on for eight minutes. It was better than I thought it would be, but paled in comparison to the songs that preceded it and the one that followed.
The "cleanup" spot in the setlist has seen many songs rotated in and out over the first several shows of the tour. Not only did Springsteen choose a great song for the job, he and the band turned in a powerful, smoldering, roof-raising, paint-peeling version of a classic. "She's the One," from Born to Run, was explosive, energetic, loud, and raucous. In Nashville last year, he did a bit of Bo Diddley's "Mona" to segue into it. He didn't reprise that in Atlanta, but it wasn't missed.
He followed that with "Working On A Dream," the title track to his new record. Some sound problems marred the performance and there seemed a drop in energy in the room. Some of that is likely due to just how great "She's the One" was. Some has to be attributed to this new album not being warmly embraced by the band and/or the fans.
Before you jump on me about my assumption, let me say this: Bruce hasn't played more than six songs from the album all tour and quickly cut two of them. He played more covers — more on that later — than he did songs from his new record. You can't convince me that doesn't say something about the commitment to the record or the reception of it.