Sunday, 1 June 2008

Another evening, another Springsteen gig

It's 7.46 p.m. and I am standing with my daughter on the covering that hides the green that Wenger's men kick the leather on. At one end there is a stage. Huge. though expected, as I have been in this moment before eight or nine times.

Then it happens. The Boss is back, baptising the Emirates stadium with the first song. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out! Bloody hell, one of the best songs first? No other gig that I have ever been to has had the artist play one of their biggest hits at the start! The standard has been set, can he keep it up? Well, of course he can.

Of course he can, and he and the E Street do. All night long. Hit after hit after hit. The old ones and the young ones watch in awe as they are played one after the other with most of us 'in the know' taking our cues and singing all in the right places. When 'Thunder Road' is played, Bruce stands as we sing to him..

'Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright
Oh and that's alright with me'

He stands, he smiles and he knows. The audience is in the palm of his hand as we allow him to take us on his rock and roll ride.

For some of the crowd it must be their umpteenth gig, for a few it is their first. What will the few they make of the temple that is Springsteen?

In 2003, I got four tickets for Wembley Arena. I took all three of my kids to the gig in a old car that I prayed every mile would make it. The kids moaned and groaned all the way there asking why we are going to see a man play a guitar who was ten years older than their Dad. How can 'he' be 'that' good? I did not dare to mention that The Boss's sidekick another ten years older than him and decidedly the coolest man on the planet. That would have been the end and I am sure that when we arrived at Wembley they would have scampered into the London night.

We queued in the October night, listening to the sound check and I heard the moans once more. When we eventually got in, we were some fifteen metres from the front, standing amongst the variety of ages.

Then the band came on, walking methodically, to pick up their respective instruments.

From 'The Rising' to 'Thunder Road' and 23 songs in-between, he made me cry, laugh, sing, dance and made me reflect on things in my life. The kids were enthralled and captivated but most of all captured by the man and his band. My son went out and bought most of the records and my daughters 'have borrowed' ever since.

'Better than the records' they said but they missed the point there. The records only tell us what is in his mind, the concert shows us. 'He was THE best' they said and I did not disagree. 'Did you see when...', of course I did for I was there and absorbed it all. On the way back, with T shirts in hand that they still wear, they relived the concert for the two hour plus drive home. There was one happy dad in the car with three more converts to the message of the 'legendary' E Street band.

Friday night was the same though I only shared it with my eldest. Twenty eight songs and two of my favourites that I had not heard live ever before ('Candy's Room' and 'Point Blank'). The same emotions, the same feelings and the same escape from real life for a few short hours. To say that the band was good would be insulting, they were great as they are 'night after night after night'. An apparent rag bag of characters, they work seamlessly to provide the very best live entertainment that exists in the world today. The Rolling Stones may have started earlier and be great live, U2 may have better power anthems and play to bigger crowds but both of these are pretenders to the throne. No band in the world plays tighter, with more emotion and longer than the guys I saw on Friday.

Bruce, Gary, Max, Steven, Soozie, Patti, Roy (with whom I share a birthday), Gordon, Nils & Clarence, we will almost certainly never meet but thank you for everything.

If people would like to donate a little spare cash, take a little time and check out the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund.

Complete set list courtesy of

Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out { lyrics }
Radio Nowhere { lyrics }
The Ties That Bind { lyrics }
Lonesome Day { lyrics }
The Promised Land { lyrics }
Magic { lyrics }
Atlantic City { lyrics }
Reason To Believe { lyrics }
Candy's Room { lyrics }
Prove It All Night { lyrics }
Because The Night { lyrics }
Working On The Highway { lyrics }
Cadillac Ranch { lyrics }
Livin' In The Future { lyrics }
Mary's Place { lyrics }
Waitin' On A Sunny Day { lyrics }
Point Blank { lyrics }
Devil's Arcade { lyrics }
The Rising { lyrics }
Last To Die { lyrics }
Long Walk Home { lyrics }
Badlands { lyrics }

Thunder Road { lyrics }
Born To Run { lyrics }
Glory Days { lyrics }
Rosalita { lyrics }
Dancing In The Dark { lyrics }
American Land { lyrics }

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