The United Center Welcomes Back The Boss

Joe Thomas

Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen and the E Street Band rocked the United Center last Sunday August 28th, 2016 for the second time this year. The classic rock icon’s tour has been commemorating his 1980 double album, “The River”, which was one of the most popular albums of the 1980s. Springsteen has been touring worldwide since January 16th when his tour kicked off in Pittsburgh. He is now on the home stretch, finalizing his tour which will end September 14th in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  

Springsteen’s return to the United Center brought a much different set list than his prior concert visit in January. On the previous date, Springsteen played the whole “The River” album, which lasted two hours and then played some of his greatest hits for another 90 minutes. In his most recent concert at the United Center, Springsteen played one of his more typical shows–featuring a variety of his greatest hits for 3 hours and 35 minutes–with some popular songs from “The River” mixed in as well (see: August 28th setlist below).

Springsteen, of course, still knows how to fire up a crowd at the age of 66. He bodysurfed across the crowd while singing one of his classic songs, “Hungry Heart”, brought a little girl on the stage to sing a sultry ballad with him, and then later brought three fans on stage to dance with them during the well-known classic, “Dancing in the Dark”. Springsteen also hand-picked six signs from the crowd featuring songs that they wanted to hear, something that has been a unique tradition of The Boss for years.

As the concert progressed, Springsteen performed “41 Shots”, a song written about the African Immigrant Amadou Diallou, who was fatally shot by police in 1999. With the issue once again getting the eyes of public attention in 2016, it was very fitting song for the moment. The E Street Band’s saxophonist, Jake Clemons, who is of African American descent, had his hands up in the “don’t shoot” posture for the duration of the song until he had his own solo.

Through all the emotions that this concert had to offer, Springsteen really electrified the United Center once again, solidifying himself as one of the greatest performers of the generation. On top of this, Springsteen did not take any breaks during the three and a half hour concert, a truly remarkable attribute in live music today, and something that isn’t an easy task for a man of his age.

The 2016 River Tour has been a mass success in general as Springsteen has played 70 concerts this year and many of them have been sellouts or close to capacity crowds. Billboard reported earlier this year that Springsteen has the highest grossing tour numbers and the highest fan attendance on record this year, more than some of today’s well-known touring stars like Beyonce, Madonna, or Coldplay. This 11 month odyssey has also featured some record-breakers, like Tuesday night’s (August 30th) concert at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, which lasted for four hours and one minute, breaking his longest U.S. concert record. Springsteen continues his tour tonight at Nationals Park in Washington DC. See below the setlist from August 28th’s show.

Springsteen’s Setlist from Sunday’s (August 28th) Concert, The River Tour, Chicago, IL:

  1. New York City Serenade
  2. Prove It All Night
  3. My Love Will Not Let You Down
  4. The Ties That Bind
  5. Sherry Darling
  6. Two Hearts
  7. The Promised Land
  8. Mary’s Place
  9. Racing in the Street
  10. None But the Brave
  11. Hungry Heart
  12. Out in the Street
  13. Death to My Hometown
  14. Jack of All Trades
  15. The River
  16. American Skin (41 Shots)
  17. Murder Incorporated
  18. Cadillac Ranch
  19. I’m a Rocker
  20. Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
  21. Candy’s Room
  22. She’s the One
  23. Because the Night
  24. The Rising
  25. Badlands
  26. Backstreets
  27. Born to Run
  28. Dancing in the Dark
  29. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
  30. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
  31. Shout (Isley Brothers cover)
  32. Bobby Jean