A remembrance revisited: Our tribute to Clarence Clemons from a decade ago
Published June 20, 2011:
Springsteen was no fool — he’d purposely designed his setlists for the tour to avoid any songs with saxophone solos. So there was no “Badlands,” no “Backstreets,” certainly no “Jungleland.” But he had to do “Born to Run,” and when it came time for the sax — no offense to Crystal Taliefero, who drew the short straw — it was like the air had been sucked out of the room.
Fast forward to November 2007, when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were playing the Garden in Boston. It was the first time I saw “Jungleland” performed live, and when Clemons started into his solo, it was exactly the opposite of what had happened in New Jersey 15 years earlier. The arena brimmed with life, the swaying masses almost overcome by a sense of melancholy buoyed by hope — it made grown men cry, and be happy doing it.