Lately, I have been spending an unhealthy amount of time pondering what the at-this-point likely 2020 E Street Band tour would look like. This state of mind has been heavily influenced by the steady diet of live Bruce shows I’ve been listening to. This nourishment comes courtesy of Springsteen’s monthly archive releases on download and CD by the folks from Nugs sold at live.brucespringsteen.net.
For several years now, this program has produced a Christmas-like surprise the first Friday of every month at Noon EST. A diverse selection of shows from 1975-2013 have been officially released along with every show from the 2014 and 2016-7 tours. Listening to these live performances never seems to get old, especially if you avoid looking at the set lists and marvel as Bruce sprinkles in rarely-played deep tracks and one-off cover versions amongst the classics that never grow tiresome.
Although the E Streeters have not played a show together since February 25, 2017 in New Zealand, their Boss has kept quite busy since. After several hundred Broadway performances and the resulting Netflix special, he took to dusting the cobwebs off his Western Stars collection of songs and even made a companion live-performance movie. While there is much to love and enjoy about both these projects, let’s face it—we all long to cue up for the general admission section one more time and give our ignored homemade signs with song requests another try.
So, here are my top six ramblings about a 2020 tour. Bruce of course can do whatever he likes but consider these some food for thought.
Shorter Shows: This is not by any means a request, but just the acquiescence that at age 70, we don’t expect a four-hour marathon from Bruce every night. We will take what we can get, but I somehow believe that we will get much more than the usual 90-minutes we can tolerate from other mere mortal live performers.
Take it Slow: We support the no two-nights-in-a-row policy that he started back in 2014. It’s kept his voice in top-form, unlike some of his contemporaries. If we travel out-of-town for shows, we can visit a museum or just rest on the off day. Us fans are getting older too!
Venue Variety: It’s a given that we will see arenas at a minimum and likely some stadiums. Given the fact that he has mastered how to make these massive spaces sound so intimate, this is not a problem. But, here’s a thought. Why not stay in some towns for a while and revisit some smaller special venues? Nashville’s Ryman and Colorado’s Red Rocks come to mind. It’ll be a ticket frenzy, but nonetheless historic.
Smaller Band: While I’m not looking to put band members out of work, there’s something to say about keeping it lean. Forget the horns and backup singers. It’d be great to see just a solid Rock & Roll band: two guitars, sax, bass, drums, organ and keys—just like in the old days.
Nugs Us: Please don’t even think about not putting out the live shows as the tour progresses. Listening along as the tour happens will be awesome. I’d gladly prepay for the whole batch right now.
New Songs: Let’s hopefully hear the promised new E Street Band album for sure, plus why not throw in a few from Western Stars. We will of course love whatever we get, and we know that Springsteen is as likely to conform to a recurring setlist as he would lip-synch on stage!
Well, like I said, he is the Boss and can do whatever he wants. But, with all the excitement about a possible tour, I just couldn’t keep my thoughts to myself. And just so you and my family know, I plan on seeing as many shows as I can in 2020. There are few things I would rather do than spend a few hours in the same room as Springsteen! Thanks, Bruce, for 45 years of great music!