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Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Mary Altaffer  /  AP file
Bruce Springsteen performs with members of the E Street Band during a performance in 2003. Left to right, Clarence Clemons, Max Weinberg, Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, and Steve Van Zandt. 
msnbc.com contributor
updated 9/25/2007 11:47:09 AM ET 2007-09-25T15:47:09

With too many songs in his repertoire, there's no one show that will satisfy a die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan.

While one shouts for the celebration that is “Rosalita,” another aches for the quiet introspection of “My Hometown.” But here's the ultimate concert when this fan has the final say on the set list:

1) “Badlands”: This beloved warhorse hasn't opened a show since the “Darkness” days. Time to bring it out front again.

2) “Seeds”: One of Springsteen’s most underrated songs; debuted on the stadium leg of the “Born in the USA” tour. It talks about a man who’s forced to live on the streets after the oil industry in Houston goes belly up. Great Clarence Clemmons sax contributions.

3) “Maria’s Bed”: A festive number from “Devils & Dust” that would be terrific with a full E Street Band treatment.

4) “Wreck on the Highway”: Time to bring it down a notch with this somber and gut-wrenching “River” classic.

5) “Magic”: The eerie lyrics of the title track present unlimited visuals and should be a great one in concert.

6) “Who’ll Stop the Rain”: Time to crank it up again with one of Springsteen’s favorites that seems to capture the current political environment today as well as it did for John Fogerty back in the Vietnam era.

7) “Trapped”: An emotional Jimmy Cliff cover in which the song rises to a slow boil that explodes into full-blown rage.

8) “Tougher Than the Rest”: From the underrated “Tunnel of Love” album, this one talks about a guy’s enduring love for his girl; even if he may not be the most charming or handsome, he’ll always be there for her.

9) “The Promised Land”: But with the stipulation that he must begin the song with the harmonica solo and then some serious fist-pumping during the ending “blow away” lines.

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10) “She’s the One”: That Bo Diddley beat never gets old.

11) “The Hitter”: In what could arguably be his greatest song lyrically speaking, this “Devils & Dust” tune was absolutely electrifying in the smaller venues. In an arena environment, it only works if the guy sitting next to you stops shouting “Rosalita.”

12) “Souls of the Departed”: Chilling looks at young lives struck down far too soon.

13) “Cadillac Ranch”: One of those songs where you know the band is having as much fun as the crowd.

14) “Land of Hope and Dreams”: Saints and sinners, losers and winners … everyone’s on board.

15) “Because the Night”: Just to watch Springsteen attack his axe.

16) “Racing in the Street”: A classic made even better when the band has a chance to riff for those last five minutes of instrumentals.

17) “Erie Canal”: “Seeger Sessions” gem would fit nicely here.

18) “Incident on 57th Street”: Spanish Johnny, want to make a little easy money tonight?

19) “Glory Days”: Springsteen puts on his baseball cap and engages in an old-fashioned romp.

20) “Jungleland”: This warhorse hasn’t come around too often lately but it would be great to see it land here as a set closer.


1)   “Terry’s Song”: This bonus song on “Magic” is a heart-melting tribute to Terry Magovern, a longtime Springsteen confidante who passed away this summer.

2) “Born in the USA”: Still as powerful as when it came out in 1984.

3) “Born to Run”: Sure, the 32-year-old tune has lost some of its firepower, but it’s not a Springsteen concert without it.


1) “Deportee”: Sang at the legendary 1981 Vietnam Veterans Show in Los Angeles, this Woody Guthrie tune about the California immigrant experience will make the hardcore fans melt.

2) “Backstreets”: Those first few chords from Roy Bittan’s piano pretty much says it all.

3) “Twist and Shout”: From the Beatles to Bruce, a wonderful and joyous way to wrap it up.

© 2013 msnbc.com.  Reprints

Photos: The magic of Bruce Springsteen

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  1. Wrecking Ball Tour

    Bruce Springsteen performs on stage on May 27, 2012, in Cologne, Germany. (Peter Wafzig / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Family man

    Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa, watch their daughter, Jessica Springsteen, compete at Windsor Horse Show on May 12, 2011, in Windsor, England. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. 'Sexy and I Know It'

    Bruce Springsteen, left, and Jimmy Fallon sing "Sexy and I Know It" on March 2, 2012. (Lloyd Bishop / NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Rockin' the Grammy Awards

    Bruce Springsteen, left, and Steven Van Zandt perform onstage at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on Feb. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Folk heroes

    Musicians Joan Baez, left, Springsteen, center, and Pete Seeger appear onstage at the Clearwater Benefit Concert celebrating Seeger's 90th Birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 3, 2009. (Bryan Bedder / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Score one for The Boss

