Setlists: 2003 (Post-tour)

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December 8 / Asbury Park, NJ / Convention Hall
Notes:
The longest, at three and a half hours, and arguably the hottest of the three holiday shows. As Bruce told the crowd at the beginning, "This is our Saturday Night Special even though it's Monday night." There was little variation in the set, but as practice tends to make perfect, a tight night three had MVP Sam Moore in peak form. No DeVito or JBJ, though all of the other guests returned -- and we got a little more Sam and a little more holiday spirit as the Soul Man joined in for the only "Merry Christmas Baby" of the run. We also got "96 Tears" in Garland's set and a real highlight in Southside's set, with the Bruce-penned "Talk to Me." The blazing "What's So Funny..." was again sent out to our troops in Iraq as a prayer for peace. Happy holidays and to all a good night! Songs listed below have the most prominent guest-artist listed in parentheses, but many performers were on and off stage over the course of the night. Photo: Mike Brazinksi
Setlist: Hold Out Hold Out (Victorious Gospel Choir)
I've Got a Feeling [Everything's Gonna Be All Right] (Victorious Gospel Choir)
Christmas Day (MW7)
So Young and In Love
None But the Brave (Alliance Singers, Soozie & Lisa)
Queen of the Underworld (Jesse Malin)
Wendy (Jesse Malin)
R.O.C.K. Rock (Garland Jeffreys)
96 Tears (Garland Jeffreys)
Merry Christmas [I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight] (Little Steven)
This Time It's for Real (Southside Johnny, Little Steven)
Talk to Me (Southside Johnny, Little Steven)
It's Been a Long Time (Southside Johnny, Little Steven)
Seaside Bar Song
Thundercrack
The Wish (Bruce on piano)
Hold On, I'm Comin' (Sam Moore, the Alliance Singers)
When Something is Wrong with My Baby (Sam Moore)
Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa [Sad Song] / I Thank You (Sam Moore)
Soul Man (Sam Moore)
Shine Silently (Nils Lofgren)
Because the Night (Nils Lofgren)
Kitty's Back
Christmas [Baby, Please Come Home] (all)
Encore: Merry Christmas Baby
I Don't Want to Go Home (Southside, Little Steven)
My City of Ruins (Sam Moore)
What's So Funny about Peace, Love and Understanding
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (all)


December 7 / Asbury Park, NJ / Convention Hall
Notes:
Thanks to Mother Nature, what was supposed to be closing night is now the second of three shows. Danny DeVito was not on hand but another local boy stepped up: Jon Bon Jovi. In addition to the other returning guests from night one, Willie Nile joined in for three of the closing rave-ups, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," "What's So Funny..." and "Santa Claus." The structure of the show remained the same, a couple notable substitutions included "So Young and In Love" for "From Small Things" and "Kitty's Back" for "Mary's Place." Sam Moore was even more impressive on his second night - "My City of Ruins" went from a song he barely knew to one he owns. "My City" and "What's So Funny..." is one heck of a mood-switching one-two punch. Worth waiting in the cold and snow for. Songs listed below have the most prominent guest-artist listed in parentheses, but many performers were on and off stage over the course of the night.
Setlist: Hold Out Hold Out (Victorious Gospel Choir)
I've Got a Feeling [Everything's Gonna Be All Right] (Victorious Gospel Choir)
Christmas Day (MW7)
So Young and In Love
None But the Brave (Alliance Singers, Soozie & Lisa)
Queen of the Underworld (Jesse Malin)
Wendy (Jesse Malin)
Wild in the Streeet (Garland Jeffreys)
R.O.C.K. Rock (Garland Jeffreys)
Merry Christmas [I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight] (Little Steven)
This Time It's for Real (Southside Johnny, Little Steven, JBJ)
This Time Baby's Gone for Good (Southside Johnny, Little Steven, JBJ)
It's Been a Long Time (Southside Johnny, Little Steven, JBJ)
Seaside Bar Song
Thundercrack
The Wish (Bruce on piano)
Hold On, I'm Comin' (Sam Moore, the Alliance Singers)
When Something is Wrong with My Baby (Sam Moore)
I Thank You (Sam Moore)
Soul Man (Sam Moore)
Shine Silently (Nils Lofgren)
Because the Night (Nils Lofgren)
It's My Life (Jon Bon Jovi)
Kitty's Back
Christmas [Baby, Please Come Home] (all)
Encore: I Don't Want to Go Home (Southside, Little Steven)
My City of Ruins (Sam Moore)
What's So Funny about Peace, Love and Understanding
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (all)


