The Rising Tour
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The Rising Tour
The Rising Tour
Tour by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Associated albumThe Rising
Start dateAugust 7, 2002
End dateOctober 4, 2003
No. of shows120
Box officeUS $221 million ($301 in 2018 dollars)[1]
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert chronology

The Rising Tour was a lengthy, worldwide, top-grossing concert tour featuring Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band that took place in arenas and stadiums over 2002 and 2003. It followed the release of their 2002 album The Rising.


Tour preparations began in late July and early August 2002 with closed and then semi-open rehearsals, and then several public rehearsal shows, at Asbury Park, New Jersey's Convention Hall, as well as a highly advertised early morning promotional appearance there on NBC's The Today Show. He also appeared on Late Night with David Letterman on CBS, NBC's Saturday Night Live, and Nightline on ABC.[2] His Nightline interview was one of the most revealing of his career.[3] Usually a very private person, Springsteen agreed to all of these appearances as part of the biggest promotional effort of his career for the tour and its album.

The first leg of the tour formally began on August 7, 2002 with an opening show in Springsteen's home floor of Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey. This commenced what Springsteen's management called their "Barnstorming" [1], playing 46 arena shows in 46 different cities in North America (39) and Western Europe (7) through the end of the year, ending on December 17 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The idea was to maximize the publicity effect of the tour for aiding sales of the already heavily promoted new album by visiting as many markets as possible. The attendant publicity would only be increased if tickets were hard to come by, which was the case in Springsteen hot spots which were accustomed to multiple-night stands. The strategy appeared to succeed, as The Rising did well commercially and became Springsteen's best-selling album of new material in 15 years.

After a break of more than two months in winter, the second leg of the tour began on February 28, 2003 with 7 more one-night stands in the United States. The band then travelled to Australia and New Zealand in March for five shows down under. They then quickly returned to North America for 6 more barnstorming shows in April, mostly in Canada.

After a three-week break, barnstorming was over and the promised third leg of multiple-show stands was on. The tour went back to Western Europe, this time satisfying much pent-up demand by playing 24 shows in May and June, all in stadiums, with multiple dates in cities where necessary. These dates began in Feyenoord Stadion in Rotterdam and ended in Stadio San Siro in Milan. Shows in Europe were hugely successful, and for example in Scandinavia, shows in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark sold out in a record two hours. Now it was time for North America to get the same treatment. From mid-July through early October, the band played 33 dates in stadiums (with an intentional emphasis on baseball parks as venues in addition to the usual professional football stadiums), mostly composed of multiple-night stands along the Eastern Seaboard where Springsteen was most popular, starting with what would become 10 shows in New Jersey's Giants Stadium. These were Springsteen's first full appearances in United States stadiums since the 1985 leg of his Born in the U.S.A. Tour, and included visits to icons such as Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium. The Rising Tour finally concluded on October 4, 2003 at Shea Stadium in New York City.

In all, the tour played 120 shows in 82 cities over a span of 14 months.

