Bruce Springsteen at the Kia Forum

Tara S. Austin on April 12, 2024
Bruce Springsteen at the Kia Forum

photos by Stevo Rood


“1, 2, 3, 4….” came the starting call as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band charged into the second of two sold-out shows at the Forum. After five decades of touring, the evening affirmed that The Boss still has the stamina to give an all-out powerful performance.

The band started hot with “Open All Night” and never let up through over three hours of hits and fan favorites. Along with the core band, a full horn section and the E Street Choir rounded out the roster of musicians. Ramps and risers ran around the general admission pit, adding a club-like feel.

Many nods to musical influences were rolled into the set, as evidenced during “Two Hearts” when Springsteen and longtime co-conspirator Steven Van Zandt joyously belted out the refrains of “It Takes Two” over the final chords.

Springsteen made use of the risers to walk out into the crowd and, at one point strutted out with his harmonica on “Promised Land.” He then ended his blistering solo and handed over the instrument to a fan.

Missing from the festivities for most of the evening, “The Queen of E Street,” Springsteen’s wife Patti Scialfa, took center stage to sing on “Tougher Than the Rest” and then stayed to duet on “Fire.” One of the most notable stories of the night preceded that performance, as Bruce reminisced how he originally wrote the song for Elvis and tried to jump the wall at Graceland to get him a demo, but was shown the door instead. A gutsy move even for a man who had, as he pointed out, “been on the cover of many prestigious magazines.” A line that prompted much laughter from the crowd. Of course, the Pointer Sisters made it their own, giving Springsteen his first hit single.

From there, the hits just kept piling up. Following “Hungry Heart,” Bruce disappeared into the audience, only to emerge with a home-made sign emblazoned with “Sherry Darling,” which the band graciously and gleefully obliged.

“Can you feel the spirit? Hell yeah!” Everyone seemed to be feeling it by the time he commanded the band and crowd alike with “Spirit of the Night,” taking the opportunity to show some love to the fans seated behind the stage.

“We are here tonight in your town to bring the joyous power of rock-and-roll into your life. We’re here to wake you and shake you and to take you to higher ground, but the E Street Band can’t get there by themselves. We need your help to take us there. Can I get a little help in the house tonight? ‘Cause we plan on sending you home with your feet hurtin’, you’re ass hurtin’, your hands hurtin’, and your sexual organs stimulated.”

The crowd roared in approval, which gave way to a hopeful and poignant moment before “My City of Ruins” as Springsteen drawled, “We’ve got a story to tell, a story about yesterday and tonight and hopefully it’s a story about tomorrow.  It’s about hellos and goodbyes. It’s about the things that leave us and the things that remain.”

Springsteen had one more special guest for the night, welcoming Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello to play on “American Skin (41 Shots)” and ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad.” Morello had previously joined the E Street Band during their 2017 tour and also filled in for Van Zandt during some of the 2013 Wrecking Ball dates.

Springsteen teased the crowd, “Do you wanna go home?” He deferred the decision to drummer Max Weinberg, who shook his head. “Max does not wish to return to his abode. If he’s not going, none of us are fuckin’ going.” And with that, the band forged ahead, launching though “Dancing In The Dark,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and a rowdy Detroit medley, including “Devil With the Blue Dress” and “CC Rider.”   

What was most remarkable about seeing Springsteen in concert following decades of consistent touring is that the man shows little sign of slowing down. What’s more, Bruce has the ability to make an arena seem intimate. Fans were even taking selfies with the band from their seats, as if taking photos with old friends because that was the atmosphere he created. A homecoming of sorts with everyone reliving the Glory Days that have also extended into the present.