Springsteen brings The River Tour to Kansas City

Bruce Springsteen and the mighty E Street Band took Kansas City to the Church of Rock & Roll last night. (Logo property of Columbia Records)

Bruce Springsteen and the mighty E Street Band took Kansas City to the Church of Rock & Roll last night. (Graphic property of Columbia Records)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

As millions of people across the country waited on pins and needles to find out who would be the final American Idol, thousands of Kansas Citians packed into Sprint Center to watch an American icon and a proud Archbishop of the Church of Rock & Roll perform.

To many, the Church of Rock and Roll was founded by Pope Elvis Presley and blessed by Saints Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney. Like these larger than life performers, Archbishop Bruce Springsteen uses his innate ability to transcend boundaries to bring multiple generations of fans together.  Since he dropped his first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., in 1973, The Boss’ congregation has multiplied a millionfold and his powerful messages of love, hope, sorrow, pain and triumph have been passed down from generation to generation.

For his sixteenth tour, the Boss and the mighty E Street Band (Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Garry Tallent, Steven Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Jake Clemons, Soozie Tyrell and Charles Giordano) celebrated the 35th anniversary of Springsteen’s coming-of-age album: The River. Because of this milestone, a bulk of The River tour’s set list is filled with legendary B-tracks and hidden singles from the 20-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter’s only double album.

This marked my first time going to a Springsteen concert and it was one of the most memorable concerts I have ever seen in my 27 years of life. The Boss NEVER LEFT the stage! He was the human equivalent of the Energizer bunny as he palled around with longtime friend Steven Van Zandt and relative newcomer Jake Clemons, who rightfully inherited his uncle: the late Clarence Clemons’s spot in the E Street Band, throughout the evening.

Some of my favorite tracks of The River portion of the concert were the fiery “Two Hearts,” the haunting acoustic piece known as “Independence Day,” “Hungry Heart”-which turned into the first massive sing-along of the concert, “Out in the Street,” “Crush on You,” the moving title track, “Cadillac Ranch” and the powerful “Drive All Night.”  As Springsteen and company exited The River, the Boss and the E Street Band revealed their royal flush, a diverse group of some of Springsteen’s hit singles such as “Thunder Road,” “Born to Run,” “Dancing in the Dark” and one of my favorite Springsteen’s songs: The Patti Smith-co-penned “Because the Night.”   They also surprised a lot of fans by performing tracks the band rarely play at concerts including “Backstreets,” “Candy’s Room,” “She’s The One” and their final song: Born in the U.S.A.’s “Bobby Jean.”

What makes Bruce Springsteen—one of the greatest artist of his generation is his timeless ability to connect with fans. While some of his contemporaries just stand or sit in one spot for the entire duration of their concert, The Boss mingled with his acolytes throughout the event. He high-fived fans, danced with one of his littlest fans during “Dancing with the Dark” and brought her and her mom onto the stage to help the band finish the song and crowd surfed during the decrescendo of “Hungry Heart.”

This concert was incredibly special to me because this marked the first time that I saw Springsteen with my family.  My father, Matthew Elyachar, is one of the world’s biggest Bruce Springsteen fans, and I loved seeing my dad jump up-and-down like a giddy school kid. He sang every single track and to watch the joyful expressions on his face throughout the night put a smile on my face.

Final thoughts & grade: If The Boss is coming to your town, don’t just walk…but RUN to your arena’s box office! You will be so glad that you did because Bruce Springsteen and the mighty E Street Band puts on an astonishing show! A+

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar