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With his new Columbia Records album, The Rising, hitting the top spot on this week's HITS Top 50 while garnering more than twice as many first-week sales as he's ever experienced, Springsteen began singing the title track in near-darkness, the full stage lights coming on when he reached the rousing chorus about resurrection.

MEET THE OLD BOSS

Springsteen Tour Gets Underway in New Jersey After Album Bows at #1
Bruce Springsteen had more than 500,000 reasons to celebrate as he opened his latest national tour at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey last night, within sight of N.Y.C.'s altered skyline, for a rabid hometown audience.

With his new Columbia Records album, The Rising, hitting the top spot on this week's HITS Top 50 while garnering more than twice as many first-week sales (532k) as he's ever experienced (see hitsdailydouble.com, 8/6), Springsteen began singing the title track in near-darkness, the full stage lights coming on when he reached the rousing chorus about resurrection.

Fully half of the 22-song set came from his new album, whose themes are Springsteen's response to the events of last Sept. 11.

The concert tour will travel to 39 cities in North America and seven more in Europe for the first leg of what is expected to be a year-long jaunt.

Springsteen has said he was inspired to make the new album partly by a fan's shout, ``We need you,'' when he was taking his kids to the beach shortly after the attacks. It is his first rock album since 1984 recorded with his longtime group, the E Street Band.

During the second song, "Lonesome Day,'' Springsteen urged the audience to raise their hands, gospel-style, during a chorus of "it's all right.''

The crowd predictably greeted the superstar with cries of "Bruuuuuce" and cheered lustily when Clarence Clemons took his first sax solo during the evening's third song, the classic "Prove It All Night."

In addition to the new songs, Springsteen and the band performed several old favorites during the two hour, 25-minute set, including "Darkness on the Edge of Town," "Promised Land," "Born to Run,'' "Glory Days,'' "Thunder Road'' and "Born in the USA.''

"I'm excited, too,'' he said at one point when the audience refused to quiet down.

NEAR TRUTHS:
DEVELOPING STORIES
The kids are almighty. (8/3a)
LEADING OFF:
RON’S BIG RUN
Not your father's Columbia (8/3a)
ON THE COVER
Happier days are here again. (8/3a)
AN AUGUST HITS LIST
Look at the guns on these giants. (8/3a)
GRAMMY CHEW: SEEING BIEBER
It's high time for Justice in the Academy. (8/4a)
NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS
From tender shoots to mighty oaks.
MARKETSHARE MANIA
Let's do the numbers.
DELTA VARIANT
It is not the name of a Henry Miller novel.
IS IT TIME FOR ANOTHER ROCK STORY?
Could be. Dunno.
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