Here are the opening songs for every E Street Band tour since 1975. What's next?
Updated: Jan 29
Following word of a very loud three-hour rehearsal by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Cure Arena in Trenton, New Jersey last week, it's starting to feel like THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING! And in fact it is: the "2023 International Tour," which we think it might be called, is actually kicking off in Tampa this Wednesday, Feb. 1.
Yes, ticket prices left some fans rankled, but the odd snarky remark aside, it's encouraging to see that many if not most members of the Springsteen fanbase are buzzing with something resembling the usual pre-tour excitement. Not to mention curiosity of what song will kick things off Wednesday, what with several new albums' worth of material to choose from. (Prediction: It won't be "Sleepy Joe's Cafe.")
To help with your prognostication, below are the opening songs of each E Street Band tour since 1975 in reverse chronological order, courtesy of BruceBase WIki. (Analysis and guesses to follow.)
The River Tour: 'Meet Me in The City" (2016-01-16 - CONSOL ENERGY CENTER, PITTSBURGH, PA)
High Hopes Tour: "Free Nelson Mandela" (2014-01-26 - BELLVILLE VELODROME, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA)
Wrecking Ball Tour: "We Take Care of Our Own" (2012-03-18 - PHILIPS ARENA, ATLANTA, GA)
Working on a Dream Tour: "Badlands" (2009-04-01 - HP PAVILION AT SAN JOSE, SAN JOSE, CA)
Magic Tour: "Radio Nowhere" (2007-10-02 - HARTFORD CIVIC CENTER, HARTFORD, CT)
The Rising Tour: "The Rising" (2002-08-07 - CONTINENTAL AIRLINES ARENA, EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ)
Reunion Tour: "My Love Will Not Let You Down" (1999-04-09 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA, SPAIN)
Tunnel of Love Express Tour: "Tunnel of Love" (1988-02-25 - CENTRUM IN WORCESTER, WORCESTER, MA)
Born in the USA Tour: "Thunder Road" (1984-06-29 - ST. PAUL CIVIC CENTER, SAINT PAUL, MN)
The River Tour: "Born to Run" (1980-10-03 - CRISLER ARENA, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, ANN ARBOR, MI)
Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour: "Badlands" (1978-05-23 - SHEA'S BUFFALO THEATRE, BUFFALO, NY)
"Lawsuit Tour": "Night" (1976-09-26 - ARIZONA VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM, PHOENIX, AZ)
Born to Run Tour: "Incident on 57th Street" (1975-07-20 - PALACE CONCERT THEATER, PROVIDENCE, RI)
So what will Bruce do this time around? Go with an old favorite, like when he kicked off the Working on a Dream Tour with "Badlands"? Or "Born to Run" on 1980's The River Tour? (If Wednesday night kicks off with that we can only imagine the extent of the flummoxing that would ripple through the crowd in Tampa.)
Then there's the option of something locally relevant, like "Free Nelson Mandela" in Cape Town. But what's the equivalent in Florida? "Floridays" by Jimmy Buffet? It's just not the same.
As for recent options, we know that several of the "Only The Strong Survive" covers have been rehearsed — but somehow we think starting off the proceedings with "Sweet Soul Music" would have something of a deflating effect on a crowd that's ready to rock.
So personally, I'm going with "Ghosts" from "Letter to You" — it's a driving number with a classic E Street Sound, slams head on into Bruce's recent grappling with mortality and the memories of those lost, and is bound to set the mood for what could very likely be a slightly melancholy and yet overall triumphant victory lap for our favorite band.
But don't hold it against me if he pulls out "7 Rooms of Gloom."
What are your picks for what will and should open Wednesday night's show? Let us know in the comments.