Tour dates

Date City Country Venue Attendance Revenue
North America
August 7, 2002 East Rutherford United States Continental Airlines Arena
August 10, 2002 Washington, D.C. MCI Center
August 12, 2002 New York City Madison Square Garden 18,725 / 18,725 $1,403,175
August 14, 2002 Cleveland Gund Arena 19,602 / 19,602 $1,470,150
August 15, 2002 Auburn Hills The Palace of Auburn Hills 19,177 / 19,177 $1,438,275
August 18, 2002 Las Vegas Thomas & Mack Center 14,196 / 14,500 $1,064,700
August 20, 2002 Portland Rose Garden Arena 10,576 / 14,446 $793,200
August 21, 2002 Tacoma Tacoma Dome 13,736 / 17,945 $987,750
August 24, 2002 Inglewood The Forum 17,466 / 17,466 $1,303,650
August 25, 2002 Phoenix America West Arena 13,830 / 13,830 $1,002,398
August 27, 2002 San Jose Compaq Center 17,137 / 17,137 $1,285,275
August 30, 2002 St. Louis Savvis Center 13,670 / 20,135 $915,500
September 22, 2002 Denver Pepsi Center 17,713 / 17,713 $1,343,452
September 24, 2002 Kansas City Kemper Arena 10,899 / 10,899 $800,136
September 25, 2002 Chicago United Center 20,119 / 20,119 $1,508,625
September 27, 2002 Milwaukee Bradley Center 19,131 / 19,131 $1,396,563
September 29, 2002 Fargo Fargodome
September 30, 2002 Saint Paul Xcel Energy Center 18,927 / 18,927 $1,391,235
October 4, 2002 Boston FleetCenter
October 6, 2002 Philadelphia First Union Center 19,738 / 19,738 $1,414,594
October 7, 2002 Buffalo HSBC Arena
October 14, 2002 Paris France Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy
October 16, 2002 Barcelona Spain Palau Sant Jordi
October 18, 2002 Bologna Italy Unipol Arena
October 20, 2002 Berlin Germany Velodrom
October 22, 2002 Rotterdam Netherlands Rotterdam Ahoy
October 24, 2002 Stockholm Sweden Globe Arena
October 27, 2002 London England Wembley Arena
North America
November 3, 2002 Dallas United States American Airlines Center
November 4, 2002 Houston Compaq Center
November 12, 2002 Cincinnati U.S. Bank Arena
November 14, 2002 Lexington Rupp Arena 9,507 / 11,500 $713,025
November 16, 2002 Greensboro Greensboro Coliseum 20,397 / 20,397 $1,487,411
November 19, 2002 Birmingham BJCC Arena 9,648 / 9,648 $670,000
November 21, 2002 Orlando TD Waterhouse Centre 13,375 / 13,375 $946,981
November 23, 2002 Miami American Airlines Arena
November 24, 2002 Tampa St. Pete Times Forum 19,644 / 19,644
December 2, 2002 Atlanta Philips Arena 17,408 / 17,408 $1,211,256
December 4, 2002 Pittsburgh Mellon Arena
December 5, 2002 Toronto Canada Air Canada Centre 19,060 / 19,060 $1,391,160
December 8, 2002 Charlotte United States Charlotte Coliseum 18,968 / 20,030 $1,396,425
December 9, 2002 Columbia Carolina Center 12,513 / 13,512 $903,225
December 13, 2002 Albany Pepsi Arena 16,015 / 16,015 $1,170,310
December 16, 2002 Columbus Schottenstein Center
December 17, 2002 Indianapolis Bankers Life Fieldhouse
February 28, 2003 Duluth Arena at Gwinnett Center
March 2, 2003 Austin Frank Erwin Center 10,110 / 15,900 $758,250
March 4, 2003 Jacksonville Jacksonville Coliseum 9,469 / 9,515 $690,077
March 6, 2003 Richmond Richmond Coliseum 13,424 / 13,424 $1,001,925
March 7, 2003 Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall 12,500 / 12,500
March 10, 2003 Providence Dunkin' Donuts Center 13,222 / 13,222 $982,500
March 11, 2003 Rochester Blue Cross Arena 12,426 / 12,426 $906,329
March 20, 2003 Melbourne Australia Etihad Stadium
March 22, 2003 Sydney Sydney Cricket Ground
March 25, 2003 Brisbane Brisbane Entertainment Centre
March 26, 2003
March 28, 2003 Auckland New Zealand Western Springs Stadium
North America
April 9, 2003 Sacramento United States ARCO Arena 14,285 / 14,763 $1,038,176
April 11, 2003 Vancouver Canada Pacific Coliseum 14,531 / 14,531 $1,137,832
April 13, 2003 Calgary Pengrowth Saddledome 13,891 / 13,891 $1,089,749
April 14, 2003 Edmonton Skyreach Centre 9,625 / 10,000 $741,444
April 18, 2003 Ottawa Corel Centre
April 19, 2003 Montreal Bell Centre 16,581 / 16,581 $1,316,961
May 6, 2003 Rotterdam Netherlands Feyenoord Stadion
May 8, 2003
May 10, 2003 Ludwigshafen Germany Sudweststadion
May 12, 2003 Brussels Belgium King Baudouin Stadium
May 15, 2003 Gijón Spain El Molinon
May 17, 2003 Barcelona Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic
May 19, 2003 Madrid Estadio La Peineta
May 22, 2003 Gelsenkirchen Germany Arena AufSchalke
May 24, 2003 Paris France Stade de France
May 26, 2003 London England Crystal Palace National Sports Centre
May 27, 2003
May 29, 2003 Manchester Old Trafford Cricket Ground
May 31, 2003 Dublin Ireland RDS Arena
June 8, 2003 Florence Italy Stadio Artemio Franchi
June 10, 2003 Munich Germany Olympiastadion
June 12, 2003 Hamburg Volksparkstadion
June 14, 2003 Copenhagen Denmark Parken Stadium
June 16, 2003 Helsinki Finland Helsinki Olympic Stadium
June 17, 2003
June 19, 2003 Oslo Norway Valle Hovin
June 21, 2003 Gothenburg Sweden Ullevi
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003 Vienna Austria Ernst-Happel-Stadion
June 28, 2003 Milan Italy Stadio San Siro
North America
July 15, 2003 East Rutherford United States Giants Stadium 566,560 / 566,560 $38,684,050
July 17, 2003
July 18, 2003
July 21, 2003
July 24, 2003
July 26, 2003
July 27, 2003
August 1, 2003 Foxborough Gillette Stadium 96,108 / 98,559 $7,107,215
August 2, 2003
August 6, 2003 Pittsburgh PNC Park 42,301 / 48,074 $3,137,575
August 8, 2003 Philadelphia Lincoln Financial Field 139,318 / 147,763 $10,342,060
August 9, 2003
August 11, 2003
August 13, 2003 Chicago U.S. Cellular Field 39,439 / 39,439 $2,970,543
August 16, 2003 San Francisco Pacific Bell Park 40,702 / 40,702 $3,134,054
August 17, 2003 Los Angeles Dodger Stadium 42,678 / 53,358 $2,826,215
August 28, 2003 East Rutherford Giants Stadium [a] [a]
August 30, 2003
August 31, 2003
September 6, 2003 Boston Fenway Park 70,827 / 70,827 $5,222,625
September 7, 2003
September 10, 2003 Toronto Canada Rogers Centre
September 13, 2003 Washington, D.C. United States FedExField 46,056 / 59,056 $3,326,995
September 14, 2003 Chapel Hill Kenan Stadium 26,501 / 39,607 $1,632,685
September 16, 2003 East Hartford Rentschler Field 51,569 / 66,000 $3,788,325
September 18, 2003
September 20, 2003 Corfu Darien Lake Performing Arts Center 11,951 / 19,999 $796,790
September 21, 2003 Detroit Comerica Park 27,728 / 37,437 $2,048,816
September 25, 2003 Denver Sports Authority Field at Mile High 35,679 / 37,500 $2,442,072
September 27, 2003 Milwaukee Miller Park 32,812 / 40,566 $2,451,588
October 1, 2003 New York City Shea Stadium 147,892 / 161,000 $10,858,610
October 3, 2003
October 4, 2003

