Bruce Springsteen The O2 Arena London 19th December 2007
My interest in Springsteen renewed, I decided to go and see this gig at London’s O2 Arena, which fell just before Christmas 2007. This was my 4th visit to the O2 in 2007, following on from concerts by the Stones, Streisand, and Zeppelin. I had a seated ticket right up the back of the arena, but managed to swap it for a standing ticket at the box office. This was the last date of the “Magic” tour and Bruce opened with “Radio Nowhere” which seemed to be played everywhere at the time.
“This is a really big building,” said Springsteen, continuing “That’s okay, coz we’re the big building killers.” He added, “Also known as dead ass killers, for those of you still in your seats!” This was another excellent show by Springsteen. I was pleased that he included “Because the Night”. During the encore, Bruce introduced Clarence as “the next King of England!”, Clarence soloed extensively, to big cheers from the crowd, on “Jungleland.” Given the time of year, we just knew what the last song was going to be. Bruce asked us all “Do you believe in Santa Claus?” followed by lots of Santa Claus hats being thrown onstage, which Bruce and the band picked up and wore. He finished: “Happy holidays from the E Street Band” and “We’ll see you in the summer!” Setlist: Radio Nowhere; No Surrender; Night; Lonesome Day; Gypsy Biker; Magic; Reason to Believe; Because the Night; She’s the One; Livin’ in the Future; The Promised Land; Waitin’ on a Sunny Day; Working on the Highway; Racing in the Street; Devil’s Arcade; The Rising; Last to Die; Long Walk Home; Badlands.
Encore: Girls in Their Summer Clothes; Jungleland; Born to Run; Dancing in the Dark; American Land; Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.
I’ve already blogged on the Bruce concerts I attended in Glasgow, Sunderland and Leeds. Time to move to another act tomorrow.
Archive for the ‘Bruce Springsteen’ Category
Bruce Springsteen The O2 Arena London 19th December 2007
Bruce Springsteen Dublin The Point The Seeger Sessions tour 19th Nov 2006
In 2006 I was travelling to Dublin on a regular basis and often tried to arrange my trips around concerts. This didn’t usually work out, but this was one of the few occasions when it did. At the time, I’d lost touch with Bruce Springsteen, but my interest in his music was reignited when I heard the Seeger sessions CD. I read the very positive reviews of the album, and I liked the concept: Bruce returning to the roots music which inspired him, and those who influenced him. I missed the tour when it first visited the UK, and kicked myself when I read the rave reviews of the concerts. When Bruce added further dates including a three night stint at the Point, Dublin, I decided to try and get tickets and arrange my next trip to the city around the concert. My plan worked, and I flew over to Dublin on the Sunday morning, attended the concert on the Sunday evening, and went to meetings on Monday, returning home Monday evening.
The Point was a concert venue on the site of an old train depot along the dockland, off O’Connell Street. It operated during the period 1988 to 2007, and played host to the world’s top acts. In 2007 it was redeveloped as an O2 arena with a capacity of 14,000 (the old Point held 8,000). Several bands recorded live albums at the Point, including two which I attended: this series of concerts by Springsteen, and a two night stay by David Bowie.
This was a truly amazing and joyous concert. How could it be anything else? Springsteen singing those simple class gems of Americana with his Seeger sessions band in a lovely, relatively small, venue in Dublin; a city whose people are renowned for song and singing and for taking acts to their hearts. I just knew that this was going to be a special evening. From the minute I entered the Point, I could feel the atmosphere, and the cameras and mikes all over the auditorium made doubly sure that the Dublin crowd was going to give Bruce a reception like no other. From the minute that Springsteen came on stage, held his acoustic guitar high while strumming away at it, standing in line with his massed group of players, the whole hall was singing along as one, and the power and atmosphere continued at full pelt for a couple of hours. There were smiles on all of the band members’ faces, you could see that they were all enjoying the experience and the reaction from the Dublin crowd. There was a sense of a mass party, a celebration, and a religious, gospel gathering, all rolled into one. It was unlike any other performance I have been to, and easily matched the previous Springsteen shows I had been to. At the end of the show, the band brought all of their families, kids and the crew on to the stage, and the whole crowd gave the performer, all their people, and themselves, an ovation that seemed to go on for ever. As we all wandered out into the cold Dublin air, and made our way back along the road to O’Connell Street, we knew we had all been part of something special. I have the DVD, which was drawn from selections across the three nights at the Point, and it captures the excitement and joyous mood of the evening. I was a Springsteen fan again, and have seen him four time since, at concerts in Hampden Park Glasgow, The O2 London, Stadium of Light Sunderland and Leeds Arena.
