The final stand of the 1988 US tour opens at Madison Square Garden with a tremendous 33-song set. Bruce and the band stay true to the Tunnel of Love Express Tour vision, playing nine songs from the album (including “Walk Like A Man”), newly added “Boom Boom,” plus ’88 standouts “Be True,” “Adam Raised a Cain,” “Seeds,” “War,” “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Light Of Day.” Springsteen’s first appearance at MSG in eight years is also marked by a special, set-closing instrumental “New York, New York” and a rare cover of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.” Better still, this release adds Orbison’s “In Dreams,” recorded in soundcheck and never performed on tour.
Springsteen and his new band bring Human Touch and Lucky Town to Europe with a set that’s markedly evolved from the 1992 US shows. Berlin 5/14/93 opens with four acoustic songs: “Darkness On The Edge Of Town,” “Adam Raised A Cain,” the debut performance of the Louvin Brothers’ “Satan’s Jeweled Crown” and “This Hard Land,” still unreleased at the time. The main set appealingly blends nine from HT/LT, classics like “Atlantic City,” “Downbound Train” and “Brilliant Disguise,” plus inspired covers of “Many Rivers To Cross” and “Across The Borderline” that display the roots and gospel chops of the 1992-93 line-up.
Two days after performing The River at MSG, Bruce returns to longtime hotbed Cleveland, Ohio and makes a full-album performance of Born To Run the centerpiece of this fine Working On A Dream tour stop. In addition to all eight songs from his 1975 breakthrough, Springsteen and the E Street Band deliver “Prove It All Night,” a radically rearranged “Red Headed Woman,” “Radio Nowhere,” “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and what is arguably the sweetest version to date of “Back In Your Arms.” Trumpet player Curt Ramm guests on several songs, including an encore-closing double-shot of “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” and “Rosalita.” 2nu.gs/BruceCleveland2009
Springsteen supported The Ghost of Tom Joad with a first-ever solo tour from 1995 to 1997. Being only the tenth show, Upper Darby 12/9/95 captures a seminal Joad performance in unadulterated form, showcasing his acoustic-guitar playing and evocative storytelling. Ten songs from Upper Darby were later serviced to radio stations by Columbia Records – this marks the first release of the complete 12/9/95 set which features all 12 songs from Joad, plus Bruce-as-troubadour readings of “Adam Raised a Cain” “Darkness On The Edge Of Town,” “Murder Incorporated,” “Blinded By The Light” and “Streets Of Philadelphia”.
Rounding the final turn before the home stretch, the Reunion tour skates into Orange County for a pair of shows at Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. The second night set finds Bruce and the band still pulling out surprises, with the first E Street Band performance of “Roll Of The Dice” and the tour debut of Van Morrison’s “Gloria.” Those highlights are joined by show-opening River outtake “Take ‘Em As They Come,” “Darlington County,” “Rendezvous,” “Factory,” “Racing In The Street,” “Stand On It,” “Ramrod” and the rare “country” arrangement of “No Surrender.”