The show

Not surprisingly, songs from The Rising played a key role in the structure of the tour's shows. Concerts typically began with "The Rising" followed by "Lonesome Day", both songs about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. New E Streeter Soozie Tyrell's violin played a prominent role in establishing the texture of these numbers, as it would throughout the concert. Two more September 11 songs, "Empty Sky" and "You're Missing" appeared soon after, to continue the mood; the latter featured an extended instrumental coda from the band, led by Danny Federici's organ. Typically seven or eight songs into the show, "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" provided the first buoyant, happy moments. Springsteen's first-ever use of recorded backing music took place on the mid-show "Worlds Apart", where Middle Eastern vocals were applied. The role of elongated band introductions song for this tour was taken by "Mary's Place", which also usually included interpolations of R&B classics. The main set closer was a final September 11 number, "Into the Fire", which relevant to the new album's themes emphasized togetherness and praise for sacrifice rather than the pure exuberance of previous tours' closers such as "Rosalita" and "Light of Day". (A few Rising songs were almost never played during the tour, including "Nothing Man", the quiet "Paradise", and the unusually rhythmic "Let's Be Friends".)

For the rest of the main set, a mixture of songs from throughout Springsteen's catalog would emerge. Set lists were unusually static during the barnstorming (perhaps due to not having to play multiple shows in a venue, although plenty of the faithful were travelling to multiple cities to see the tour), but gradually loosened up. One consistent mid-show mainstay was "Badlands", which never failed to bring audiences to their feet. The next-to-last spot in the main set was often reserved for Springsteen playing a heretofore unusual solo piano spot, running through an old classic such as "For You" or "Incident on 57th Street".

