Not even a hurricane could stop Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band from paying a visit to the Bryce Jordan Center last night.
While the devastation of Hurricane Sandy led him to postpone a show in Rochester, NY, from Tuesday to Wednesday evening, The Boss and company didn’t seem to have any problem making the 200-mile trip to State College for what turned out to be a vivacious and receptive crowd.
The concert didn’t begin until almost an hour after its initially scheduled start time of 7:30, but this seemed to give the BJC more time to fill up to near capacity with devoted fans dressed in T-shirts emblazoned with past tour logos and American flag attire suitable for Springsteen’s now-famous brand of patriotic heartland rock.
Any feelings of discontent that may have arisen as a result of the late start disappeared when the band finally took the stage and, clearly recognizing the university’s pride, kicked off its set with “Lion’s Den,” an outtake from 1982’s “Born in the U.S.A.”
Following performances of iconic hits like “Out in the Street” as well as cuts from the group’s latest album, “Wrecking Ball,” including
“We Take Care of Our Own” and “Death to My Hometown,” Springsteen inevitably turned his attention to recent events.
“We’re here tonight with a little sadness in our hearts because we’re a band you cannot separate from the Jersey Shore,” Springsteen told the audience, offering his thanks to the first responders and adding that the E Street Band has always been “a glorified bar band, at your service.”
With this, the group lit into a soulful, moving rendition of “My City of Ruins” that showcased each member of its new five-man horn section, with saxophonist Jake Clemons -- nephew of the late Clarence Clemons -- rightfully earning the most enthusiastic response.
Springsteen’s concern for those affected by the storm doesn’t stop there, however. Tonight, he will appear on an hour-long telethon benefiting relief efforts alongside fellow Jersey native Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, and Sting, among other artists.
The telethon, titled “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” will be broadcast live on all NBC-owned networks beginning at 8 p.m.
The ratio of students to older concertgoers looked slightly unbalanced, but a handful of younger Springsteen fans, including Alex Woodin, were quick to point out that his tenacity is what allows him to stay relevant even after all these years in the spotlight.
“I think kids learn from their parents [by] growing up listening to him,” Woodin (freshman-broadcast journalism) said. “He just knows how to put on a good show.”
Jessica Corvino described the experience as “unreal.”
“There’s something about his music,” Corvino (senior-biology). “Like he always says, [they’re] a bar band. He still talks to the people during shows. He gets the people involved.”