Tuesday 28 May 2024

Bruce Springsteen Live in Cardiff May 2024

 

My last concert of 2023 was Bruce Springsteen And The E  Street Band in Monza. My first concert of 2024 was Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band in Cardiff. But get this: The last concert of the 2023 Bruce Springsteen And The E  Street Band European tour was in Monza. And the first concert of the 2024 Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band tour was in Cardiff. So, effectively I attended back to back Bruce Springsteen concerts! I didn't go to any concert or gig during the winter, there just wasn't much I was interested in and when the 2024 tour was announced and I realized that the first two concerts were during my Easter holidays from work, plus the fact that the second one was in Northern Ireland which was the only part of Britain I hadn't been to yet, I jumped at the chance. I thought, for once, I'll have a stress-free summer with no packing or travel arrangements. Looking back, as I'm writing this today, with Bruce being unable to perform having postponed some of the concerts because of problems with his voice, it proved to be a wise choice as well.

After having seen my last three Bruce concerts from a standing position, I decided to choose a seated one for this (Not that they were any cheaper). Plus, I knew I would be travelling at the very last moment. So after celebrating Easter, for the first time, on a plane, I landed in Gatwick after midnight, where I waited until 6 o'clock to get the National Express to Cardiff. (Trains are currently extremely unreliable in the UK with lots of strikes announced all the time, so I didn't even consider them).

When I arrived in Cardiff, already familiar to me from the U2 concert back in 2009, I met my friends at the city centre. (Thanks to Facebook I have Bruce friends in several countries). After a pint, and as it was getting close to 3pm I went to check-in at my hotel. And guess what! There was a queue there as well, and most of the people checking in were Bruce fans.

After that, it was time to get back to the city centre and head straight from the stadium. By that time it was close to the time Bruce had announced he would be on stage. But I made it in time. It wasn't raining that day, but, just to be on the safe side the stadium roof had been closed. So, in effect, instead of a stadium concert, this felt like a large arena concert. My first Bruce indoor concert in fact!

 

Finally, the lights went out and it was time for that unique moment: The beginning of a tour, the first concert when the band finally appear on stage. And so they did, one by one. And the last one was, of course, Bruce. They immediately launched into "So Young And In Love". We were expecting it of course since it was already known on social media that they had soundchecked it the day before. After that it was time for the welcome return of "Lonesome Day". On previous tours, going back all the way to 2009, some of my Bruce friends, even myself were wondering "Why is he still playing these songs from "The Rising"?" (meaning the title track, "Waiting On A Sunny Day" and "Lonesome Day"). Well, as far as "The Rising" is concerned, it's obvious. it's one of his trademark songs and with a special meaning as well. "Waiting On A Sunny Day" on the other hand, apart from being catchy, served as a vehicle to ask children to sing along with him. (A fact which parents took advantage of, forcing their bemused children to learn the words by heart and then drag them along to the pit, in the hope that Bruce will choose them to sing with him). But "Lonesome Day"? Why? Was it because it was the first single from that album? We all know that the first single isn't necessarily the best track on a Bruce album. However, when, last year, while "preparing" for the concerts at Hyde Park, I listened to "The Essential Bruce Springsteen" 3CD set again it started growing on me after a long time. Probably for personal reasons. I don't know. But the truth of the matter is I was happy to hear it. And it seems that it is a regular on this tour. Another regular is "Better Days". After 16 Bruce concerts the only song from "Human Touch / Lucky Town" that I had heard live was "Lucky Town" in Milano in 2016.

 


 


 

As far as other songs are concerned this year's setlists seem to be based on the core of last year's. Although there is no "Kitty's Back" this year ("My City Of Ruins" seems to have taken its place), "Nightshift" is still the only regular from the "Only The Strong Survive" covers album. From "Letter To You", "Ghosts" is always played while the title track is probably perfomed on every other concert, especially if it's in the same country. The part where he's reminiscing about George Theiss, his friend and bandmate from the Castiles with "Last Man Standing" and "Backstreets" is still there. The solo ending with "I'll See You In My Dreams" is there as well. Along with all the other regulars towards the end. The good news is that "Thunder Road" also seems to be a regular on this tour. However there are more changes to the setlists than last year and requests are starting to come back.




 

But there was one more surprise (well, not a "surprise" per se, since it had also been soundchecked), a song that had been requested on the US leg of the tour by American fans: "If I Was The Priest". One of the old songs that had been reworked for "Letter To You". I was on Viber when he announced it sending video from the concert to a friend. I immediately hung up with "Sorry, I have to go, he's going to play "If I Was The Priest"". And one more piece of good news is that it seems that this is also becoming a regular, at least on the European Leg.



 

And so it was time for the end of the concert. He got us in such a party mood with "Twist And Shout" that I found myself thinking "Please Bruce, go away now, don't end this with "I'll See You In My Dreams"! Let's end this on a happy note!". But of course he did play it. And he still plays it every night. He obviously has his reasons. As he said "Grief is the price we have to pay for having loved well".



