Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" (1975)

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And the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band

I have heard Bruce play this story of the E Street band many, many times. During the reunion tour the seemingly unending introduction to it brought the Boston crowd to a fever pitch, transforming “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” from a song into a religious experience of sorts. But hasn’t Bruce done that before? Sure, some say that happens every night.

There’s a lot of chatter out there about the future of the E Street Band in a post-Clarence world. There’s a sentiment that Bruce should go it alone, or perhaps take up a sax-less configuration, leaving all or most Clarence-centric tunes out of the mix. No “Rosalita”? No “Badlands”? No “Jungleland“? I don’t know about that. It leaves things very unresolved and also doesn’t pay proper tribute to the music and spirit of Mr. Clemons.

On October 22, Bruce played a benefit show (for Boston College) at the Stone Pony. They did indeed play “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and after the Big Man joined the band, the audience stepped in to sing that famous sax line. We don’t really know where Bruce is taking this thing, but there’s no doubt that that one moment did pay proper tribute to Clarence.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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