Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Bruce Springsteen, Paris and some anniversaries

My first Bruce Springsteen concert was on the 27th of June 2008, in Paris, at Parc Des Princes.
My second one was exactly one year and one day later on the 28th of June 2009 in London, at Hyde Park (and we all know what happened there. I wasn't normally planning on going to London, since I had already bought tickets for Rome, Torino and Udine in July of that same year. But I thought it would be nice if my second concert on on the (almost) anniversary of the first.
But this year, my 11th one, if all goes well, is going to be five years and two days after the first one, on the 29th of June 2013, again in Paris (this time at The Stade De France). It's also four years and one day after the Hyde Park concert. So, while in years to come, I will hopefully have Bruce anniversaries on the 27th, the 28th and the 29th of June, June 29th is also the anniversary of one of Bruce's legendary performances, again in Paris, at the Parc Paysager De La Courneuve during the Born In The U.S.A. tour in 1985.

No, I wasn't there at the time, but I know someone who was. It was his first concert. And on the 29th he will also be at The Stade De France, celebrating his 50th birthday!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Bruce Springsteen rocks Italy for the 2nd year running! And the experience this time was revolutionary!

So I'm back from my 2013 Italian tour of Bruce Springsteen. And what a tour it was. I'm talking here about the Padova and Milano concerts on the 31st of May and the 3rd of June respectively. Bruce had already played on a city square in Napoli a week before that, and he has another date for Rome scheduled in July.
It all started on Friday afternoon. After picking up my friend from Treviso airport we headed straight for Padova and arrived just in time to check in at our hotel, leave our bags and head straight for Stadio Euganeo where Bruce was to play. Like in Florence the year before there were free buses from the train station to the stadium (and supposedly the other way round after the concert finished, but that's another story which we'll get to in a - little - while.

We got into the arena on time, managed to get a place just behind the pit and we were ready for our first Bruce concert in less than a year. And when Bruce came on the stage, it was nothing like what we expected. We almost didn't notice him until he straddled in with just his guitar playing an acoustic - and different - version of "The Ghost Of Tom Joad".

And after that, another shock: "Long Walk Home" one of my favourite songs which I had not heard since The Magic Tour and Bruce doesn't play that often, (maybe because he doesn't consider "Magic" to be a good album? Who knows?). Bruce if you're reading this, take a note: just because "Radio Nowhere" was the single from Magic, this doesn't mean that you have to play that song when you choose a song from this album. You can always choose another one. Thank you, End of note.

He then went on to play "My Love Will Not Let You Down" and "Two Hearts" and we all thought that he's never played a setlist like that (although since Padova he has done it again). And then he started playing only requests from the crowd: "Boom Boom", "Something In The Night" and "The Ties That Bind". My friend turned to me and said "this concert is revolutionary!". Little did we know (and only found out after the concert when we came back and logged on the internet) that several miles to the east of us, a small revolution was taking place in Istanbul. After going back to tracks from his latest album, he announced that he was going to play the full "Born To Run" album. So we were going to hear "Thunder Road" (always a pleasure) and most importantly "Jungleland". But for us, there was an added bonus: The jazzy "Meeting Across The River". Sometimes we feel like we are in a minority of Bruce fans who like that song.

After the "Born To Run" album was played, the choices for the rest of the setlist might have seemed a little predictable. But still, there was a small surprise in there for us: "Pay Me My Money Down" from "The Seeger Sessions".
Bruce picked up a guy from the crowd, Caterino, who said he had been playing Bruce's songs with his tribute band. Max Weinberg gave him the beat and it took Caterino about 15 seconds to synchronize with him and the rest of the band. He then proceeded to play the whole song with his... spoons!

It all finished with "Dancing In The Dark" and "Twist And Shout" while all the time we kept an eye out for the weather. The forecasts were not favourable and rain did come, but only in small doses and only kept on falling after the concert. And still it was nothing like Florence.
And by that time we didn't care anyway.
Our problems only started when, after the concert, we realized that we couldn't find the buses to take us back to the train station. Stadio Euganeo is a bit out of the city and it's not easy to walk back to town from there. We simply got lost, not in the flood, but in the crowd. (At some point we found ourselves among the trucks leaving while being loaded with the band's equipment). So we decided to ask for help from people who looked like they knew what they were doing. And as it turned out, we asked the right ones: The Padova Civil Defence. These people are volunteers, they all have day jobs, but in cases like these (concerts, football matches) they go out there to help the crowd, the people. One of them, who happened to be living near our hotel, took us in his car and drove us back not just to town, but to our hotel. He was an Italian-Australian and his name was Ezzio (I hope I have spelled that right). Ezzio, we will always be grateful to you.
After the day of the concert, we had 2 days in Padova to relax, see the city and have a mini-holiday (more about this on another blog post).

