From Backstreets - http://www.backstreets.com/news.html
10/19, OTTAWA: THE FALL LEG BEGINS NORTH OF THE BORDER
Perhaps it had something to do with the current NHL labor lockout, and a city full of hockey-starved fans looking to blow off some steam. Tonight’s kickoff to the fall leg of the Wrecking Ball tour woke up the usually conservative Ottawa audience to a level previously unseen. This is a government town, typically polite and restrained (as witnessed on the Rising and Magic tours), and sometimes falling a little short of the passion of the Montreal crowds or the party-til-you-drop attitude of Toronto fans. Not tonight. The nation's capital packed Scotiabank Place to the gunwale, and Bruce had them on their feet for the entire show.
Patti once again sitting out, the band kicked off the night with a lights-on rendition of "The Promised Land." Once Jake Clemons' solo kicked in, it was love at first note for the new E Streeter, who established an audience bond that didn’t let up for the whole night.
The house lights were killed for a razor-sharp "Ties that Bind" followed by "No Surrender" featuring a spectacular flourish from Max at the end. "Hungry Heart" had the typical audience participation in the first verse (very loudly — nicely done, Ottawa), and Bruce quickly found his way to the riser between the pit and the rest of GA... then, during Jake's solo, the first crowd-surf of the fall leg, back to the main stage.
By the end of the one-two punch of "We Take Care of Our Own" and "Wrecking Ball," the sound crew finally found the sweet spot and cleared up the muddiness that was there for the first four numbers, and the "Wrecking Ball" directive to "Let me hear your voices call" was responded to by the crowd with a "Yeahhhhhh!!!!" that practically tore the roof off. The equally enthusiastic response to "Death to My Hometown" (an inadvertent anthem to a potentially lost hockey season?), proved that Bruce is one of those few artists that is more than able to get his audience to embrace new material.
The gospel-inflected "My City of Ruins" introduced the audience to the horns, the "choir," the band, and his current theme of the ghosts that walk with us, telling the audience that "the older you get, the more ghosts and more spirits walk aside ... those ghosts become your traveling companions." It'is a uniquely poetic and uplifting approach of honoring those that are no longer with us. Clarence and Danny's spots on stage right were appropriately lit for the "roll call."
The ghosts and spirit theme continued with a blistering "Spirit in the Night" and gave the crowd its first taste of the wonderful chemistry that has been developing between young Jake and Bruce throughout the tour, particularly the sit down grizzled-uncle lecture of "This was all before you were born...," which gets funnier every time.
The next one was an audible. Bruce had apparently been suffering a clogged ear (perhaps from all that flying around the Midwest on the Obama stump on Thursday) and was "very happy" now because of the doctor who "fixed me up." "E Street Shuffle," showing off the power of the E Street horns, was the doctor’s request.
"Jack of All Trades" led us to Roy's gorgeous piano accompanied by Bruce’s first guitar solo of the night, that classic '78-style intro setting up a somewhat subdued "Prove it All Night," finally exploding with the solo now adopted by Nils Lofgren. A thrilling "Candy's Room" was followed by another Bruce audience foray during "Darlington County," where he apparently slipped a lucky girl some cash (how much?).
"Shackled and Drawn" featured some inspired gospel from the always lovely Cindy Mizelle, and"Waitin' on a Sunny Day" provided one of those great spontaneous Bruce moments; Bruce was late on the acoustic guitar toss because apparently the strap got stuck on something, so he stopped the band and counted them back in to time the toss appropriately — the band, as always, not missing a beat. And, hey, Toronto, you got one cute kid singing on this song... Ottawa got two!
The rarely played "Drive All Night," an audible, provided the show’s highlight. The band worked up a crescendo that gave the effect of an awakening bee-hive. Then, wrapping up the main set, the hat track of "The Rising," "‘Badlands," and "Thunder Road" with its moving tribute to Clarence's sax riff by the entire horn section that never ceases to make the goose bumps rise.
The request section didn’t turn up at this show, but Bruce did grab one card for the first encore song. "Nobody ever requests this!” he shouted, revealing to the crowd "Queen of the Supermarket." Still laughing, he leaned over to the woman who had provided the request, who revealed that she was "Caroline from Sobeys" (Sobeys is a venerable supermarket chain in Canada). He dismissed E Streeters from the stage because "the band doesn't know it" and spent about a minute reminding himself of the changes on the acoustic — then he nailed it, even throwing in the ad libbed line "She's waiting at Sobeys...." It would be interesting to see if Sobeys gets a sales bump in Ottawa this weekend.
Continuing on the ghosts and spirits theme, the new favorite "We Are Alive" followed, with an animated Jake banging on the drum, using his sticks to help Bruce "call the voices," backed by his horn compatriots bringing the mariachi. Then — house lights on! — "Born to Run." Finally could hear the organ, it's usually pretty subdued in the mix. Jake engages the audience at the back.
"Glory Days" provided another great moment: someone in the pit had brought a life-size (well, actually a bit taller) cutout of Bruce, Lucky Town era, that found its way on to the stage. Little Steven propped it up ceneter stage, where he and Bruce danced around as if in a tribal ceremony. Bruce held the mic up to Cardboard Bruce ("Sing it for me, Bossman!"), but, sadly, got no response. Cardboard Bruce stayed up for "Dancing in the Dark" but got booted from the stage for the final song, "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" (Cardboard Bruce found his way back to his owner/trainer). By the time Bruce shooed the last E Streeter off the stage, the show clocked in at three hours, nine minutes — a (relatively) shorter show, and fairly basic setlist, but a tight and energetic first night back.
The photo montage during "Tenth Avenue" once again brought up the spirits-that-walk-with-us theme, but also served as a reminder that Bruce and the E Street Band, despite having a few parts changed here and there, are built to last. This isn't just a band, it's family.