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  • Writer's pictureKaity Naphys

The Boss Comes To Penn State

Bruce Springsteen, aka The Boss, and the E Street Band brought their 2023 tour to the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday, March 18. As a lifelong fan of Springsteen, I was delighted to hear that he would be stopping by and bought myself tickets before it sold out. The New Jersey native is known for shows that last upwards of two hours, and his show in State College did not falter. Clocking in at two hours and 50 minutes, this was one of the longer shows so far on this tour. He played a total of 27 full length songs.


He opened with “No Surrender,” which is one of my favorites and a great song to kick off a concert. He then went on to play songs off of his newest original album “Letter to You,” as well as some fan favorites off of his albums from the 70s and 80s. Springsteen has been performing a varied setlist each night, swapping certain songs in and out. “I’m On Fire” is an absolute favorite of mine, and I was lucky enough to attend one of the two shows at which he has performed this song.


Throughout his set he played two covers, with the first being “Nightshift,” originally released by the Commodores and Patti Smith Group’s “Because the Night.” The crowd at the Bryce Jordan Center got to hear the tour debut of Springsteen’s 1980 hit “Hungry Heart.” As soon as E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg played the opening fill of the song, the entire arena stood up to sing and dance along.


A special moment for me during the show was hearing “The Rising” live for the second time. This was the first song I ever knew after watching Springsteen perform it on The Today Show in 2002, when I was just a year and a half old. This song cemented Springsteen as my first favorite musician, and it is safe to say he is still up there as one of my favorites of all time.


His encore, which consisted of 7 songs, was where the concert really started to pick up. “Thunder Road” kicked off the encore. This song is known as not just one of The Boss’ greatest songs, but one of the greatest rock songs of all time. Next came “Born to Run,” which is Springsteen’s biggest hit, and acclaimed as his best song by Rolling Stone. He then played “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” a great song that is so fun to hear live.


“Glory Days” was one of the final songs performed by Springsteen, and it marked a particularly bittersweet moment for me as someone whose Penn State glory days will be coming to an end in the next few months. Next, he played his iconic songs “Dancing in the Dark” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.” This song showcases the sounds of saxophonist Jake Clemons, nephew of the original E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons. Springsteen closed out the show with a heartfelt acoustic version of “I’ll See You in My Dreams” off of “Letter to You.”


Throughout this upcoming summer I am lucky enough to be seeing Springsteen two more times, and after this show I am more excited than I already was. There is a reason Springsteen has held his title of The Boss throughout his five decades of making music, and part of that reason is because he puts on such amazing shows night after night. If you ever have the privilege of getting to see Springsteen live, get ready for one of the best shows of your life.


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