Setlist: Atlantic City; John Henry; Old Dan Tucker; The Ghost of Tom Joad; Mary Don’t You Weep; Jesse James; Further On (Up the Road); Erie Canal; For You; My Oklahoma Home; If I Should Fall Behind; Mrs. McGrath; How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?; Jacob’s Ladder; Long Time Comin’; Jesus Was an Only Son; Open All Night; Pay Me My Money Down; We Shall Overcome; Blinded by the Light; When the Saints Go Marching In; This Little Light of Mine; American Land
Band (this was a bog band!): Bruce Springsteen (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Sam Bardfeld (violin, vocals); Art Baron (sousaphone, trombone, mandolin, penny whistle, euphonium); Frank Bruno (acoustic guitar, vocals, field drum); Jeremy Chatzky (bass guitar, double bass; Larry Eagle (drums, percussion); Clark Gayton (trombone, vocals, percussion); Charles Giordano (accordion, piano, Hammond organ, vocals); Curtis King Jr. (vocals, percussion); Greg Leisz (banjo, vocals); Lisa Lowell (vocals, percussion); Ed Manion (tenor and baritone saxophones, vocals, percussion); Cindy Mizelle (vocals, percussion); Curt Ramm (trumpet, vocals, percussion); Marty Rifkin (steel guitar, dobro, mandolin); Patti Scialfa (acoustic guitar, vocals); Marc Anthony Thompson (acoustic guitar, vocals); Soozie Tyrell (violin, vocals).
Bruce Springsteen St James Park Newcastle 4th June 1985
Four years on from his tremendous performance at the City Hall, Bruce Springsteen was back in Newcastle to headline two nights at St James Park, the home of Newcastle United Football Club, as part of the Born in the USA tour. The tour also called at Wembley Stadium for three nights, and included a show at Roundhay Park, Leeds. This was Springsteen’s biggest and most successful tour to date, and ran from June 1984 until October 1985. One major change in the E Street band was the departure of guitarist Steven Van Zandt who had decided to go solo. He was replaced by Nils Lofgren, whose onstage gymnastics added a new dimension to the show. The tour also gave fans an opportunity to see the new, super fit and muscly Bruce, he had been training heavily in preparation for the marathon performances he would deliver each and every night.
I went along with a group of mates to the first of the two concerts. Bruce and the band took to the stage early, around 6pm, and treated the sold out crowd to a lengthy, high energy performance which ran to over three and a half hours. Bruce ran on stage, and bang bang it was straight into “Born in the USA” and away we went. I enjoyed the gig, and the crowd certainly did, but I also felt that something had been lost in the transformation to stadium rock.To be honest “Born in the USA” isn’t my favourite Springsteen album. I much prefer his finely crafted stories of the American dream as told on “Born to Run”, to the rousing stadium rock anthems of “Born in the USA”. Having said that, the recent Bruce shows I have seen have been examples of how an artist can transcend the boundaries of stadium rock and relate directly to his audience in a much more intimate way. One things for sure, in 1985 Bruce was performing at the top of his game, and setting a standard for stadium rock that others would attempt to follow.
I foolishly lost touch with Bruce Springsteen after this concert, and it was some years before I went to see him again.
Setlist: Born in the U.S.A.; Badlands; Out in the Street; Johnny 99; Atlantic City; The River; Working on the Highway; Trapped; Prove It All Night; Glory Days; The Promised Land; My Hometown; Thunder Road; Cover Me; Dancing in the Dark; Hungry Heart; Cadillac Ranch; Downbound Train; I’m on Fire; Pink Cadillac; Racing in the Street; Rosalita (Come Out Tonight); Born to Run; Bobby Jean; Ramrod; Twist and Shout
Bruce Springsteen Newcastle City Hall 11th May 1981
This was Springsteen’s first real UK tour, his first visit six years earlier being limited to two concerts in London. The Newcastle gig sold out quickly and was the opening night of the UK leg of a European tour to promote Bruce’s new album “The River”. Although the ticket says 31st March, the gig was actually on the 11th May – the whole tour was rescheduled after Bruce fell ill (thanks Kevin). It was an epic concert. Bruce tore the City Hall apart; this is one of the best shows I have ever witnessed in the City Hall, or anywhere else for that matter. We had tickets pretty close to the front, really close to Bruce. The concert was a marathon and a demonstration of exactly how to play rock’n’roll; pure, with passion, honest, joyous. Bruce made it look so easy, so natural, and you just knew that he was enjoying the gig as much as we were. He started with the coolest cover of Elvis “Follow that Dream”. Bruce has a knack of choosing less than obvious tunes to cover, wearing his influences on his sleeve, and making them his own, while retaining the feel and soul of the original. Everything was just right that night, Bruce’s performance, the tightness of the E Street band, the crowd reaction. There was a telepathy between Springsteen, the band and the audience, that brought us all together in an unforgettable experience. At one point Bob Smeaton, who sang in local band White Heat at the time and was sitting down front, jumped up on stage. He was soon escorted back to his seat by the bouncers.
