‘Santa’ Boss was coming to town…

After a 2 and 1/2 hour show and a long ride home, some rest, and my voice not as hoarse as yesterday, I’m still speechless and borrow a review from Backstreets (couldn’t agree more):

December 13 / Cologne, GER / Koln Arena

A smoking show, both literally and figuratively — the Koln Arena must be one of the last such venues where lighting up is still permitted, and when the lights came up they revealed quite a cloud overhead. A surprisingly simlar set to the previous night, considering it’s just a couple hours’ drive. But the enthisiastic Cologne crowd, on their feet all night, set this one apart — and who can complain about “Because the Night” two nights in a row? “The Promised Land” had that newly added “People Get Ready” gospel coda again, too. “Kitty’s Back” was absolutely smoking, particularly Roy’s solo — a killer, jazzy improvisation, which Bruce echoed as he followed it with an extended solo of his own.

The end of “American Land” brought a patented James Brown routine, as Bruce fell over backward, “exhausted,” still on the floor as the band went into a bonus “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” Nils and Steven helped him up to sing, and a special guest joined in, too. “Wolfgang, do you believe in Santa Claus?” Bruce cried to Wolfgang Niedecken — like Joe Grushecky in Pittsburgh, you can pretty much bank on Niedecken joining in when Bruce comes to Deutschland. The German rocker didn’t really seem to know the song, rarely stepping to the mic, but all eyes were on Bruce anyway, especially once he put that Santa hat on. How does he manage to make that thing look good? Tilting it at a rakish angle, twirling the pom-pom around like a helicopter… no one wears a Santa hat like Bruce. Hey, the guy’s a professional.

Setlist:
Radio Nowhere / The Ties That Bind / Lonesome Day / Gypsy Biker / Magic / Reason to Believe / Because the Night / She’s the One / Livin’ in the Future / The Promised Land / Waitin’ on a Sunny Day / The River / I’ll Work for Your Love / Devil’s Arcade / The Rising / Last to Die / Long Walk Home / Badlands
* * *
Girls in Their Summer Clothes / Kitty’s Back / Born to Run / Dancing in the Dark / American Land / Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

Clips from Cologne