First encores of shows were typically fun and upbeat, featuring the return after a long absence of Springsteen's biggest hit single, "Dancing in the Dark" (in a more rock-oriented arrangement), mindless numbers such as "Ramrod", and concluding with his signature song, "Born to Run". Second encores were typically more thematic, centered around "My City of Ruins", the return of the full band version of "Born in the U.S.A.", and the benedictory "Land of Hope and Dreams".

Some of the second leg shows took place during the run-up to, and March 20, 2003 start of, the Iraq War. Springsteen took note of this, reviving his 1980s hit rendition of Edwin Starr's classic protest song "War" and opening the March 2 Frank Erwin Center show in United States President George W. Bush's old Austin, Texas backyard with it. All four Australian shows opened with an acoustic "Born in the U.S.A." before the band kicked in with "War". The March 22 show at Sydney Cricket Ground featured three large power blackouts, the first of which came after the opening chords of "War", but the crowd led Springsteen through mass sing-alongs to Max Weinberg's unamplified drums nonetheless.

Springsteen greeting fans around the time of his May 31, 2003 show at Dublin's RDS Arena.
Weather is no barrier to Bruce fans: House lights go up during the last encores, revealing an audience soaked by storms but still happy. Giants Stadium, July 21, 2003.

In the European stadium dates, the solo piano spot gave way to a rotating epic slot for "Jungleland", "Racing in the Street", and the like, and a new high-energy cover "Seven Nights to Rock" became a regular in the encores, as did extended boogie piano solos by Roy Bittan. The final European show in Milan's Stadio San Siro was said by some fans, as well as by Springsteen manager Jon Landau, to be "one of the four or five best Bruce shows of all time." [2] By the time Summer 2003 rolled around and the United States multiple night stadium dates were being played, the feel of the show became somewhat looser. As each show was about to begin, the stage video screens would show Springsteen and the band relaxedly walking in from backstage, while Frank Sinatra's classic recording of "Summer Wind" was aired. The second encores also brought a treat for audiences, as "Rosalita" made fully regular appearances for the first time since 1988.

During the ten Giants Stadium shows especially, Springsteen thanked those fans who were attending multiple shows and those who were coming from long distances or out of the country; the advent of robust Bruce-oriented online communities had made these practices easier. The final Giants Stadium show concluded with a performance of "Jersey Girl".

In the two shows immediately following the September 12, 2003 death of Johnny Cash, Springsteen paid tribute by opening each show with an acoustic rendition of Cash's "I Walk The Line".

The Rising Tour would come to a final conclusion in the early autumn with three nights in Shea Stadium, where a brouhaha emerged. The New York Police Department had given Springsteen a personal boat escort for the first show (in addition to giving E Streeter Max Weinberg an escort because he was running late). But then Springsteen had made a rare (for this tour) performance of "American Skin (41 Shots)", a song about the NYPD shooting of Amadou Diallo, in that show. The NYPD took revenge by removing Springsteen's escort for the second show. They were criticized by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others for doing this, and the escort was restored for the third and final night. [3] Bob Dylan was a surprise guest on that last night, with Springsteen saying, "We have my great friend and inspiration with us tonight, Mr. Bob Dylan ... we wouldn't be here tonight without him." [4] The two performed Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" together.

Songs performed

Cover songs
Soundchecked/on setlist, not played

Critical and commercial reception

Reviews of The Rising Tour were generally favorable.

A reviewer for PopMatters found an early New York City barnstorming show to be the first Springsteen show he'd seen that lived up to the classic Springsteen he imagined from the 1970s and early 1980s. [5] As a response to the tour's role in helping fans mourn after 9/11, David Segal wrote in a review which appeared the Washington Post, "Lordy, lordy, we needed that. We needed Bruce Springsteen even more than we thought, and we thought we needed him a lot."[4] reported that a May 2003 Munich show featured tight playing, and that the general admission "pit" was a Tower of Babel of different languages from fans come from all over Europe. [6] National Review Online thought that the tour had gotten much better in 2003 than it had been the year before and that a full-band "Incident on 57th Street" played in Philadelphia had been especially strong. [7]

E Street drummer Max Weinberg gave his own assessment: "Playing for a country that was so much in pain from the events of 9/11 made the Rising Tour so much more than a series of rock concerts. People looked to us -- actually they looked to the music -- to quiet their sorrows. At first it seemed like the responsibility hoisted on us was too much. How could rock musicians meet these expectations? But somehow we did it. Somehow the tour was a great success." [Santelli, p. 89]

The festive park scene in the Giants Stadium parking lot for banner-celebrated, 10-night stand of The Rising Tour during July 2003.

