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Springsteen sweeps the series at Fenway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  August 16, 2012 12:43 AM

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Barry Chin / Globe Staff

First off, a big thank you to all the Extra Bases and Globe readers who said hello at Fenway Park the last two nights. It was fun meeting so many nice folks who share a love of baseball and music.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band put on two terrific shows at the old ballpark. Bruce also paid tribute to the late Johnny Pesky both nights, calling for a spotlight on the Pesky Pole and the wreath encircling his retired number.

Here's what was remarkable: Over the two nights, Bruce did 45 different songs. Only 12 songs repeated from Tuesday (29 songs) to Wednesday (30 songs).

Highlights over the two nights included Bruce dancing with a woman police officer; running from left field to right field about as fast as Jacoby Ellsbury; ordering a hot dog and a beer from the stage (and killing the beer in one gulp) and saying "Sorry about that" when he mentioned the New York football Giants in the lyrics of one of his songs and people playfully booed.

Ken Casey from Dropkick Murphys joined Bruce on stage for "American Land" on Wednesday. He was having a blast.

Boston has long been a great spot for Springsteen shows because of all the avid fans in the area. In my experience, the crowds are better here than New Jersey or New York. The two nights at Fenway were among his best shows on this world tour, especially the second night and the amazingly eclectic set list.

As somebody who been to a lot of shows, Wednesday was in my top three. It was that good. Bruce was loose, up for anything and the band followed along, especially Steve Van Zandt. He was in rare form. The covers he did were great, too, and added a special element to the show.

Tuesday setlist:The Promised Land, Out in the Street, We Take Care of Our Own, Wrecking Ball, Death to My Hometown, My City of Ruins, Spirit in the Night, The E Street Shuffle, Jack of All Trades, Atlantic City, Because the Night, Johnny 99, Darlington County, Working on the Highway, Shackled and Drawn, Waitin' on a Sunny Day, Boom Boom, Drive All Night, The Rising, Badlands, Thunder Road. Encores: We Are Alive, Born to Run, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark, Tenth Avenue Freeze-out, Dirty Water, Twist and Shout.

Wednesday setlist: Thunder Road (just Bruce with Roy Bittan), Hungry Heart, Sherry Darling, Summertime Blues, Girls in Their Summer Clothes, We Take Care of Our Own, Two Hearts, Wrecking Ball, Death to My Hometown, My City of Ruins, Knock on Wood (the old Eddie Floyd hit from 1966), Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?, Thundercrack, Frankie, Prove It All Night (with the 1978 intro), Darkness on the Edge of Town, Working on the Highway, Shackled and Drawn, Waitin' on a Sunny Day, Backstreets, Badlands, Land of Hope and Dreams. Encores: Who'll Stop the Rain (acoustic), Rocky Ground, Born to Run, Detroit Medley, Dancing in the Dark, Quarter to Three, Tenth Avenue Freeze-out, American Land (with Ken Casey).

The band will be at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. If you're thinking about going, don't think and just go. It's a great show. If you're never been before, you'll love the experience.

(Apologies for the non-baseball post. But the shows were at Fenway, Johnny Pesky was mentioned and plenty of people out there enjoy activities other than baseball.)

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