A sweaty Bruce picks up his vintage Fender Telecaster, raising her to the cloudy Philadelphia sky and giving her a gentle kiss. The crowd goes absolutely insane. The horn section of the E Street Band blasts the intro to “Death to My Hometown”. Bruce is motionless, he’s looking at the ground, holding his guitar like he was King Arthur after pulling the sword out of the stone. As the horns quiet down, the clouds part, and the Philadelphia skyline emerges like a ghost, its twinkling lights providing the perfect backdrop. Bruce steps to the microphone and roars:
Oh no cannonballs did fly
No rifles cut us down
No bombs fell from the sky
No blood had soaked the ground
His words are simple, but his message is eloquent. The Asbury Park native is a powder keg about to burst with passion for his homeland. The crowd settles with the music and begins chanting along. All of Citizens Bank Park is now a giant chorus, singing along with the Boss’ anthem about depression and unemployment.
The stadium resembles the one described in “Wrecking Ball”. “Through the mud and the beer, the blood and the cheers, I’ve seen champions come and go“. The faint smell of cigarette smoke joins the post-rainstorm aroma to create the perfect concert atmosphere. The crowd has gathered from Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to hear Bruce’s triumphant vocals.
And Bruce didn’t let anyone down.
The concert raged on for three and a half hours, as Philadelphia joined in celebrating the American Dream while remembering its dark beginnings. Songs about anger, love, hate, and war filled the cloudy sky. In the middle of his set, Bruce pauses.
He remembers writing a song one summer evening, when fireflies filled the sky. He then turns to the crowd and asks for one favor–to allow him to immerse himself in that night. In unison, Philadelphia pulls out their cell phones, creating the illusion of twinkling fireflies in the night sky. Bruce sheds a tear of nostalgia, smiles, and whispers “Thank You” into the microphone and begins his next number.