Springsteen Played His Longest-Ever U.S. Show in Philly Last Night

The Boss played for 4 hours, 4 minutes — only two minutes shorter than his longest, a 2012 concert in Helsinki. Also, he’s 66.

Bruce Springsteen plays at Citizens Bank Park

Photo | Dan McQuade

Bruce Springsteen opened last night’s show with “New York City Serenade,” a track from 1973’s The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. By the time he ended with “Bobby Jean,” from 1984’s Born in the USA, he’d played for more than four hours. The four-hour, four-minute show at Citizens Bank Park was Springsteen’s longest ever in North America — the fourth time on the current tour he’s broken his personal record for longest U.S. show. Springsteen is, may we remind you, 66.

Springsteen’s all-time longest show was in 2012, in Helsinki, Finland. (Also, last night may have been just 4:03:46.) Whatever the exact length, last night’s Springsteen show was the longest show below 60°N latitude. Neat.

The show was ostensibly part of Springsteen’s The River tour, and when he played the Wells Fargo Center in February he played the whole double album. But for his encore performance at the sports complex, he played just two tracks from the 1980 release. His 34-song setlist on Wednesday contained 10 tracks from his first two albums and another six from Born in the USA. He also played “Shout”!

So why does Philly get the longest U.S. show ever, other than that Springsteen is constantly doing his longest U.S. show ever on this tour? Dan DeLuca in the Inquirer had some thoughts:

Philadelphia Springsteen fans love to claim bragging rights. Going back to the 1970s days when the scruffy, then verbose wordsmith played The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, the not without merit claim is that we fell for the hardworking Jersey guy first, and that the appreciative superstar still saves his best shows for his visits across the Delaware.

Of course Philadelphians are trying to say that they’re special in a way that no other city is. But, hey, not without merit. I think it’s safe to believe.

Some Philly Bruce stats, per Setlist.fm: This was Springsteen’s third concert at Citizens Bank Park. He’ll tie Billy Joel when he plays show number four there Friday night. Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band have also played three concerts at CBP, including the first two ever performed at the arena.

Springsteen played the first three concerts at Lincoln Financial Field, ones where fans in the upper deck couldn’t hear much. (I was there. It sucked.) “I’m sure he put on a great concert,” one told the Inquirer. “I just wish we could have heard it.” Springsteen’s tour had sound issues this summer, but things were loud and clear at Citizens Bank Park last night. (I was there. It was great!)

Bruce also played CBP for two shows in 2012. He’s played the Wells Fargo (and, previously, different banks) Center eight times and the Tower Theater in Upper Darby 10 times. But Springsteen has done most of his performances in long-gone venues. He played The Spectrum 35 times, and The Main Point in Bryn Mawr a whopping 42 times (sometimes twice in a day). Per Bob (Boop) Vetrone of the Daily News, Springsteen and the E Street Band has played in the area 121 times after last night.

Springsteen (with the Sessions Band) has played Camden once, in 2006 at the venue then known as the Tweeter Center. On the Seeger Sessions tour, he played mostly covers.

Also last night, at least one Mummer was in attendance. Probably more.