Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Kick off Tour in Tampa

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band kicked off their tour Wednesday night (Feb 1) at the Amalie Arena in Tampa with a 28 song set that lasted two hours and 45 minutes.

Opening with “No Surrender” off of “Born in the USA,” Springsteen treated the audience to several selections from recent albums, “Letter to You” and two new songs from the soul record, “Only The Strong Survive.”

While introducing the song, “Last Man Standing,” he told the story of his first band, The Castiles, dedicating the song to his late friend and bandmate George Theiss, who passed away in 2018.

“His passing would leave me as the last surviving member of my first band, so it’s kind of like standing on the tracks with the hot light of an oncoming train bearing down on you,” Springsteen told the crowd. “It brings a clarity of thought and a purpose that you might have not previously experienced.” He added, “At 15 it’s all hellos. At 73 it’s a lot of goodbyes. That’s why you have to make the most of right now.” 

Bruce Springsteen: Last Man Standing (video courtesy of Spring Nuts)

In keeping with that theme, Springsteen also weaved in a defiant version of “Wrecking Ball,” a song about fighting the good fight in face of adversity.

The show ended with Springsteen solo for a poignant show closer of “I’ll See You in My Dreams.”

In addition, Springsteen has added background vocalists, which he dubbed “The E Street Choir,” for arrangements of the Commodores “Night Shift,” and “Don’t Play That Song.” The tour also includes a horn section, which joins the show during “Out in the Street.”

A full band arrangement of “Johnny 99” gave pianist Roy Bittan and Soozie Tyrell a chance to shine on piano and violin solos.

Celebrities spotted in the audience according to Stan Goldstein, co-author of the book “Rock and Roll Tour of the Jersey Shore,” included: Pat Riley, Chris Christie, Sam Springsteen and his wife, Pam Springsteen shooting photos all night, Danny Clinch, hair stylist Chris McMillan, Gary Dell’Abate from the Howard Stern, Vini Lopez and Carl “Tinker” West.

The set list is as follows:

No Surrender”
“Prove It All Night”
“Letter to You”
“The Promised Land”
“Out in the Street”
“Candy’s Room”
“Kitty’s Back”
“Brilliant Disguise”
“Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”
“The E Street Shuffle”
“Johnny 99”
“Last Man Standing”
“House of a Thousand Guitars””
“Because the Night”
“She’s the One”
“Wrecking Ball”
“The Rising”

“Burnin’ Train”
“Born to Run”
“Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”
“Glory Days”
“Dancing in the Dark”
“Tenth Avenue Freeze-out”
“I’ll See You in My Dreams”

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