Tuesday, September 11, 2012

95 Songs of Summer, #80 - "The Rising" (2002)

After what at the time seemed like a "breakup" but now seems more like a "hiatus" - albeit one that lasted over a decade - Bruce Springsteen reunited with the E Street Band in 1999-2000 for a triumphant 18-month tour.  Purists would probably argue the opposite, but it was as close to a "greatest hits" tour that Bruce and the band have ever had - there were a handful of new songs, especially at the tail end of the tour, and each night ended with "Land of Hope and Dreams," but that was about it.  For the most part you heard a set that, while changing from night to night, was based in large part on Bruce's best songs from his most prominent albums.

I was lucky enough to catch two shows on that tour - one in Oakland in October 1999, and the other in New York City in June 2000.  That was the occasion of my one and only trip to New York City, and it was quite a whirlwind - flying out on a red-eye from San Francisco on Thursday night, landing at Kennedy at 6 a.m. Friday morning, Metropolitan Museum of Art that morning, Carnegie Deli for dinner, and Bruce at Madison Square Garden that night.  Saturday was taken up by a walking tour of Greenwich Village, and a visit to the American Museum of Natural History in the afternoon.  And then, back to SF on the first flight out of Kennedy on Sunday morning.

There was no new album released prior to or during what was billed as the "Reunion Tour," and truth be told, I began to wonder whether there was ever going to be one - at least, one with the E Street Band.

As we all know now, there was - "The Rising," the first true Bruce + E Street Album since "Born in the USA" 18 years prior.  And it was an outstanding album, one focused in large part on the events of 9/11 and its aftermath.  Some songs, such as "Empty Sky," "Into the Fire" and "You're Missing," dealt directly with the issue, which others were more of a thematic link.

For me, the best song on the album will always be the title track.  It's one of Bruce's greatest anthems, and for me, always a sign that there is hope amidst the rubble.

Bruce Springsteen, "The Rising," from the summer of 2002.


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