The Boss Is Back With "Born to Run" - What Next?

nils and bruceNils Lofgren and Bruce Springsteen back in May at the Verizon Center. (By Linda Davidson/TWP)

It seems that we've been saying this a lot lately, but -- the Boss is in town. It's his third trip to D.C. in just under three years but is the first time he won't be pushing a new album. Instead, he'll be pushing an album that needs no pushing at all -- his 1975 classic "Born to Run." Springsteen is just the latest performer to hop on the overflowing perform-an-album-in-its-entirety bandwagon, which surely has no more room left on it now that the entire E Street Band on board. Right? If you're going to tonight's concert at Verizon Center you'll hear the eight songs on the album, in order, probably in the middle portion of the show.

During a recent run of concerts at Giants Stadium Springsteen highlighted three separate albums on three separate nights -- "Born to Run," "Born in the U.S.A." and "Darkness on the Edge of Town." So what other album could Bruce successfully devote (a small portion) of his show to? To us there's only one answer, after the jump...

That would be 1982's masterpiece of bleakness, "Nebraska." While it would leave the rest of the E Streeters without much to do for 45 minutes or so (although full band versions of some songs -- well, mostly "Johnny 99" -- have worked their way into set lists) it would be a treat to see Springsteen take to the stage alone and play those tunes of hopelessness and despair. It might be more fitting for the Warner Theatre than the Verizon Center, but if it was just an interlude in an otherwise rockin' E Street set, it could be pulled off.

Who wouldn't want to see Springsteen sing about a killing spree on the title track and then indulge his Suicide influences on "State Trooper?" You're bound to hear at least half of the songs off "Born to Run" during any given show as it is; hearing "Nebraska" in its entirety would truly be an event.

Besides the three that have already been performed, is there any other album by Springsteen that deserves this treatment? That's our question to you.

Be sure to check back here tomorrow morning. We'll have a review by Chris Richards posted bright and early. And dig through our http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postrock/springsteen/ to get yourself ready for tonight's show.

By David Malitz |  November 2, 2009; 2:53 PM ET Springsteen
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Comments

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I'm attending both the DC and Baltimore shows, and they'll be playing "Born to Run" at both of them. I'd love for them to switch one of those shows to "Lucky Town" or even "The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle".

Posted by: njdvlsrule | November 2, 2009 3:43 PM

Way back on the Born in the USA tours he tucked a mini-Nebraska set into the first hour; I remember Johnny 99, Atlantic City, My Father's House and Reason to Believe.

Posted by: gfriday | November 2, 2009 7:18 PM

Nebraska is a good choice. A 45-minute set from two discs of The River would be another. I'd omit "Sherry Darling," "Jackson Cage," "Crush on You," "I Wanna Marry You"...and then I run out of ideas. Most of the tracks are strong but not immortally mighty, like the 8 on Born to Run, which received exquisite performances tonight (although the indestructible Springsteen vocal chords seem at time beginning to fray).

Posted by: PaulfromNorthernVa | November 3, 2009 1:01 AM

Nebraska would be more for one of his solo tours. I'd like him to do "The Wild, the Innocent...." That would be absolutely incredible. He did 4 songs off that at the Meadowlands last spring (E St Shuffle, Kitty's Back, Incident on 57th, Rosalita) and they KILLED. Add Sandy and NY City Serenade, and people would have walked out babbling incoherently.

"Born to Run" was undoubtedly the emotional centerpiece of the DC show, and he and the band performed the songs in the manner they deserved to be heard. His voice was somewhat weak in the very beginning of the show, but he was pretty much warmed up by "Hungry Heart" (3rd song). It struck me he only did 4 songs before the BTR set, and not a lot of songs after the BTR set, especially since I was enjoying his choice of requests that he played (great "Growing Up" with great request sign, plus a hilarious "Pink Cadillac"). His encore made up for the relatively short main set, and I love the Higher & Higher finale.

Anyone see Max Weinberg's daughter playing on "American Land"? Quite a talented family that guy has (Ali on accordion to go along with sometime-E-Street-drummer son Jay, who wasn't there last night).

Posted by: roadworrier | November 3, 2009 6:59 AM

Great, great performance last night. The energy and dedication he brought to the performance was top notch. I haven't seen performers half his age pour as much of themselves into a show as Bruce did.

He and the band went all out - the engagement with the audience, the genuine love he feels for his fans and the enjoyment all showed through clearly.

The music was great, the fans were great - I couldn't have asked for more.

However, I found the organization at the Verizon Center rather lacking. The long lines just to get in the door, then long lines to get to the upper levels made for an annoying start to the evening. The staff were very friendly though...

Thanks to Bruce and the E-Street Band for a great time!!

Posted by: AutumnBanter | November 3, 2009 8:28 AM

Did anyone else feel like it was a farewell show? At the end of the show, Clarence was handed his cane and a few elbows to lean on and descended from the stage on a lift, and Bruce was hanging around on the floor near the stage for a few minutes. With the all-out performance (crowd surfing!) and onemoresong after Rosalita, I felt like I might be seeing my last show...and I was happy my 12 year old son was there with me to see the old man work his magic once again.

Posted by: MammaMia67 | November 3, 2009 9:37 AM

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