Sunday, January 17, 2016

Springsteen Review, 1-16-16, Pittsburgh

I've seen some sold-out concerts at Consol Energy Center.  Paul McCartney and Billy Joel come to mind.  But I don't think I've ever seen the place as jam-packed as it was last night.  Gave new meaning to the word rafter.  Hey, what better a city to open The River tour than Pixburgh?

You often hear the term "sold-out."  It's popular lingo for the scalpers.  Helps fetch that extra, much heralded zero off some Sewickley high school ginger kid.  Even when there are still tickets for sale at the box office.  Just say that magic word and every ounce of discretion and common sense goes flying out the window.  Not that it matters.  Most people don't care.  After all, it's only money.  Right?

Last night was one of those nights.  Me and G headed into the fray around 6pm.  Our libations for the evening --- 19 Crimes and Fetzer (both Cabs).  Just for the record, we're big fans of 19 Crimes.  If you see it, snag it.  Much like the refrain outside the arena.  If you see something, say something.  What a great motto!  Hey, I say something all the time, but nobody LISTENS.

Possibly the finest wine of the prestigious sub-$10 genre.  We also like Rex Goliath Free Range Red.  Just replace that delicate wine glass with an Aquafina water bottle.  I call it "de-cork, pour-in, un-screw, drink-up."   

Gigi scored a freebie immediately off some dude.  A little over an hour passed and we just couldn't snag another ticket.  Some woman emerged from the nearby church and handed a panhandler 2 print-outs.  I asked him where the tickets were located.  He had no idea.  He whipped out his lighter and took a closer look.  Section 119.  $142 plus service charge.  Not bad.  A retail value of just over $300.  I hope he got a good deal.  I imagine it was more profitable than his spare change routine.  At least I would hope.

On the cusp of showtime, I asked a curbside woman who emerged from an uber-car.  She had one extra.  The scalpers began to lurch in.  Sensing that my time-sensitive, freebie routine might be annoying and probably get rejected, I offered her $20.  She shrugged with semi-indifference and we made the exchange.  Aside from the free parking, it was likely my smartest move of the night.

Now you're probably thinking, "Wait one cotton pickin' minute!  Saf, I thought you NEVER pay.  Isn't it a matter of some warped sense of pride?  Wouldn't it bring shame to your children... and their children... and future generations.  Newsflash: we don't have kids.  3 cats and a temporary weekend visit from Abigail a/k/a the lil' doggie consisting of half dog, quarter gremlin, quarter hamster, smidgeon of genetic rodent.

But no kids.  Hence, the ethical code of conduct does not apply to "Scalping Jew" (the title of a book I intend to write in 2017, possibly sooner).

Anyway, we hit up the Captain Morgan Club over-hang and then got "upgraded" to the end seats in the loge section.  Plenty of room with our own waitress to boot.  FYI: the same seats belong to Franco Harris.  Ironic, as he surely went to Denver for the divisional round game.  Even greater irony, he's on the cover of my latest book "The Immaculate Rejection."

And even further irony.  The book has nothing to do with him or his famous/infamous catch.  And just to set the record straight, HE CAUGHT THE DAMN BALL.  Case closed.  Don't be fooled by the cover.  Words can be deceiving.  Or in this case... deadly.

Anyway, Springsteen and company literally stormed the stage with the full house lights on.  So cool.  More bands should consider doing this.  Then again, most couldn't pull it off.

I was telling Gigi that if they had scheduled the Steelers playoff game for the same day (the two events coincided), I bet he would have considered an old school "matinee" performance.  Wouldn't that have been crazy?  A 1pm Springsteen concert tour opener.  Fortunately, the NFL schedulers knew better.  Goodell and company got one right.  Who woulda thunk it?

Killer opener song.  Here's the version from Saturday Night Live a couple weeks ago.  It's strong but doesn't do justice compared to the version from last night.

For me, the highlights from "The River" portion of the set were Hungry Heart, Two Hearts (always loved this song) and Out in the Street.  Energy level was off the charts.  Typical fare for your average 3 hour+ Springsteen concert.

Towards the end of the set, they played a pretty cool Wrecking Ball.  Not a huge fan of the song, but I thoroughly enjoyed it... probably because I wasn't expecting it.  

They opened the encores with a poignant tribute to David Bowie.  Bruce went with "Rebel Rebel" which was a relatively cool choice.  Not sure which gem I would've chosen.  Just too many out there.  I think "Fashion" would have worked in a funny kinda way for obvious reasons (because he usually wears jeans and a white t-shirt).

Great versions of Bobby Jean, a triumphant Born to Run and an amusing Dancing in the Dark in which he pulled a woman from the audience who towered over everybody.  Seriously, she must have been 6'4".  Maybe played for the WNBA.  She should have danced with Little Steven instead.

One of my least favorite Springsteen tunes is Rosalita.  And I don't care for the obligatory Shout closer either.  Rest assured, I was in the minority.  Always gotta close on a down-note.


Meet Me in the City
The Ties That Bind
Sherry Darling
Jackson Cage
Two Hearts
Independence Day
Hungry Heart
Out In The Street
Crush On You
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
I Wanna Marry You
The River
Point Blank
Cadillac Ranch
I'm A Rocker
Fade Away
Stolen Car
The Price You Pay
Drive All Night
Wreck On The Highway
Wrecking Ball
Because the Night
The Rising
Thunder Road


Rebel Rebel
Bobby Jean
Dancing in the Dark
Born to Run
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Me and G have now seen The Boss 3 times, technically 4 (we went to a 2012 Obama "FORWARD re-election rally" at Soldiers and Sailors Hall in Oakland --- a prelude acoustic afternoon show before that evening's Consol Energy Center concert.  And there was his other concert w/ Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine's guitarist subbed in for Silvio Dante).  Of the three, the 2012 show from that night was my favorite.  But last night was hard to beat.  

If we see him again, I'm going to legally change my name for one day.  That is correct.  Safsteen.  Just like former mayor Luke Ravenstahl changed his name to Steelerstahl.  And speaking of the Steelers... good luck today.  They're going to need it.  Last night we took our terrible towels.  If you were there, I have a hunch you may have seen us.  

On a final note, here's a free idea for the Springsteen marketing crew.  Next time he comes to Pittsburgh, make 5,000 limited edition "Springsteen terrible towels."  Not only could you double the customary price from $5.00 to $10.00, you could probably quadruple it to $20.  People are suckers.  And you'll get that whole arena whipped into a frenzy.  As if it would even be necessary.

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