It truly was an amazing concert with a more-than-amazing setlist. Everyone agreed on that. By the way, it was my 17th. And now it was time for Belfast (which for me included a short, sightseeing tour in Liverpool...)


 

SETLIST:
01. So Young And In Love
02. Lonesome Day
03. No Surrender
04. Prove It All Night
05. Darlington County
06. Ghosts
07. Better Days
08. The Promised Land
09. Spirit In The Night
10. Hungry Heart
11. If I Was The Priest
12. My City Of Ruins
13. Nightshift
14. The River
15. Last Man Standing
16. Backstreets
17. Because The Night
18. She's The One
19. Wrecking Ball
20. The Rising
21. Badlands
22. Thunder Road
Encore:
23. Born In The U.S.A.
24. Born To Run
25. Bobby Jean
26. Dancing In The Dark
27. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
28. Twist And Shout
Encore 2:
29. I'll See You In My Dreams




Wednesday 24 April 2024

Down & Out and Dirty Fuse live in Athens January 2011



- I love you pumpkin
- I love you honey bunny
This conversation is what first came to mind on the 6th night of 2011, when I first heard Dirty Fuse playing at Six D.O.G.S.

Incredible, but true. A Greek band playing surf tunes! That's what I thought back then anyway... And of course, the next line from Pulp Fiction that comes to mind is "Zed's dead baby... Zed's dead" because at that moment during the movie is when Bullwinkle is played, the tune that Dirty Fuse played that night.


All in all a very pleasant surprise, bearing in mind that we had gone to Six D.O.G.S. to see Down & Out. The band that we had already seen in December at Gagarin when they played support to The Sonics. Two of their members would later go on to form The Big Nose Attack, and if you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know who THEY are... 




They had already played gigs all over Europe and their highlight was playing support to ZZ Top abroad...

So, it was a night that apart from good company also had lots of rock, lots of beer, lots of blues (albeit performed by white guys :LOL:), and of course the usual (should I call it obligatory?) cover of Prince's Kiss.


And as we can see from the following photo the audience was very keen on them...


The venue was great (it was my first time there), as small as was needed for such a gig and the ticket was only 7 Euros.
It even had a back yard...

...and also hosted exhibitions.

(By the way, whoever disses Kelly again will have to deal with me. Enough is enough! Go back to Brenda!)

Thursday 21 March 2024

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel live in Athens April 2011


When I heard the news of the recent loss of Steve Harley, I remembered that I had seen him and Cockney Rebel back in 2011 at Gagarin. They were much loved in Greece, their previous gigs were all sold out (or almost sold-out, anyway), but not that time. People's abstention from gigs (but also from nights out and entertainment in general) because of the recession and the punishing measures imposed by the IMF and the EU had started to become apparent. Even so, they rewarded us with an unforgettable night, where apart from Hideaway they also played Sebastian and Mr.Soft among others. They even included Star For A Week, which, as Steve informed us, was inspired by a real story with a young bank robber, that had actually taken place in Greece. 




As someone commented on the Hideaway YouTube video: "Amazing concert, in my opinion, of priceless value !!! Its second part started with Hideaway, after a 20 minute break !!! Mr. Harley is like good old wine : As he grows old & matures, he becomes better ...."
And he bid us farewell with something more optimistic: Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me). Let's all remember him like this...
 
SETLIST:
First Set:
01. Audience With the Man
02. Here Comes the Sun
03. Psychomodo
04. Judy Teen
05. Sling It!
06. Red Is a Mean, Mean Colour
07. (Love) Compared With You
08. Star for a Week ('Dino')
09. True Love Will Find You in the End
10. The Best Years of Our Lives
11. No Bleeding Hearts
Second Set:
12. Hideaway
13. This Old Man
14. The Last Time I Saw You
15. Mr. Raffles (Man It Was Mean)
16. The Lighthouse
17. Journey's End (A Father's Promise)
18. Mr. Soft
19. Sebastian
Encore:
20. Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)

Thursday 29 February 2024

February 29 2024

 

I always plan something special for February 29 and this year was no exception. This time I decided to walk the nearby town of Varibobi (5km each way). But because this year I was working on that day I had to set off early.

This particular town was special to me for two reasons. The first was that I had gone to summer camp there when I was very little. The second was that I had done the same hike on a day I played truant from high school with one of my classmates.


















 

The road starts with a few twists and turns but from one point onwards it's a straight line all the way.



There is a bridge over the railway lines halfway through.






There is a much smaller bridge further on where the road becomes narrower for a few metres and further on it ends.










There are several burnt houses along the road due to a forest fire that occured in 2021.

At the end of this road, in order to head towards Varibobi you have to turn to the right.







 One more turn to the left will take you to the town's main square.







 I walked down the square in order to reach the site of my summer camp.








And here it is:







It was then time to head back.













I even went to the same canteen where I had eaten 4 years ago, but because this time I had to go to work later, I took the food home to eat tonight.

The soundtrack and the movie were the same as the last time. Mark Lanegan's Leap Year CD from 2012 was the CD asd the DVD was "Leap Year".


A 10km walk in just a few hours. I feel refreshed!