02 November 2019 (gig)
05 November 2019
Steven Van Zandt had recently cancelled most of the final leg of the “Summer of Sorcery” tour (with Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul) after a case of sinusitis had become a problem for him to undertake the remaining dates.
However, he is playing a couple of gigs that were already scheduled, and the band performed on November 2, 2019 at the Chevalier Theatre in Medford, Massachusetts. The final night of the tour will be at the Beacon Theater in New York City on November 6, 2019, and will reportedly be filmed (and rumors abound that his long-time crony, Bruce Springsteen, will make an appearance at the New York show).
As sinusitis is very uncomfortable, Van Zandt has lots of gusto to even sing at all with the illness. Still, he soldiered on through a 24-song set that began with a rousing "Communion," "Camouflage of Righteousness," and an electric "Party Mambo!"
"Education," a hearty rocker and a nod to school teachers from the "Summer of Sorcery" disc (Van Zandt has long supported educators and offered free tickets to teachers on his "Soulfire Teacher Solidarity Tour" in 2018).
Very willing to include his massive onstage band members into the spotlight, Van Zandt introduced multi-instrumentalist, Lowell "Banana" Levinger, a founding member of The Youngbloods. Levinger re-created his keyboard opening on a cover of The Youngbloods 1969 classic, "On Sir Francis Drake," which morphed into "I Visit the Blues," where Van Zandt tore off some steamy and tasteful Blues guitar heroics.
Vibrant takes of "Gravity" and "Los Desaparecidos" led to Van Zandt changing courses, as he and band began a three-song tribute to his fellow New Jersey comrades, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, and tore off great versions of "Little Girl So Fine," "Trapped Again," and "Love on the Wrong Side of Town."
Before launching "A World of Our Own” (another new cut from "Summer of Sorcery"), Van Zandt spoke of the unjustly overlooked women pioneers of the '60s and gave shout-outs to women Rock-band pioneers as the Ace of Cups (who regrouped two years ago and released a fantastic self-titled album in 2018), and Girl Groups as The Ronettes (Van Zandt has worked with Ronettes’ lead voice, Ronnie Spector, and penned her song, "Baby, Please Don't Go"), The Crystals, The Shangri-Las, and a myriad of others. "A World of Our Own” pays tribute to these groups with a tribute to Phil Spector's “Wall of Sound” production method that celebrated that era quite grandly.
As Van Zandt has been quite political in his solo career, he said he has been giving it a break lately, as he stated that the world is now talking politics "24 hours a day," and pulled out a great version of his politically-charged 1984 track, "I Am a Patriot" (which has been covered by other socially-conscious Rockers as Jackson Browne and Pearl Jam).
The Blue-Eyed-Soul of "Forever" (from his debut disc “Men Without Women”), which was a quite popular video in 1982 on MTV, ended the set. A five-song encore (the group took a bow, but did not waste time leaving the stage and went straight into the encore after the bows) began with the title cut from "Summer of Sorcery," which led into Van Zandt plugging Springsteen’s now movie, "Western Stars" and did a cover of The Boss' "Tucson Train."
A raucous "Soul Power Twist" led into Van Zandt’s powerhouse 1985 track, "Sun City," an anti-apartheid anthem that shined a light of the former segregation issues in South Africa, and was very responsible to the abashment of apartheid in 1994.
A poignant “Out of the Darkness" ended the night and, after the Beacon Theater show this week, Van Zandt will finally get to take a break from the road and rest up a bit. Though that may not be that long, as rumors of a Springsteen and The E Street Band tour in 2020 are popping up everywhere.