December 5 / Asbury Park, NJ / Convention Hall
Notes: Night one of the 2003 Holiday Shows, as the "Springsteen and Friends" tradition returns to the Asbury Park boardwalk after a 2002 hiatus. Emcee Danny Devito came out first with Bruce and a gospel choir to welcome the crowd. After a couple of gospel numbers, the Max Weinberg 7 took the stage once more as the house band, with guitarist Jimmy Vivino again stepping up to take lead on "Christmas Day." But this wasn't quite business as usual, with fewer Christmas songs than in years past, and more of a spotlight on the "friends." Sam Moore was a new addition this year: he and Bruce worked out a stunning quadruple-shot of duets, and Moore later returned for "My City of Ruins." Jesse Malin was also new to these shows, playing two songs from his Fine Art of Self Destruction record. As for returning guests: Little Steven brought a taste of his Underground Garage with a cover of the Ramones' Christmas classic, and stuck around for some Juke rave-ups with Southside Johnny. Garland Jeffreys, Bobby Bandiera, Nils Lofgren, Danny Federici, and two-thirds of the Redheaded Women were back-- Soozie Tyrell and Lisa Lowell were there, but Patti Scialfa was out sick. Bruce himself was onstage most of the night, from playing some serious boogie-woogie piano on "Christmas Day," to backing his new friend Jesse Malin. As for Springsteen songs, a pair from Essential was up first: "From Small Things" with Bandiera, and a horn-drenched highlight in the live premiere of "None But the Brave." "Seaside Bar Song" and "Thundercrack" made sure that those Shore roots were well-exposed. "The Wish" was a hushed solo-piano affair, with some jingle bells in the background and Vivino adding some very light guitar. "Because the Night" was actually a Nils selection, the great great Nils Lofgren taking lead while Bruce and Steve backed him on guitar. But "Mary's Place," that was Bruce, adding the Alliance Singers and the horns for a true Asbury Park-style house party, leading into "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" with all onstage to close the main set. In the encores, Bruce introduces a song as "a prayer for our troops in Iraq and their safe return," and who would have expected what followed, but it was perfect: "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding" -- which also bodes well for the rumored impending appearance of Elvis Costello at one of the remaining shows. Emcee Devito returns to read "The Night Before Christmas" (Bruce saying afterward, "that is one long motherfucker of a story!") before "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" as usual brings everyone on stage to close the night. Songs listed below have the most prominent guest-artist listed in parentheses, but many performers were on and off stage over the course of the night. Photo: lewisbloomphotographs.com
Setlist: Hold Out Hold Out (Victorious Gospel Choir)
I've Got a Feeling [Everything's Gonna Be All Right] (Victorious Gospel Choir)
Jam Up (MW7)
Christmas Day (MW7)
From Small Things (with Bobby Bandiera)
None But the Brave (Alliance Singers, Soozie & Lisa)
Queen of the Underworld (Jesse Malin)
Wendy (Jesse Malin)
Wild in the Streeet (Garland Jeffreys)
R.O.C.K. Rock (Garland Jeffreys)
Merry Christmas [I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight] (Little Steven)
This Time It's for Real (Southside Johnny, Little Steven)
Love on the Wrong Side of Town (Southside Johnny, Little Steven)
It's Been a Long Time (Southside Johnny, Little Steven)
Seaside Bar Song
Thundercrack
The Wish (Bruce on piano)
Hold On, I'm Comin' (Sam Moore, the Alliance Singers)
When Something is Wrong with My Baby (Sam Moore)
I Thank You (Sam Moore)
Soul Man (Sam Moore)
Shine Silently (Nils Lofgren)
Because the Night (Nils Lofgren)
Mary's Place (Alliance Singers, Soozie, Lisa, horns!)
Christmas [Baby, Please Come Home] (all)
Encore: I Don't Want to Go Home (Southside, Little Steven)
My City of Ruins (Sam Moore)
What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding
The Night Before Christmas (Danny Devito)
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (all)

November 8 / Aberdeen, NJ / MDA Gala
Notes:
It was Bruce and his baby on a Saturday night as Springsteen and Patti Scialfa attended a November 8 fundraiser, with Bruce treating the crowd to "Jersey Girl." At the Muscular Dystrophy Association Gala in Aberdeen, NJ, Bruce donated a signed guitar that went for $15,000 in a live auction. On "Jersey Girl," played for an audience of roughly 550, Springsteen strapped on another guitar and sat in with the house band. One person in attendance tells Backstreets, "A great performance, considering it was probably unrehearsed with the band. The band started a little shaky but finished extremely strong."
Setlist: Jersey Girl

November 1 / Asbury Park, NJ / The Stone Pony
Notes:
Night One of the Light of Day benefits brings Springsteen's first public performance since the Rising tour. At the packed-to-the-gills Stone Pony, Springsteen stood by the soundboard, UNC cap pulled low, to check out Willie Nile (including "I'm on Fire") and Soozie Tyrell do their thing. After watching most of Garland Jeffreys' set, Bruce finally took the stage, taking a guitar lead toward the end of one of Jeffreys' songs before going into "96 Tears." "See you later," Bruce said at the close of the set, and that was the truth: At 1 a.m., after Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers played a few songs, Joe brought the Boss back onstage for an hour-and-a-half blowout. Their set together included a mix of Grushecky songs, Springsteen songs ("From Small Things," an impromptu "Fire," "Johnny 99," "Murder Incorporated," "Light of Day"), and some -- like "Code of Silence," with Joe and Bruce sharing lead vocals -- that they wrote together, with the Houserockers never missing a beat. The show closed with a pair of covers: "Dirty Water," and a sprawling "Twist and Shout" that brought many of the night's performers (like Jeffreys, Nile, Boccigalupe, Joe D'Urso, and JoBonanno) back onstage. Other guests during the course of the set included Johnny Grushecky on "Murder Inc.," and on "Light of Day," Michael J. Fox, star of the movie that brought us that title song, sharing a mic with Springsteen. Like concert organizer Bob Benjamin, Fox suffers from Parkinson's; the Light of Day concerts benefit the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. The players also saluted Benjamin with "Happy Birthday." While Bruce didn't appear at this year's second Light of Day show, on November 2, this makes four years running that Bruce has been down for the cause.
With Garland Jeffreys: Hail Hail Rock and Roll/96 Tears
With Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers: Never Be Enough Time/Homestead/From Small Things/Code of Silence/Fire/Talking to the King/Johnny 99/Murder Inc./Pumping Iron/Happy Birthday/Light of Day/Dirty Water/Twist and Shout


 

 


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