Review: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND
Qudos Bank Arena – 7 February 2017
by Marina Knezevic
Bruuuce!!…..This time it was 6 days prior to show time when the “butterflies in my belly in anticipation of Springsteen” kicked in. This stirring that just sits and sweetly tortures me until the days slowly count down, and then finally my day had arrived. You need to work…..You’ve already seen him 4 times…. tick tick tick .. focus! Can the day just hurry up and finish already!!!! Urrgh torture.. but it’s the best kind.. it’s Springsteen time!
We working parents know how tricky it is to get everything up to date so we can head out on a school night to see our favourites artists, but somehow we manage to get through it, even when we know it’s going to be a marathon 3 hr ++ Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band set which will pummel us for the next 2 days. Am I worried?.. Not in the slightest.. Cannot wait to be singing, air punching, dancing and trying to hide those quick back stretches mid gig when the lights are low.
Anyone who has ever seen these incredible talents live knows what a musical indulgence their night will be. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are synonymous with pure rock music, grit and sweat. These polished and perfect performers are the pinnacle of what music and concerts should be, and if I could have a weekly dose of their ‘musical medicine’ then life would be so much more palatable. This set was different to the last couple of gigs but what hasn’t changed is the electricity, energy and pure life force. Seeing the Springsteen and E- Street Band magic live is one of the greatest pleasures of my life and I just pray that the whole band can keep taking whatever they are taking so we can squeeze some more tours out of them. (That sounds awful doesn’t it???) But you know what I mean, it all comes from the heart.
To set the scene this time, Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney was packed, of course, I wouldn’t expect anything else! 18,000 strong, crazy, but with 18,000 fanatical fans, it’s one of the happiest sights you will ever see. All ages, both sexes, and major male fan-girling for ‘The Boss’. I suspect it wasn’t just the ladies fanning their flushes for as the night went on. And then it started, with a stunning rendition of “ New York City Serenade” accompanied by a wonderful female string section, and then upon completion, the ladies greeted Springsteen one by one as they left the stage.. Classy, but now it’s time to smash it with “American Land” , “The Ties That Bind” , “No Surrender “ and “Out in the Street”... Boy oh Boy are we in for another cracker of a night, or how we Aussies like to say ‘corker’. Time for some fan sign requests like “My Love Will Not Let You Down” and the crowd pleaser “Hungry Heart”, which we all know is Springsteen wandering and crowd surfing time. And yes I did try and touch as he went straight past my head, but I only touched his boot, I swear, I couldn’t bring myself to try for his leg. You can still have some decorum people…. at least I did, I’m not sure what the other ladies and gentlemen tried.
This is just the standard bedlam that is created whenever Springsteen comes to town. Adults are like crazy teenagers and the high octane performance is relentless, it just keeps going and going like a Bugatti being thrashed on an autobahn. Honestly, you barely catch your breath before Springsteen throws his guitar over, grabs another one and yells out another “1,2, 3” smash.. tracks like “Wrecking Ball”, “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, “Mary’s Place” and one of my faves “Candy’s Room” (which I slotted into one of my 5 year old’s musical disc compilations a couple of years ago. You can never be too young to be christened by Bruce and E Street, you know).
I’m always a sucker for the passionate and saucy “I’m on Fire” if it makes it to a live set, with its video clip visuals that I get of Springsteen as one of the hottest mechanics that you wish you had in your neighbourhood. Just gorgeous. From this to an epic “Because The Night” Whoa … I can’t express how much I love it when this track makes an appearance and the crowd just lost it. It’s like there are invisible fireworks in the air. Can’t explain the feeling, but the world around you just doesn’t seem the same. This is now going into a musical orgy phase with a few other classics throw in like “Badlands”, “Thunder Road” and “Born To Run”. Nothing big, you know? Just some of the best songs that have ever been written that can be pulled out of this extensive catalogue.
This monster doesn’t stop once. “Dancing in the Dark” comes on and some lovely ladies and one gentleman are brought on stage by Springsteen to get their groove on. I loved watching the fanatics go nuts and the legendary Steven Van Zandt grinning as some “Sydney Sisters wanting to shimmy with Steven” made it up there too. Happy Days, and now it’s time for more crowd surfing and the stunning “ Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”. This song and that moment always gets me teary eyed as we pay tribute to The Big Man, Clarence Clemons, who passed away in 2011. I feel so lucky that I got to see Clarence with Bruce and the other E-Streeters back during the Rising Tour. This was a gig where the electricity went out at the Sydney Cricket Ground and it was us and them, but as one under the stars, acoustic and working with the glitch. So many memories. But how special is it to have Clarence’s nephew, Jake Clemons, the last few tours continuing that luscious saxophone and Clemons’ tradition. More talent to add to this melting pot of exceptional musicians. This whole Bruce and E-Street thing is the definition of destiny. Finishing with a cover of “Shout” and the too cool “Bobby Jean”, it was coming to that time that none of us like, which is saying goodbye. Springsteen has been drenched in sweat since 15 songs ago, the band are spent but they have all had a blinder on stage like always. One of the last laughs we have is of Springsteen being draped in a cape stating “The Boss”, and there will never be another!
It is so hard to write what hasn’t already been written thousands of times before. With Springsteen at 67 years of age and nearly all E Street Band members in their mid to late 60’s, it’s such a treat that we have them all here on earth during our lifetime. I can just say a big heartfelt thanks, that’s it. Thanks for all the music, all the good times and for busting your guts touring for all these decades (Is it too early to launch a Summer ’18 tour?). Legends. Now it’s time to deal with the post Bruce Springsteen and E Street live drop and think about those deeply etched concert memories that come spilling out as each song is playing in the background. I got to bed over 12 hrs ago but my head is still buzzing and I’m still in Springsteen la la land comparing set lists and getting upset that Melbourne got “The River” and Adelaide got “Rosalita” etc. Such is the brain of the greedy concert fanatic who is scheming about possibly trying to get to Thursday night’s gig, it’s never enough. But at least now I can change my “x 4” to “ x 5” and see how many more Bruce and E-Street Band songs I can sneak into my 5 year old’s music collection.
© MARINA KNEZEVIC 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED