Apr 5, 2023 - Things to Do

Springsteen and Cleveland: A match made in blue-collar heaven

Born to drench. Photo: Danny Clinch

Nearly 20,000 people will descend upon downtown Cleveland tonight to see one of the most beloved performers in music history.

Driving the news: Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band bring their latest tour to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse at 7:30pm.

  • A few tickets are still available for as low as $76.

Why it matters: No musician has delivered more legendary concerts in Northeast Ohio over the past 50 years than Springsteen.

  • Tonight's show is The Boss' first stop in Cleveland since 2016's The River Tour.

The big picture: Local music fans have considered Springsteen an adopted son since WMMS' Kid Leo became one of the first disc jockeys in the country to play Springsteen's music in the early 1970s.

Flashback: Springsteen has performed in Northeast Ohio more than 40 times, including some of the most iconic shows of his career.

  • The Aug. 9, 1978, concert at the Agora — which aired live on WMMS — remains one of the most coveted live Springsteen bootlegs.
  • Later that year, The Boss played back-to-back nights — Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 — at Richfield Coliseum. During the first show, a fan threw a firecracker on stage, hitting Springsteen in the face. (He recovered and finished the show.)
  • Springsteen also headlined Cleveland Stadium twice — once on 1985's Born in the U.S.A. Tour and again 10 years later at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The intrigue: Springsteen's current tour is one of his most controversial.

  • A much-maligned ticketing rollout saw fans in most cities paying as much as $5,000 per seat through Ticketmaster's dynamic pricing model, which causes costs to fluctuate based on supply and demand, like an Uber ride.

What they're saying: Chakerian says that despite the ticketing drama and Springsteen's being 73, fans know what they're getting at tonight's concert.

  • "He always puts everything he has into his performance," Chakerian says. "Few people can go out there and command the audience such as he does."

The bottom line: Stellar reviews of the tour so far suggest Cleveland fans will get their money's worth.

  • Concerts have approached the three-hour mark and featured songs from every era of Springsteen's career.

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