The third day was June the 3rd when I had to take my friend to Treviso airport so she could catch her flight home. As for me I had to go to Milano to catch my flight home. So I wasn't planning to go to the Milano concert, but since I was passing by that city anyway and Bruce happened to be playing there, why not go see him? Again?

A very wise choice as it turned out if one takes a look at the setlist...and the length of it! However, when I finally decided to go, there were no tickets left for the arena and besides I would be arriving so late there wasn't even a chance of getting anywhere near the pit. So, I figured that after a week in Italy and all the miles I had walked I deserved, after 5 years to watch a Bruce concert from the stands, sitting down even if that meant I would be far away from the stage. So I bought the cheapest ticket I could find and that meant I was high up, way high up. Now I remember ever since the Italia 90 World Cup how I admired those big towers of Stadio San Siro. My admiration faded somewhat when I realized that I had to go all the way up them - on foot!
Anyway, I climbed all the way up, found my seat, and was ready to watch a Bruce concert - finally - sitting down.
And that's where I realized by reading through a leaflet I found on my seat that I was going to be one of the people forming a special sign for Bruce and the band: OUR LOVE IS REAL.

 So first there was the Ennio Morricone intro which is usually heard at the beginning of his Italian concert and then Bruce and the band came up while we had formed the sign and Bruce was looking at it and showing it to Stevie. And then he went mad! JUST WENT MAD!

Kicking off with "Land Of Hope And Dreams", "My Love Will Not Let you Down" and "Out In The Street". And then the requests came: "American Land", "Good Golly Miss Molly" (which he honoured by playing "Long Tall Sally" instead)
 And then "Loose Ends".
He then went back to the "Wrecking Ball" album, but still found time after a couple of songs from that to play "Atlantic City" and "The River".
And then it was full album time. What were we going to get this time? "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" perhaps seeing as he had played "Born To Run" three days before? No. We were going to listen to the complete "Born In The U.S.A.". An important album for me since it was the first Bruce album I ever owned having received the vinyl copy as a gift for my birthday 29 years ago. In my previous 9 Bruce concerts (yes, Milano was my 10th!) I had managed to hear live almost all of its songs except two: "Cover Me" and "I'm Goin' Down". Now I was going to hear all of it!
After the album and a few other hits, it was time for the encore.
And as it turned out it was one of those times that Bruce didn't want to leave the stage. He played "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out", but he played "Twist And Shout" after that. And after that played plain old "Shout".
 Time to leave? Yes, but then he came back with a solo acoustic "Thunder Road" proving to us that his love is real as well!
The return to the hotel was less adventurous this time because the Metro was running until 1am. But nobody seemed to care, because everybody was high on Bruce's music from the previous 3 1/2 hours. A religious experience? Yes, and a revolutionary one as well!

May 31 2013, Stadio Euganeo, Padova, Italy
01 The Ghost of Tom Joad (acoustic) 
02 Long Walk Home 
03 My Love Will Not Let You Down 
04 Two Hearts 
05 Boom Boom (request) 
06 Something in the Night (request) 
07 The Ties That Bind (request) 
08 We Take Care of our Own
09 Wrecking Ball
10 Death to my Hometown
11 Spirit in the Night
Full Album: Born To Run
12 Thunder Road
13 Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
14 Night
15 Backstreets
16 Born To Run
17 She's The One
18 Meeting Across The River
19 Jungleland
20 Shackled and Drawn
21 Waitin' On A Sunny Day
22 The Rising
23 Badlands
24 Pay me my money down
25 Born in the USA
26 Dancing in the dark 
27 Twist and shout

June 3 2013, Stadio San Siro, Milano, Italy
01. Land of Hope and Dreams
02. My Love Will Not Let You Down
03. Out in the Street
04. American Land (Sign Request)
05. Long Tall Sally (Sign Request)
06. Loose Ends (Sign Request)
07. Wrecking Ball
08. Death To My Hometown
09. Atlantic City
10. The River
“Born in the USA” Full album:
11. Born in the U.S.A.
12. Cover Me
13. Darlington County
14. Working on the Highway
15. Downbound Train
16. I'm on Fire
17. No Surrender
18. Bobby Jean
19. I'm Goin' Down
20. Glory Days
21. Dancing in the Dark
22. My Hometown
23. Shackled And Drawn
24. Waitin' On a Sunny Day
25. The Rising
26. Badlands
27. Hungry Heart
28. This Land is Your Land (Solo acoustic)
29. We Are Alive
30. Born To Run
31. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
32. Twist and Shout
33. Shout
34. Thunder Road (Solo acoustic)

You can watch the complete Padova concert here:
Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball Tour, Padova [Full Show HD] - YouTube