POLL RESULTS: Your favorite Springsteen tour of the 2010s, plus your personal best shows
For a man in his 60s, Bruce Springsteen sure was spry in the 2010s. He mounted three full-fledged concert tours with the E Street band, spending parts of five separate years on the road for those, and then dug in for over a year of four-shows-weekly on Broadway. Basically he was out performing more than he wasn’t -- and when he wasn’t, he was writing what would become a best-selling memoir. (Meanwhile, I spent the decade trying to squeeze in naps.)
But which of those stints rises to the top as fan favorite? We asked, and 502 responses later, the people have spoken. Let’s count them down to No. 1, shall we?
4) High Hopes Tour (2014), 40 votes. Let’s face it, this one was a little unusual: It had Tom Morello, and spent an inordinate amount of time in parts of the world with opposite seasons. (Yes, I know, to them we’re the ones with opposite seasons.) Regardless, it had some incredible cover songs -- “Stayin’ Alive,” “Highway to Hell” and “Royals” come to mind -- and some by-all-accounts hair-raising performances in support what was (sadly) something of a lackluster album. Still, it made enough of an impression to earn 41 votes in our poll.
3) Springsteen on Broadway (2017-2018), 80 votes. The third-place showing of Springsteen’s stunning stop on the Great White Way can probably be attributed to a couple of reasons: One, the ticket prices, and two, it was a “tour” that didn’t go anywhere -- Bruce’s audience had to come to him. Still, it was a singular performance that was intimate beyond anything we’d experienced before, and earned 82 votes from some of those lucky enough to attend.
2) Wrecking Ball World Tour (2012-2013), 178 votes. It may seem hyperbolic to say it now, but this was something of a make-or-break tour for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The first one without Clarence, it would show whether or not the band still felt like The Band, the one we knew and loved. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of Jake Clemons, a killer horn section, and a loving nightly tribute from the Boss himself, E Street marched triumphantly on. (The additional backup singers and percussion didn’t hurt either.) A total of 178 respondents agreed, naming this the No. 2 Bruce tour of the decade.
1) The River Tour (2016-2017), 201 votes. Let’s face it, this had the advantage of being two tours in one: It started off as a tribute to, natch, “The River,” with Bruce and the band playing it straight through every night, an unbelievable treat for those of us who’d been hankering to hear the likes of “The Price You Pay,” “Fade Way” and “Cadillac Ranch.” Then, it morphed into the Bruce autobiography tour, in its last months delving deep into the earliest nooks and crannies of the Springsteen catalog. The result was a string of marathon shows (hello, four hours), some indelible performances of seldom-heard classics like “Incident on 57th Street,” and a simply spectacular run for a tour that, to hear Bruce tell it, was something of an accident. With 201 votes, it was No. 1 by a nose.
As for the next decade, let’s take it a year at a time -- with an E Street album and tour hopefully being first on the agenda sometime in 2020. When it’s announced, you’ll read it here first!
Meanwhile, as a BONUS QUESTION, we asked: What was the favorite Springsteen show you attended in the 2010s, and why? Here's a sampling of the responses:
"Being at the longest show in Philly Is my favorite memory of the decade. It was.a love fest between him and Philly. So much energy. Next would be seeing him both times on Broadway. The first time was right after it opened and seeing him close up was amazing. The second time was close to the end and the show seemed looser but still very emotional. He’s simply the best at everything." -- Lori, Lansdale, PA
"Croke Park - May 27, 2016 - On top of an amazing main set, I get to hear my first Jungleland live." -- Jennifer The Netherlands
"April 14, 2016 at The (now closed) Palace of Auburn Hills, my 4 oldest boys with me, Backstreets and a giddy Bob Seger came onstage and sang back up vocals to close out the show. Great night." -- Jeff, Shelby Township, MI
"Broadway - the depth of his voice, the transparency of his sharing and the nuance of it all." -- Anonymous
"Guglielmo, Rome. My favorite concert was in 2013 at Ippodromo delle Capannelle, Rome, Italy, and four words are enough as a reason why: New York City Serenade." -- Anonymous
"MetLife 3, Aug 30, 2016. I went to the first 2 shows at MetLife, that were so good. I bought last minute tix in fear that I would 'miss' something. So, I got 2 seats, and took my 16 YO daughter to her first Bruce show. And what a show it was. First 13 songs off the 1st 2 albums. Wow! It kicked off 2.5 mos of pure amazement. Some of the best sets since his Darkness shows." -- Bob Sabo West Milford, NJ
"I was lucky enough to at the 2014 show in Brisbane where he played 'The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle' album from start to finish. Absolutely brilliant." -- Gavin, Queensland, Australia
"My favorite show I've attended was in 2012, at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. Me and my dad went together, and thanks to the pit lottery gods we ended up in the front row, right in front of Little Steven! I also had Bruce pick out and play my sign request of 'Incident On 57th Street' that night. Totally surreal." --Tom L, from Alpena MI, currently living in Westland MI
"Florence in 2012, because it was raining cats and dogs but they never interrupted the show." -- Susanna
"Springsteen on Broadway, 2018. Most intimate show I’ve ever been to. Neil, London.
