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    Friday, May 24, 2024

    Review: Who’s the Boss? Bruce Springsteen rules the night at Mohegan Sun

    Bruce Springsteen sings “Roll of the Dice” during the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 concert at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Bruce Springsteen points out to the audience as he sings “Lonesome Day” during the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 concert at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Bruce Springsteen sprays fans with champagne during the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 concert at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Bruce Springsteen, left, and Steven Van Zandt sing during the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 concert at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Bruce Springsteen is joined by Jake Clemons, left, on saxophone, Soozie Tyrell, center, on violin and Max Weinberg, on drums, during the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 concert at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Fans cheer as Bruce Springsteen is seen on a screen during the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 performance at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Bruce Springsteen sings “Roll of the Dice” during the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 concert at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform “Lonesome Day” during a concert of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 performance at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Fans cheer and scream “Bruce” during the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 concert at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Bruce Springsteen plays the tambourine during “Roll of the Dice” during the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 concert at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Bruce Springsteen is joined by, from left, Nils Lofgren on guitar Jake Clemons on saxophone, Soozie Tyrell on violin and Max Weinberg, on drums, during the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band World Tour 2024 concert at Mohegan Sun Arena Friday, April 12, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Well, I guess it’s true: Third time really is the charm.

    Bruce Springsteen finally brought the E Street Band to Mohegan Sun Arena for a concert on Friday, after two previous and (for fans, at least) heartbreaking postponements. First was the March 2023 show, nixed because of an unspecified illness. Then the September 2023 date fell victim to Springsteen’s bout with peptic ulcer disease, which shut down a whole chunk of his tour.

    On Friday, he was certainly back in fighting form. He promised near the start of the gig that he and the band were “here tonight to bring the joyous power of rock ‘n’ roll into your life …. We’re going to wake you up, shake you up and then take you up to higher ground.”

    He wasn’t kidding. They did just that. Pretty much everyone seemed to having a grand time, from the band to the sold-out, sing-along-happy audience.

    The 74-year-old Springsteen cut a Dorian Gray figure onstage. The knee slides across the stage might be gone from his showman repertoire, but he was sinewy slim, his face was only slightly lined, and he proved that he’s still got that revival-preacher intensity and star-dusted charisma. The raspy, gritty edge to his singing voice remained a great delivery system for emotion.

    Of course, it’s not just Springsteen. The magic ingredient, the special sauce is the legendary E Street Band. They provide an indelible musical sound, that keyboard-flecked, saxophone-sparked sonic equivalent of exultation.

    The show ran about two hours and 45 minutes — a little less than the Boss’s usual gigs, but it was wall-to-wall with iconic songs. The setlist was expertly curated, mixing classic tunes to newer material that all sounded of a piece. The big difference is that the lyrics from, say, the group’s 2020 release “Letter to You” tend to have rather elegiac lyrics. The final song of the night was “Letter to You”; it consisted of Springsteen onstage alone, accompanying himself on guitar and singing the gorgeous “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” which has the I-dare-you-not-to-tear-up lyrics “I'll see you in my dreams/When all our summers have come to an end/I'll see you in my dreams/We'll meet and live and laugh again … For death is not the end/And I'll see you in my dreams.”

    For the run of go-for-broke rock anthems before that — including “Born to Run” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” — the houselights were brought up, as if the band wanted to be even more at one with the crowd. “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” might have been the highlight of that sequence, with Springsteen, Steve van Zandt and Nils Lofgren on guitar, Jake Clemons on saxophone and singer Soozie Tyrell with a tambourine crowded onto a small part of the stage that cropped out into the audience. They grinned and sang and seemed to be having a blast. Someone tossed a pink bra onstage, which barely caused a blip in their performance.

    The arena floor didn’t have seats, so the crowd stood and danced. (One older gentleman collapsed near the end of the show and was helped out of the area by Sun employees.)

    Springsteen didn’t mention his past peptic-ulcer health ills during the show. He did, though, poke some good-natured fun at where he was playing. He joked about people gambling at the casino, and he, probably not coincidentally, opened the show with “Roll of the Dice” and “Lucky Town.” And he said he loved Uncasville, “wherever ... it is.”

    Come back soon, Bruuuuuuce.

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