The Boss was on blinding form in Sunderland last night, showcasing the best bits of his 37 year career and still kicking against the pricks...
The crowd went mad as Bruce Springsteen bellowed in the rain: “Blow a banker’s brains out, gauge an politician’s eyes, kick your manager in the nuts and run off with that plump bairmaid you’ve always fancied.”
Well I think that is what he said anyway, I was about 100 yards away from the stage in the Stadium of Light taking a Wrecking Ball to my liver with the bottles of rum I’d sneaked in to stick one to ‘the man’.
In a world when there are no protest singers let alone protest songs The Boss stands out like a beacon of hope and hate. He started his set at 7.10pm with an extended version of Badlands from Darkness on the Edge of Town and then went into a string of songs from his latest album. That’s 37 years of relevant songwriting that few of his contemporaries can match.
The lyrics of his Wrecking Ball album are one of the few instances of popular culture railing against the moneymen who short changed millions across the world. The crowd cheered as he sang about bankers ‘I’ll find them and shoot them on sight’ in Jack of All Trades. His playlist was more political than usual throwing in songs from The Rising as well as a rare outing for Youngstown.
But Bruce being Bruce the gig wasn’t all angst and pain. There was also the joyous riot of rock and roll with the brilliant E-Street. It is easy to forget that Stevie Van Zandt, birthday boy Nils Lofgen and the rest are fantastic Hall of Famers in their own right, obviously there was a Clarence Clements hole in the band but his nephew gamely tried to fill it.
The interaction between Bruce and Little Stevie was James Brownesque and wonderful to watch. Two hours into the gig and it felt it would go on forever with the smattering of his uplifting hits giving a hint of what was to come.
The interaction between Bruce and Little Stevie was James Brownesque and wonderful to watch. Two hours into the gig and it felt it would go on forever with the smattering of his uplifting hits giving a hint of what was to come. Thunder Road, Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark and Hungry Heart were all duly provided for the fairweather fans.
But it was when the unmistakable first bars of Born to Run started the crowd went bonkers. Friends high fived each other, grown men screamed into the sky and women blarted in unison around me. The extended version lasted about eight minutes and gave us all the chance to shout ‘cos tramps like us were born to run’ again and again.
After three hours on stage he did an emotional version of Tenth Avenue Freezeout in honour of his mate Clarence. And then walked off. I was sure he’d come back on for another encore, after all he’d not played my own anthem Working on a Dream or Girls in Their Summer Clothes but hey I can forgive him, because that just means I’ll have to see him again.
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