I guess it would be Springsteen on Broadway. I went to the first night and was completely overwhelmed. It was the first time in a LONG time that I didn't know what was coming next." -- Cindy, Toronto, Canada
"I traveled from South Africa to Norway to attend the show with my children living in Norway. I am terrified if travelling alone. It was worth the effort!" -- Anonymous
"Olympiastadion, Helsinki,July 31, 2012. Not a weak moment during the 4 hours+ long show. Bonus, I live in only 5 minute walk away from Olympiastadion." -- Anonymous
September 2016 show at Nationals Park in DC ... front row & high five!!! Perfect summer night and great show with all my favorites in the playlist!!" -- Anonymous
"9/7/16 - Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia - longest U.S. show ever. First 2+ hours a pre-1978 dream set, with 2 to follow after that. Plus, it’s Philly." -- Jim Bell, Somerdale, NJ
"River Tour, April 5, 2016 in Dallas. It was my 10th show and it was the first time my mom (who was celebrating her 73rd birthday) attended a Springsteen show." -- Amber in Lubbock 🙂
"The River Tour show in Seattle which was an amazing 3:45 minute show with a guest appearance of Eddie Vedder!" -- Anonymous
"Love The River, saw the concert 5 times!" -- Nancy, NJ
"9/22/12 MetLife Stadium. Bruce’s birthday show. Amazing set list. Frankie, Asbury Park." -- Anonymous
"Best show was Nats Park on The River Tour. We knew he'd open with 'NYC Serenade' but we didn't know he'd proceed to do deep cut after deep cut. 9 songs off the first 2 albums, including 'Incident' into 'Rosie.' That show felt like a dream." -- Joe, Salem, VA
"I saw the 2012 Wrecking Ball tour opener in Atlanta with a friend who had never seen Bruce before. Honestly I was disappointed, I'm sure my buddy thought my ravings about how good it would be made him think I was nuts. Seeing a mediocre two and a half hour concert in not very good seats made me wish I hadn't gone. That's the first time I've ever felt like that in 20+ Springsteen shows since 1981. So I was reluctant to take a different friend to Charlotte in 2014, but I did and Bruce absolutely kicked ass. It had to be one of my favorite shows since my very first show on The River tour. It was fantastic and my friend, who was only 24 at the time and knew nothing about Bruce, was just knocked out by it, wanting me to change my schedule so we could drive to Atlanta the following weekend to see the show there. Anyway, since then I've listened to a number of 2014 recordings, the Australia shows at the beginning of the year were all very good, the American shows were all pretty much excellent (although the last show of the tour seemed a bit off) but overall, the High Hopes tour was my favorite tour, and Charlotte my favorite show of the 2010s. My faith was rewarded, and once again Bruce proved to me he was the best." -- Anonymous
"Herning, Denmark 2013. It was intense and intimate only like 15.000 fans present. I had just survived serious illness and also just received my latest degree. Everything was alive and kicking ass." -- Inger, Denmark
"Springsteen on Broadway. So unique relative to typical concert experience." -- Alan, Olney, MD
"Foxboro 2016. Longest show I’ve ever been too. Every song I wanted to hear was played." -- Anonymous
"Broadway....because I felt as though I was sitting in his living room having a conversation about life and not just his, but mine as well. As we all know ... his words connect his incredibly authentic and human stories to us and creates a bond we have as fans with him and his music that will carry on with us for the rest of our lives." -- John, Jupiter, FL
"Springsteen on Broadway. It was up close, personal, vulnerable, funny, heartwarming. It was like hanging out with Bruce in a small setting. Loved love loved this experience. Got to meet him outside the theatre and he signed my book. I always wanted to be up close to him my whole life. It was the best happiest dream fulfilled. The Best!" -- Anonymous
"Springsteen on Broadway was life altering." -- Beth Voris Fredon, NJ