Living with…Bruce Springsteen…for a week
So that’s one off the bucket list.
Things I wanted to achieve before I kicked the bucket.
Seeing Bruce Springsteen live.
And he didn’t disappoint. From the solo intro of The Ghost of Tom Joad – he walked on in front of 40,000 at the Ricoh, Coventry and just strummed and sang alone – to the thundering epics of Badlands, Born To Run and Born in the USA he was sheer class.
But the real secret of Springsteen live is the E Street Band, a vast array of talented musicians that gather behind and around him. A healthy dose of horns, guitars, percussion and backing singers ensure a powerful sound. There should never be a problem filling any stadium with sound when they are in town.
Coventry’s set was short by The Boss’s standards but clocking in at just short of three and a half hours far outstrips any of the competitors out there. And if he’d never been here before, he showed plenty of warmth to his audience with several calls to join him on stage and an epic man hug for one lad in the audience on request!
As a live musical feast there can be little to compare – no gimmicks, no pyrotechnics – just a gathering of great musicians.
Our treat was a rendition of the complete Born To Run album which obviously includes my number one choice for best Springsteen live moment.
Read about the other nine below as well.
Ten Best Springsteen ‘live’ songs
1. Born To Run
It almost doesn’t have to be said that this is number one! When experienced live you realise why this is so iconic – there is so much elation and joy in life shared by band and audience. This rendition is from Hyde Park 2009.
A very very close second and the one that lived on in my head and heart after the concert, this is from my favourite album Darkness at the Edge of Town. The haunting crowd chorus at the end lingers… Also Hyde Park 2009
3. The River
I defy anyone not to be moved by the power of the story of this song “No wedding day smiles No walk down the aisles”. I remember this when it was broadcast from Glastonbury and Bruce went on to my bucket list that evening. He is steaming through the whole song from the heat of his body…giving the whole thing an epic quality
4. Pay Me My Money Down
Trapped in one of his lesser known albums The Seeger Sessions when we weren’t all paying attention is this classic song that is pure happiness live. Like some pied piper of the stage Springsteen leads the band and audience on a good rollicking adventure. (pardon the Spanish subtitles, best one out there I could find!)
5. Hungry Heart
Another top elation moment. I doubt that he’s sung the lyrics to the first two verses of this song for nearly three decades now, and although he didn’t quite indulge in the crowd surfing of this clip from New Jersey 2009, there was a lot bodily contact in Coventry!
6. Thunder Road
Often viewed as the perfect song, this works as a Bruce and everyone else in the place moment. Barcelona 2002.
7. Waiting on a Sunny Day
There are obviously a few audience rituals at Springsteen gigs. Aside from that special dance for someone during Dancing in the Dark, there seems to be a tradition of a child taking the mike from the Boss for a brief minute for Waiting on a Sunny Day. Whereas we had an eight year old, nothing can compare with the cuteness of this 4 year old at Los Angeles 2012.
8. Death to my Hometown
A folktale of violence and sentiment this is the folkier sound of his new album Wrecking Ball, and one we don’t normally associate with Springsteen. Brilliant live, nonetheless. 2012 performance.
And two I wished I’d heard
9. Glory Days
Running a close race with I’m On Fire as the best track on Born In The USA this is a riot of a song on the album, I’d just love to hear it live! Glastonbury 2009.
10. Racing in the Street
Story-telling is at the heart of Springsteen and this is up there with The River in terms of it’s impact. Surely you must feel at least a prickling in your eyes as the despair of this song unfolds. Another great moment from Darkness at the Edge of Town. Performance from 2009.
I’m sure Springsteen will be on tour again – he seems to have plenty of energy left! Count me in…