Monday, 30 March 2020

My 2009 tour of Italy with Bruce Springsteen - Part 1 : Rome

As Italy is going through a difficult time, it is important for me to remember all the wonderful times I've had and all the wonderful people I've met there. One of these times, probably the best one, was when I took an almost complete tour of Italy, from Rome northwards, following Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band on the Working On A Dream tour. What made it easier was the fact that the concerts were evenly spaced. One every two days: Sunday the 19th of July in Rome, Tuesday the 21st in Torino and finally Thursday the 23rd in Udine. In this way I could go to the concert on one day and then travel the following day to the next town and join the pit roll calls upon arrival. A friend of ours had collected our money and sent it to another friend in Italy who bought the tickets for us so we avoided the usual "ticket stress".
During the days before my trip to Rome I was running a high fever which had manifested itself during a Paul Weller gig in Athens and which I had probably contracted during an Oasis gig in London. There was a serious flu going around in those days. The fever finally relented on Friday the 17th, so I was able to travel on Saturday the 18th. And apart from me, there  were so many Greeks that had come to Rome for this concert that we were right in saying that "The Greeks invade Rome". This was something that would be repeated, again in Rome, during the 2016 River tour. We spent Saturday night by going to a Bruce Springsteen party in Rome, organized by Italians where a local tribute band played.

This was my first concert where I followed the roll call procedure, though not correctly which resulted in my (and a few of my friends') missing a roll call and getting a second, higher number. We still got in the pit though. There we were in for a long wait as there was an Aquatic championship taking place nearby which was not to be interrupted by the noise. This meant that the concert started well past 10 pm and with Bruce's 3 hour concerts you can guess at which time it finished. We spent this time singing Thunder Road with a friend from Cyprus and his teenage children, talking about friends who couldn't make it there (hello, Anastasia!) and trying to position ourselves in a better position inside the pit (which was basically cheating plain and simple but there you go).

All these things were forgotten when Bruce came on stage though. Now this was my only concert from the Working On A Dream tour where Bruce sang not two but three songs from the aforementioned album. 

So apart from the usual two ("Outlaw Pete" and "Working On A Dream") we also got "Surprise, Surprise" because somebody requested it. It was also the first time I heard "Thunder Road" (it was not a regular feature on that tour, but it is still my favourite Bruce song). During that song I noticed someone that must have come out of a cartoon. One of those characters with springs under their shoes so that they jump up and down. With every jump however she was coming closer to us and when she reached us we realised that it was one of our friends who had chosen this way to "cheat" in the pit so that she could be with us. We got "Seeds", we got "No Surrender" as well (very appropriate with so many Greeks from the No Surrender Community present) and this time Bruce did his regular speech during "Working On A Dream" in Italian. 

This was the first Bruce concert where I developed the habit of taking a photo of the audience behind me during "Born To Run" (that's when all the stadium lights are turned on).

Bruce brought his mum and two of her friends on stage during "American Land" and in the end they didn't want to go. He had practically to usher them off stage before he could continue with the next song! 

And finally, the rock 'n' roll highlight was an unexpected "You Can't Sit Down", apart from the usual "Twist And Shout" which was the very last song.
The concert finished in the early hours of Monday the 20th of July, but thankfully one of us had thought of hiring a bus to take us from Stadio Olimpico back to our hotels. But no, we couldn't go to sleep. We gathered in Piazza Barberini where the hotel that most of us were staying was and went into a late night bar and ordered some food and drinks which took half of a length of a Bruce concert to arrive.
The following day most people were heading to Fiumicino airport to get back to Greece (and there was a huge gathering of Greeks there on that day). But my roommate and I headed to the train station and got on a train to our next destination: Torino...

01. Badlands
02. Out In The Street
03. Outlaw Pete
04. No Surrender
05. She's The One
06. Working On A Dream
07. Seeds
08. Johnny 99
09. Atlantic City
10. Raise Your Hand
11. Hungry Heart
12. Pink Cadillac
13. I'm On Fire
14. Surprise, Surprise
15. Prove It All Night
16. Waitin' On A Sunny Day
17. The Promised Land
18. American Skin (41 Shots)
19. Lonesome Day
20. The Rising
21. Born to Run
22. My City Of Ruins
23. Thunder Road
24. You Can't Sit Down
25. American Land
26. Bobby Jean
27. Dancing In The Dark
28. Twist And Shout

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