While Springsteen's popularity had dipped over the years in some southern and midwestern regions of the United States, it was still quite strong in Europe and along the United States coasts, as exemplified by the unprecedented 10 nights he played in outdoor football Giants Stadium in New Jersey, a ticket-selling feat that no other musical act can come close to. [8]. Reuters reported that those 10 nights alone resulted in 566,560 tickets being sold and a gross of $38.8 million, a world record for one engagement. [9] The Giants Stadium management reported that ticket buyers to those shows came from all 50 states and all over the world; they had celebrated the event by building a huge boardwalk and amusement park in the parking lot next to the stadium. [10]

Overall, according to Billboard Boxscore, the tour grossed $221.5 million over its two years. [11] Reuters reported a $172.7 million gross worldwide for 2003 [12], while Pollstar reported a $115.9 million gross within North America for 2003, the best of any act that year, and the second-best ever at the time. [13] Rolling Stone reported that Springsteen kept a bigger share of concert gross receipts than almost anyone, due to better deals with promoters and venues, to lower expenses for not having any fancy stage props or special effects, and to his New Jersey fans buying more merchandise than the average [14] (the Giants Stadium shows had specially numbered and colored T-shirts for each night of the stand).

Broadcasts and recordings

The first half of the October 16, 2002 show in Barcelona's Palau Sant Jordi was televised live across Europe on MTV Europe and VH1 UK. A tape of the broadcast was aired by CBS in the United States on February 28, 2003, one day prior to the United States summer stadium show tickets going on sale.

That entire concert was then released as a two-disc DVD, Live in Barcelona, on November 18, 2003, the first time any Springsteen concert had been officially released in full. The DVD opened with his performance of the title song, "The Rising".[2] It also included a documentary, Drop the Needle and Pray: The Rising on Tour, with interviews and additional concert snippets from some of the United States summer stadium dates, including a clip compilation from the shows at Fenway Park entitled "Night of the Living Boss". (The last three nights of the Giants Stadium stand both shows at Fenway Park and all three Shea Stadium shows were filmed in full, but have otherwise not seen release.)

The June 16, 2003 show at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium was released through the Bruce Springsteen Archives in October 2018. Live audio of this tour was noted to be difficult to release due to being recorded using proprietary audio software that has since become out of date.[5]


The E Street Band


Scialfa missed some shows in Europe due to family duties.

The only change from the 1999-2000 Reunion Tour line-up was the addition of Tyrell.

See also


  • Santelli, Robert. Greetings From E Street: The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Chronicle Books, 2006. ISBN 0-8118-5348-9.
  • Springsteen's official website does not have much on the 2002-2003 period anymore.
  • Shore Fire Media press release archives are useful for understanding scheme behind the tour.
  • Live in Barcelona DVD cover notes.
  •'s 2002 set lists and show descriptions and's 2003 set lists and show descriptions capture the contents and feel of each show; unfortunately, they are not structured as to allow direct linking to individual shows.
  • Killing Floor's concert database gives valuable coverage as well, but also does not support direct linking to individual dates.


  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800-". Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ a b Ritter, Jonathon (2010). Music in the Post-9/11 World. New York: Routledge. p. 81. ISBN 0-415-97807-6.
  3. ^ Roeser, Steve (1 January 2007). "A Tale of Two Springsteens: "The River" and "The Rising"". Goldmine. 33 (2): 18. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 12/04/11. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ Segal, David (12 August 2002). "Thanks, Boss; Bruce Springsteen Rises to the Occasion at MCI Center". Washington Post.
  5. ^
  6. ^


  1. ^ a b The score data is representative of the all shows at the Giants Stadium on July 15, 17-18, 21, 24, 26-27, and August 28, 30-31 respectively.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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