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.
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.