A totally amazing concert. Just writing about it brings back so many strong memories of the energy and power we all experienced in the City Hall that night.
Setlist: Follow That Dream, Prove It All Night, Out in the Street, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Independence Day, Who’ll Stop the Rain, Two Hearts, The Promised Land, This Land Is Your Land, The River, Badlands, Thunder Road, Cadillac Ranch, Sherry Darling, Hungry Heart, Because the Night, You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch), Wreck on the Highway, Racing in the Street, Backstreets, Candy’s Room, Ramrod, Point Blank, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).
Encore: Born to Run , Detroit Medley , Rockin’ All Over the World
Bruce Springsteen Hammersmith Odeon London 24th November 1975
I’d read the famous report which famously claimed, “I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen,” and was originally written by Landau’s in a 1974 edition of the USA magazine “The Real Paper”, and I’d also heard the single “Born to Run” booming out of my radio. I read that Springsteen was finally coming to the UK, and was playing a show in London at Hammersmith Odeon on Tuesday 18th November 1975. Should I go? I wouldn’t usually travel to London to see a guy whose songs I didn’t know. But there seemed to be something special about this guy. The reports I’d read suggested that he was the “new Dylan” with shades of Elvis thrown in for good measure. I talked to my mates. No-one really knew who Springsteen was or fancied going to see him. By then the concert was sold out anyway, but a second concert had been added on the following Monday 24th November 1975. I passed on the first gig, but still kept the idea of going to see him at the second concert alive in my mind. I think I may have read a review of the first show, which was ok. I can’t be sure. Anyway something convinced me that I had to see this guy. That is was going to be something special. So on the Monday morning I decided I would make the 500+ mile round trip to London to try and get into the concert. I didn’t have a ticket, and I knew demand would be high, but hey it wouldn’t do any harm to try. I go the bus to town, bought a day return to London, caught a train to Newcastle, and got on the next train to London. As I walked along the street from the tube I could see Hammersmith Odeon. Above the doors the sign proclaimed: “Finally London is ready for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band”. The first thing I noticed was that the posters said that the show didn’t start until 9pm. The time was around 6pm. I’d expected the concert to start at 7.30pm and the late start time worried me. If I did get in, would I make the last train home (which was shortly after midnight). Anyway, I put such concerts to the back of my mind and set about the task of scoring a ticket. I started to talk to the touts outside the venue. “Oh going to be tricky. Yeh, I can get you a ticket but it’ll cost you.” was the answer I got. As the time passed and it got closer to the doors opening around 8pm, I was offered a few tickets. The prices ranged from £20 upwards for a seat, which was a hell of a lot of money at the time, and more that I had with me. Finally one of the tours came up to me. “Are you still looking for a ticket? I have a cheap one here. Its a £1 standing ticket, and you can have it for £10.” That was almost all the money I had, and would leave me just enough for my tube fare back to Kings Cross. So I bought it and entered the venue. There was an air of anticipation in the air. Simon Frith called it “an odd buzz because everyone was expecting something but no one knew what” in Creem (“Casing The Promised Land: Bruce Springsteen at Hammersmith Odeon, Frith, 1975). Springsteen and the E Street Band came on stage at 9pm. My ticket allowed me to stand at the back of the stalls, the view wasn’t too bad actually. They started with “Thunder Road”. Bruce had a wooly hat on his head, a casual shirt and a pair of jeans. The first thing that struck me was how tight the band was. The sax player, Clarence Clemons came to the front a lot, recreating the image from the front cover of “Born to Run”. I didn’t know any of the songs, other than “Born to Run” which came quite early in the set, but I’d read enough reviews to recognise some of them, simply by their title. He played some classic covers, including Manfred Mann’s “Pretty Flamingo”. The main set was quite long, fast paced, and very intense throughout. It’s generally recognised that this night was a much better (and longer) performance than the first concert in London the week before, which got quite mixed reviews from the press. Bruce and the band returned for several encores, which just seemed to go and on for ever. During the encores Springsteen took us through his influences, playing classic rock’n’roll by Elvis and Chuck Berry, and the woderful Jackie De Shannon song “When You Walk in the Room”. Bruce and the band were really into the groove by now, and it was hot, tight, stunning. I started to worry about missing the train home. I left at 11.30pm, just as he was finishing. I ran down the road to the tube, jumped on one. I made my train just in time, and it got me back home around 8am, tired, worn out, but with a feeling that I had witnessed something pretty special.
