As a hometown show, (although Bruce was living in California at the time), you would expect something extra and with a rare performance of "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't do)" it certainly delivers, an excoriating version of "Living Proof" as well as one of the few full band versions of "Born In The USA" that I've thoroughly enjoyed. Context is all in that regard, coming as it does straight after "Souls Of The Departed"
"Man's Job" falls a little flat but "Roll Of The Dice" is a knockout. What struck me was just how much of one of his greatest songs, "Land Of Hope And Dreams", (more on that here), is musically, and in the live performance, similar in sound and theme to "Roll Of The Dice", (particularly from 5:12 onward on the Meadowlands version) . Add in the embryonic version of the riff that is heard in the instrumental part of "Living Proof", (from 3:06 on the Meadowlands version), and the genesis of the "Land Of Hope And Dreams" seems clear.
A review of that show is not the primary focus of this post however, rather the contrast between the band that played on that tour and his rather more famous companions, The E-Street Band.
'Tight But Loose' is the famous description of the E-Street Band, 'precise and powerful' is how I would describe the Other Band. If the E-Street Band is a runaway train, or a supertanker, the Other Band is a hydraulic ram or a controlled explosion. Both can flatten you, but will do it in a different way.
You explicitly hear in the Other Band sound, with the great gospel vocals, a call back to the rock and soul review Bruce was trying to create in the early years, pre-E-Street Band as detailed in his book.
They both have their place, but because of nostalgia, the albums they are associated with and the love of the fans the E-Street Band will always be in pole position.
Here's to both, and the "Living Proof"