Already in Cleveland this sunny saturday. What an experience this swing state tour has been so far. I cannot begin to describe how wonderful last night’s Philadelphia show was— from Bruce and Michael’s opening explanatory “why are we here and what else is happening across the state with the other concerts/Vote for Change”,  through the closing strains (more than 4 hours later) of People Have the Power. It was as exultory and joyful a night as one could imagine,well beyond my wildest dreams. Not sure how it can get any better than that, but if you have a ticket for any of the upcoming shows (Cleveland, Detroit, St. Paul or Orlando), you are in for a treat.

A few random favorite moments:

-Bruce Springsteen introducing R.E.M., who launched into the One I Love, then Begin the Begin and Leaving New York and, a few songs later, a stately version of World Leader Pretend and a special metallic filigree-graced Man On the Moon, courtesy of a certain guitar player from New Jersey (perhaps the best version ever of Andy’s song— ya think?!)

-A short set change on the impossibly pristine stage. It’s all right there in front of you–   and before you know it, Michael intones “Philadelphia, please welcome Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band!” acoustic 12 string Star Spangled Banner  and Born in the USA (appropriate), straight into Badlands and No Surrender (breathtaking) and no let-up from there. Promised Land never sounded better.

“if I could take this moment into my hands…”  indeed..     

Because the Night featured a strong-voiced Michael Stipe, then Peter and Mike got to join in for the song-of-songs Born to Run,and everybody, including John Fogerty and Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, came on for the finale couplet of What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding and People Have the Power.

Like I say… words fail.

Four more of these. We are blessed – the music – the musicians – the message – the audience.

It was truly one of the very special nights for all of us.

all best  -bertis

p.s. – You can read some more objective reactions here: