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...)


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
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

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