For those of us who have attended dozens of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band concerts over the years, sometimes it can seem as though you have seen it all - the crowd interaction, the sign requests, the rarities and the genuine "holy shit!" moments - and that nothing can surprise you anymore.
All of these factors were on full display at this past Wednesday night's marathon, three hour plus blowout at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon too.
But in many ways, they were amplified to the power of ten. At one of their only two Pacific Northwest shows this year (they also played Vancouver BC, but mysteriously skipped Seattle), the greatest band in rock seemed to be on a mission to spread the E Street gospel even more than usual.
Bruce was particularly animated at this show, and for a guy who has never been bashful about getting up close and personal with his audience to begin with, there was more glad-handing with the fans than ever. How many aging rockers can you name that are still crowd-surfing in their sixties?
At several points during the show, fans were brought up onstage for their own round of "Sing along with Bruce."
There were the cute little girls up there for "Waiting On A Sunny Day." There was the group of gals with the matching "Lesbians Love Bruce" shirts during "Darlington County" (prompting Springsteen to thank "my lesbian fan club"). And there was the guy who celebrated his 50th birthday with a sign request for "Growin' Up," only to end up in his own duet of the song with The Boss onstage (and forgetting the words in the process).
Speaking of sign requests, there were a ton of them at this show, and no less than six of them got played.
Fortunately, they were all great choices, ranging from "Rosalita" in the encores, to the rarely played "Seeds," and two of those genuine, aforementioned "holy shit!" moments in "Drive All Night" and the River era-outtake "Loose Ends" (which eventually made the Tracks boxed set).