Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Perform Three Songs at Hall of Fame Induction
Being the troopers they are, however, the group ran through three songs, beginning with, appropriately, the calling card 'E Street Shuffle.' The always-rambunctious tune had extra pep thanks to the talents of original drummer Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez, who joined the group to add exuberance on a second kit next to current drummer "Mighty" Max Weinberg.
Springsteen then pulled out a harmonica -— always a good sign -- and told a slightly risque Clarence Clemons joke before steering the band into 'The River.' The E Street Band's ability to play off one another stood out in this song, with Roy Bittan's piano and Stevie Van Zandt's acoustic guitar setting the stage for a brooding Springsteen vocal turn, which included lower-register harmonies with wife Patti Scialfa.
But the highlight of the mini-set had to be an incredible version of 'Kitty's Back,' from 'The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle.' A flashback to their bar-band days, the song gave individual players a chance to strut their stuff with solos that possessed more than a little bit of extra oomph tonight.
Among the highlights: founding keyboardist David Sancious -- whose residence on Belmar, New Jersey's E Street gave the band its name -- going to church on the organ with Springsteen egging him on. The five-piece horn section, featuring Clemons' nephew Jake Clemons, added some soul flair straight out of a classic Chicago album. And Nils Lofgren contributed a dependably cutting solo.
Even Springsteen coaxed out several toothy electric guitar solos throughout the song, as it finally coalesced and crescendoed into a stew of soul, blues and rock & roll as only the E Street Band can unleash.