As soon as I had a little money again, I went out and bought “Born to Run” and played it again and again. I was a convert.
Setlist: Thunder Road, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Spirit in the Night, Lost in the Flood, She’s the One, Born to Run; Growin’ Up; It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City; Pretty Flamingo (Manfred Mann cover); Backstreets; Sha La La; Jungleland; Rosalita.
Encore: 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy); Wear My Ring Around Your Neck; For You; When You Walk in the Room; Quarter to Three; Twist and Shout; Carol; Little Queenie
Bruce Springsteen Leeds Direct Arena 24 July 20
Unbelievable show by Bruce last night in Leeds. Leeds First Direct Arena is a brand new purpose-buily 13,500 seater arena sited right in the centre of Leeds. Last night was the first concert at the venue, although the official opening night is reserved for Elton John in September (or the Kaiser Chiefs! There has been some controversy and bad feeling as to who the actual opener is). The venue has an intimate feel about it, and reminded me of a much larger version of the Odeon and other types of cinema that I went to when I was a kid. There was a lot of anticipation for this gig. Indoor arena shows are rare events for The Boos these days, so fans travelled from all over the work for this concert. Tickets sold out in a few minutes and were selling for around £500 each on secondary sites, although prices from the many touts outside the venue were reportedly around £150 a pop. Bruce certainly lived up to the hype. He came on stage shortly before 8pm and played until after 11pm. The show featured lots of requests, taken from the sign waving fans down in the pit, some of whom had been queueing outside the venue for several days to secure a place down the front. Bruce put his heart and soul into the performance, thanking the fans, and naming individuals in the pit who have attended throughout the European tour. At one point he crowd surfed across the hands of fans down the front and later in the show he pulled a whole family (mum, dad, and 5 or 6 daughters) up on to stage to dance with him. The set was a mix of Bruce favourites and some lesser known tracks, delving far back into this catalogue. He played a great version of Credence’s Bad Moon Rising. Another highlight for me was Because the Night. The sound was very clear and loud. He showed us last night just what a rock show can be like. Its going to be a long time before any future visitor to the new arena tops it. Just incredible. I was lucky enough to witness Bruce’s first UK show at Hammersmith in 1975, and saw him a couple of times after that, at Newcastle City Hall and St James Park Newcastle. I then lost interest in him, and didn’t pick up on him again until around 10 years ago. Since then I’ve seen him at London O2, Dublin Point, Hampden Park, and Sunderland Stadium of Light. Last night was the best I’ve seen him since those early shows at Hammersmith and the City Hall, and I’m hooked again. Setlist: Roulette; My Love Will Not Let You Down; No Surrender; Something in the Night; American Skin (41 Shots); The Promised Land; Hungry Heart; Local Hero; Gotta Get That Feeling; Bad Moon Rising; Thundercrack; Wrecking Ball; Death to My Hometown; This Depression; Because the Night; Darlington County; Shackled and Drawn; Waitin’ on a Sunny Day; The Rising; Land of Hope and Dreams. Encore: Secret Garden; Atlantic City; Badlands; Born to Run; Dancing in the Dark; Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out; Shout. Encore 2: If I Should Fall Behind; Thunder Road.
Springsteen and I Boldon Cineworld 22 July 2013
Springsteen is the latest act to grace the movie screen with a special one-night only screening. “Springsteen and I” is a documentary directed by Baillie Walsh and produced by Ridley Scott, which attempts to document the life and career of The Boos through the eyes of his fans throughout the world. The film was released last night, July 22 2013, and simultaneously broadcast to over 50 countries. Laura and I attended the screening at Cineworld Boldon. I am going to see Bruce at the newly built Leeds Arena tomorrow, so this was a good taster to get me in the mood. The film shows the humanity of the man, and how his music has touches so many people. But most of all, Bruce comes over as a really nice guy who cares about his fans and wants to spend time with some of them. There are some amusing, and some very touching, moments like the guy dressed as Elvis whose lifelong ambition was to sing with Bruce. So he turns up down the front and is invited on stage to sing “All Shook Up” with the Boss. And the who has just broken up with his girl, and turns up in the pit with a sign “My girlfriend just dumped me”. Bruce gets the guy up, hugs him and tells him that everything will be OK. The film was followed by some live footage of Bruce live in Hyde Park last year. Roll on Wednesday night. Hope he plays all of Born to Run.