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Exuberant Springsteen launches first tour in six years

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — It’s been six years since Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band embarked on a major tour.

Judging by the first show Wednesday night in Tampa, Florida, you’d never know it. The Boss and his band served notice they are back.

At just under three hours, it wasn’t quite one of the marathon performances the 73-year-old Springsteen is best known for. But kicking off with “No

Surrender” and finishing with a solo acoustic “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” Springsteen was in fine voice, and his big band matched his energy.

There were 19 musicians on the Amalie Arena stage at various points during the show, including the core of Springsteen’s wife, singer Patti Scialfa, bandana-wearing guitarist Stevie Van Zandt, fellow guitarist Nils Lofgren, drummer Max Weinberg, bassist Garry Tallent and keyboardist Roy Bittan.

Missing of course was the original “Big Man,” sax player Clarence Clemons, who died in 2011. But his nephew Jake Clemons didn’t miss a beat and ripped off some gorgeous solos throughout the night. He was backed by a brass section that rounded out the big sound. Springsteen’s devoted fans ate it all up, with 20,000 people in the arena standing for almost the entire show.

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