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Live At Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles
Bruce Springsteen is one of those performing artists who you should see at least once before you die, fan or not. At best, I consider myself to be merely a casual Springsteen follower, yet I felt like I was in safe hands from the moment he stepped onstage at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. and stood amidst the sumptuous drapery and candelabrum.
Kimberly Mack, 01 Jun 2005
Bruce Springsteen is one of those performing artists who you should see at least once before you die, fan or not. At best, I consider myself to be merely a casual Springsteen follower, yet I felt like I was in safe hands from the moment he stepped onstage at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. and stood amidst the sumptuous drapery and candelabrum. The exuberant crowd of old school, die-hard Springsteen fans let out their first collective “Bruuuuuuuucccce!” and he launched into a revamped, delta-blues version of Nebraska’s ‘Reason to Believe’, complete with harmonica, bullet mic, and much foot stompin’. It was then that I knew the hype was also to be believed.
While Springsteen played songs from a variety of older records, he also managed to perform 11 out of 12 from the new record, Devils & Dust. He accompanied himself on guitar and harmonica for the title track, which is delivered from the point of view of a young American soldier in Iraq. His voice on ‘Devils & Dust’ was nothing short of a revelation. His ability to emit passionate energy one moment and quiet reflection the next, all within the confines of the same song, was quite impressive.
His considerable storytelling talent was also on display and he provided a great deal of between-song banter. During the set-up for ‘Silver Palomino’ he shared with the audience the story of the death of his wife’s friend, who left behind her two young sons. The tune was sung from the point of view of the 13-year-old who kept the memory of his mother alive through his silver palomino. The mournful ballad featured some beautiful quasi-classical guitar work, with the notes trickling out of his instrument like a tiny waterfall.
At the end of the four-song encore, Springsteen played ‘Promised Land’ from Darkness On The Edge of Town. This version was both spare and hypnotic as Springsteen’s quiet acoustic guitar battled with the rhythm created by his hand pounding against the wood of his instrument; an insistent heartbeat that grew louder and louder until it, and the evening, was over.