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13 reasons why Springsteen's still 'The Boss' in concert

He may have attracted the largest crowd at last weekend’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but Eric Clapton’s focus on laid-back blues power and lack of hits, left the crowd unsatisfied. That will surely not be the case when Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band perform tonight.

Bruce Springsteen
Jo Lopez

Here are 13 reasons why Saturday at Jazz Fest will be The Boss's Day:

1 – Last summer, after asking writers, industry figures and artists, “Rolling Stone” rightfully placed Springsteen at the top spot of the 50 Greatest Live Acts Right Now. And with the immense success of his current tour, it looks like Springsteen & E Street won’t budge from the number one.

2—Jazz Fest audiences will be treated to not one, but two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acts tomorrow evening. As Springsteen was inducted in 1999 as a solo artist, and the E Street Band followed as they were inducted during last month’s event.

3– The extended E Street Band now contains 17 members, including a five-piece horn section, three vocalists and a percussionist. Springsteen makes sure that everyone is involved and receives deserved time in the spotlight; all for the good of the song’s performance.

4 –With this band, Springsteen’s able to deftly move from the twist-and-turns of “Kitty’s Back,” to the modern touches of an electric “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” to the gospel and soul influences on “Shackled and Drawn” and “Land of Hope and Dreams.”

5 –Despite five decades as a musician, Springsteen takes nothing for granted and gives his all in marathon shows. It will be interesting to see if he breaks his usual three-hour mark onstage since the Jazz Fest schedule has him starting at 4:15 p.m. and ending at 7 p.m.

6 --His concerts always celebrate with a nod towards locale. The Pittsburgh show included “Youngstown,” which is a town located nearby. The Cincinnati performance of “Pay Me My Money Down” already looked like a second line working its way down Bourbon Street, while the lines of “Wrecking Ball” -- “Hard times come, hard times go” – should hit an emotional note for the Crescent City.

7 –His concerts also offer contemplative moments in the form of a tribute to Vietnam veterans and those who didn’t make it out alive (“The Wall”), social commentary (“American Skin (41 Shots)”), and emotional uplift (“The Rising”).

8 – Springsteen takes audience requests in the forms of signs, balloon sculptures and artwork created by fans to heart and often incorporates them within his shows.

9--Those requests can lead to much more. A man celebrating his birthday in Cincinnati not only got “Growin’ Up” played but Springtseen then called him onstage to help him belt out the final verse.

10 –Current shows regularly change up the setlist and have offered numerous surprises (i.e. opening with a cover of The Clash’s “Clampdown” in Pittsburgh).

11--He’s not afraid to get involved with his audience. Springsteen often crowd surfs during “Hungry Heart,” dances with someone during “Dancing in the Dark,” and if he’s thirsty, chugs your beer when he’s standing right in the middle of the crowd.

12–Springsteen also doesn’t skip on the hits and deep cut favorites like “Born to Run,” “Badlands,” “Light of Day,” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.”

13 –Finally, because, as he professes onstage, he’s “just a prisoner of the everlasting power of rock and roll!”

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