Back in the early-to-mid '70s, New Jersey songwriter Bruce Springsteen couldn't muster up national traction. His records had garnered some critical support, but rock 'n' roll stardom eluded the scrappy guitarist/singer. Except in Phoenix. The Boss was a big deal here in Arizona before most anyone outside of his Jersey/NYC stronghold got hip. The love here has always stuck with Springsteen, who brought his The River tour to Talking Stick Arena this spring. Celebrating the release of that classic double album, Springsteen brought a boatload of warm feelings for his Phoenician crowd, digging into a marathon set (more than three hours) and offering up the entirety of The River, along with some of his biggest hits. The highlights were many, but it was hard to beat Arizona-based guitarist Nils Lofgren's fiery solo on "Because the Night," or when the E-Street band eulogized the departed saxophonist Clarence Clemons on "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out." It was one for the history books, and made it clear that the Boss loves Phoenix, and Phoenix loves the Boss.