    Springsteen and the E Street Band perform during the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show during the game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 1, 2009. (Jamie Squire / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. National pride

    Springsteen is joined by a choir as he performs "The Rising" in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration At The Lincoln Memorial" on the National Mall in Washington on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Golden boys

    Mickey Rourke, left, poses with his Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion picture-Drama with Springsteen, winner of Best original Song-Motion Picture for "The Wrestler" at the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills on Jan. 11, 2009. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Another hopeful

    Then-Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama hugs Springsteen during a campaign rally at the Cleveland Mall on Nov. 2, 2008. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Rock the Plaza

    Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt and the rest of the E Street Band perform in Rockefeller Plaza on the TODAY show on Sept. 28, 2007. (Brad Barket / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Center of attention

    Springsteen, center, performs in the final number of an all-star tribute to his music at New York's Carnegie Hall in April 2007. Funds raised from the concert were used to support music education programs. (Jeff Christensen / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Rock union

    Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa have three children together, Evan James, Jessica Rae and Sam Ryan. Scialfa has recorded two solo albums, "Rumble Doll" in 1993 and "23rd Street Lullaby" in 2004. (Desiree Navarro / WpN) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Stories to tell

    Springsteen taped an acoustic performance for VH-1's Storytellers series at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, N.J., in September 2007. (Kevin Mazur / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. On the trail

    In 2004, Springsteen and the E Street Band joined the "Vote for Change" tour, which held concerts in swing states to raise money for MoveOn.org and encourage people to vote President George W. Bush out of office. "No Surrender" became the primary theme song for Democratic preisdential candidate Sen. John Kerry’s campaign. (Luke Frazza / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Ready for 'Magic'

    Springsteen, third from right, performed with members of the E Street Band at Shea Stadium in New York on Oct. 1, 2003. He was joined by, from left, Clarence Clemons, Max Weinberg, Patti Scialfa and Steve Van Zandt. The band released "Magic" on Oct. 2 that year. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. 9/11 tribute

    At the live broadcast of "America: A Tribute to Heroes," which benefited victims of 9/11, Springsteen opened the show with "My City in Ruins," a song originally written about Asbury Park, N.J. The 9/11 attacks prompted Springsteen and the E Street Band to release their first studio album in 18 years, "The Rising." The band kicked off "The Rising" tour on the TODAY show. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Hall of Famer

    In 1999, Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year, the E Street Band reunited for a reunion tour, which included a record run of 15 sold-out shows at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. (Kevin Mazur / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Charitable effort

    In 1985, Springsteen joined 44 other artists to record "We Are the World." The song was a No. 1 hit in both the United States and the United Kingdom and profits benefited the USA for Africa Foundation. (Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Four score

    In 1995, Springsteen picked up four Grammy awards for Song of the Year, Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or TV for "Streets of Philadelphia." (Dan Groshong / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. The Big Man and The Boss

    Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons perform at the Oakland Colisium in Oakland, Calif., on Sept. 19, 1985. (Jon Sievert / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Five and out

    Springsteen met then-model Julianne Phillips in 1984 and the pair married in 1985. The union, however, was short-lived. Springsteen and Phillips divorced in 1990, and he married E Street Band backup singer Patti Scialfa in 1991. (Ron Galella / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Ax man

    Springsteen most often plays the guitar and harmonica on his albums, but he also knows how to play the mandolin, organ, piano and percussion. (Lennox McLendon / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. On the 'Edge'

    A legal battle kept Springsteen and the E Street Band from recording for two years following "Born to Run," but in 1978 the band released "Darkness on the Edge of Town," which many critics point to as a turning point in his musical evolution. That album was followed by "The River," a double album that included Springsteen’s first Top 10 single, "Hungry Heart." (Rex Features via Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Off and running

    A young Springsteen performs at New York's Bottom Line in 1975. In the summer of that year, Springsteen's career was crumbling and he was about to get dumped by his label. Then "Born to Run" was released in August and it was a rock 'n' roll masterpiece that assumed near-mythic proportion. Thirty years later a special anniversary edition of the album was released. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. 'Greetings,' fans

    Springsteen signed with Columbia records in 1972 and released "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J." in 1973 to great critical acclaim. It wasn’t until 1975’s "Born to Run," however, that the band found its first commercial success. (Richard McCaffrey / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Jersey roots

    Bruce Springsteen grew up in Freehold, N.J., but is most often associated with the shore town of Asbury Park, where he often played in his early years with future members of the E Street Band and first developed a cult following. Here he performs at the Electric Ballrooom in Atlanta on Aug. 22, 1975. (Tom Hill / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
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