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Springsteen Opens Up ‘Wrecking Ball’ Tour Setlists

Bruce Springsteen
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

With a fifteen-piece incarnation of the E Street Band at his back, you could forgive Bruce Springsteen for keeping the set list simple. After all, nearly half of the current players onstage have never toured with the Boss. But just a few dates into his 2012 ‘Wrecking Ball’ tour, Springsteen has already begun opening up the set to a mix of live chestnuts and rarities.

Springsteen fan site of record Backstreets reports the tour’s second show in Greensboro, NC saw the return of ‘Rosalita’ to the encores, along with 1978′s ‘Because the Night.’ But the next show in Tampa is what Springsteen setlist watchers call “blowing the set wide open,’ with a whopping seven tour premieres. ‘Prove It All Night,’ ‘Atlantic City,’ ‘Radio Nowhere,’ and ‘Glory Days’ all felt re-energized, while the ‘Darkness’-era outtake ‘Talk To Me’ showcased the E Street Horns and Springsteen hamming it up for the crowd with wife Patti Scialfa.

As a tribute to the legacy of his band, the deepest cuts to date have turned up after Springsteen performs ‘My City of Ruins’ for not just the death of hometowns across the country, but the loss of his musical companions Clarence “Big Man” Clemons and “Phantom” Danny Federici. To date, Springsteen has featured ‘E Street Shuffle’ in this slot (from 1973′s ‘The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle’) as well as a soul-drenched ‘Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street,’ early-seventies set closer ‘Thundercrack,’ and ‘Seaside Bar Song’ for last night’s show in Philadelphia.

It’s perhaps the return of ‘American Skin (41 Shots)’ to the set that has the most resonance. Springsteen debuted the song in 2000 in response to the police shooting of Amadou Diallo in New York City. Its Wrecking Ball tour debut came last week in Tampa, Fla., just a few hours’ drive from Sanford, where Trayvon Martin’s death has sparked a national debate on race. Last night in Philly, Springsteen introduced the song with four simple words, “This is for Trayvon,” making the connection explicit for the first time.

Tonight’s second show in Philly could mean more tour premieres, as later nights in a stand typically find Springsteen changing things up. Still no word on whether the Boss will respond to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s appeal for Springsteen to play a new casino in Atlantic City on Labor Day Weekend.

Watch Bruce Springsteen Perform ‘Talk To Me’ In Tampa, Fla.

Watch Bruce Springsteen Perform ‘American Skin (41 Shots)’ In Tampa, Fla.

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