See also: Our Springsteen slideshow

We've been watching Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play in concert for decades, and it seems as if he and his crew get better with every tour. How? With few rare exceptions, aren't rockers supposed to kind of get stale once they get older?

Whether it's today's troubled zeitgeist or solid new material from the album Wrecking Ball or the recent passing of longtime saxophonist Clarence Clemons, Springsteen was inspired and inspiring in a nearly three-hour show, once again making fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena true believers in the power of rock 'n' roll.

Springsteen and the E Street Band played eight songs from the new album, including rousing renditions of “We Take Care of Our Own,” “Easy Money,” “Death to My Hometown,” and “We Are Alive.”

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello played on “”Death To My Hometown” and “Jack of All Trades,” and added guitar work to Springsteen's “The Ghost of Tom Joad” — a song that may have received the loudest and most sustained applause of the night when it was over.

Coincidentally or not, Springsteen sang “My City of Ruins” only days away from April 29, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots. The song was quite relevant for a city that was literally torn apart in 1992 and still needs to rebuild. (Read this week's cover story, “Then and Now: L.A. Riots, 20 Years Later.”)

Credit: Timothy Norris

Credit: Timothy Norris

Springsteen fans who show up at concerts usually know most, if not all, of the lyrics of such live standards as “Badlands,” “Born To Run,” and “Dancing in the Dark,” which were included last night. But they also knew word for word all of his newest material.

Springsteen will play another show at the Sports Arena tonight. If it's anything like last night's, they'll be in for a concert of joy, hope, love, and defiance. There was an edge to the whole evening. It wasn't just a celebration.

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