To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
Bruce Springsteen: Baby He Was Born to Run
The Boss returned to Wembley Stadium as part of his current European tour, and it was well worth the wait. Unlike the young man a couple of rows away from me (who looked about 20) sporting his 1985 tour souvenir tee shirt, I was actually there 28 years ago and wish I hadn't left it so long between concerts.
Springsteen will be 64 later this year, but you wouldn't believe it; a man half his age would be proud to have his energy and stamina. More than three hours on stage and he could have continued beyond that time, but my main regret is that my seat was so far from the stage. And I wish the fellow sitting next to me hadn't sung along to everything so loudly, wagging his finger in accompaniment.
The current tour is the Wrecking Ball Tour but only the opening Land of Hope and Dreams, Wrecking Ball and Death to my Hometown came from this recording of last year. The rest of the evening was a trip through the vast back catalogue, including impromptu requests from the audience in the pit. Placards naming songs were raised and Bruce and the E Street Band duly obliged. Golden oldies like Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) had us all singing along and the sign proclaiming Hungry Heart prompted the band to play whilst The Boss gave us the opportunity to prove that we can still remember the words without him leading us on vocals.
The Pit and the Audience on the Other Side of the Stadium
He eventually announced that 'We can keep on taking requests or we can play the entire Darkness on the Edge of Town record'. Who could refuse an offer like that? All ten tracks in the same order as they are on the album played live, including a bonus of Nils Lofgren spinning round and round on one leg whilst playing his guitar solo. Thank heavens for whoever invented those giant screens, so we could see this as well as every other bit of the concert.
Bruce on a Giant Screen
And so the evening passed: more audience participation to Waitin' on a Sunny Day (so appropriate for the English weather that had already been remarked upon), including inviting a young boy out of the audience to sing on stage. By the time we were into the home stretch we were promised that we would be dancing within 30 seconds, and Pay Me My Money Down had us all on our feet and singing at the tops of our voices. Dancing in the Dark provided an opportunity for Bruce to invite a woman from the pit to dance on stage, and a second to dance with him. By the time he reached the penultimate number, Twist and Shout, we were all members of the Beatles, joining in with an old favourite that was cut prematurely short at last year's Hyde Park concert.
Bruce and the E Street Band
After huge applause the stage was left dark and a solitary Bruce Springsteen reappeared with acoustic guitar and harmonica to treat us to an intimate Thunder Road. A calm and quieter end to an amazing concert that had begun during daylight, and finished after the sun had set over Wembley.
Between now and late July The Boss and his band will continue to tour venues in the UK and Europe, returning to London at the end of June for Hard Rock Calling at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.