Tramps like….me!


Part 1



I remember reading, back when I first started to get into Springsteen, that a true fan is called a tramp and you don’t get to call yourself that unless you’ve been to (at the very least) one live show.

I always felt the sting of that (though, I know people who have seen him live and don’t even consider themselves fans). I have almost his entire recorded output and multiple live shows both in bootleg and official download formats in my collection and know his entire catalogue back to front but I knew I could never call myself a true fan until I’d had my live cherry popped.

Well slap my arse and call me tramp because on Thursday night I earned my E Street stripes. The band played Melbourne on the 2/2 and I was there at AAMI Park to witness the glory that is the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, house-rocking, earth-quaking, BOOTY-SHAKING, Viagra-taking, love-making, le-gen-dary E – Street – Band !!!!

It was a fantastic gig in so many ways. Most importantly to me, the show featured a stripped down classic E Street lineup. In recent times the live band has grown somewhat bloated with just too many people on stage to keep track of. This was a far leaner and meaner version akin to the lineup of the late 70s and early 80s and the songs really shone because of this treatment.


It was a return to an edgier and rawer sound that I fucking loved. Springsteen played guitar like the shredder he once was and Stevie was right there with him inhabiting the lower to middle registers while Bruce’s guitar tore through the shriller high tones. Nils, of course, can play circles around them both and he proved it by playing a solo while spinning round like a dervish on one foot.

I was entirely unprepared for just how moved I would be by the appearance of The Boss on the stage. The moment his smiling face appeared on the monitors I broke into an insane monkey grin which lasted until Promised land at which point, the tears began to flow.

The next emotional highpoint was New York City Serenade which was so beautiful it had me close tears again. The use of a string section (fast becoming standard on Springsteen tours) was absolutely perfect in the context of this E Street Shuffle era number. The effect, as you can see in the clip bellow, was simply stunning.

I believe that, up to this show, The Boss has been using Serenade as his opener but on this particular night he decided to use the opening slot for one of his trademark political statements and played Don’t Hang Up by fairly obscure Philly 60’s outfit The Orlons.

He got political again when he played a solo acoustic version of Long Walk Home. When he got to the lines, you know flag flying over the courthouse/ Means certain things are set in stone/ Who we are, what we’ll do and what we won’t, the crowd cheered their support, letting the Boss know they got his point.

I’d prayed that we’d get something off Nebraska and those prayers were answered with both Johnny 99 and Atlantic City – heaven on a stick.

Other absolute highlights included The Ties That Bind, Murder Incorporated, and Because the Night.

Here is the entire set list:

1. Don’t Hang Up (solo acoustic) (The Orlons cover)
2. American Land
3. The Ties That Bind
4. No Surrender
5. Two Hearts
6. The Promised Land
7. Glory Days
8. Hungry Heart
9. Wrecking Ball
10. New York City Serenade
11. Atlantic City
12. Johnny 99
13. Murder Incorporated
14. Death to My Hometown
15. The River
16. Mary’s Place
17. Darlington County
18. Working on the Highway
19. I’m on Fire
20. Because the Night
21. The Rising
22. Badlands
23. Land of Hope and Dreams

24. Long Walk Home (acoustic)
25. Born to Run
26. Dancing in the Dark
27. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
28. Shout
29. Twist and Shout

This was a dream come true for thousands of Melbournians on this perfect summer’s night. I could not have asked for a more complete Springsteen experience (except, of course, if Patti had also been present). I’ll be covering night two in my next post.

That’s right, night two!!


Words and images are my own.


25 thoughts on “Tramps like….me!

  1. Very nice! I confess I did not know that a true fan was called a tramp. Never heard that, but there you go. Great review. Glad you got to see him. Somewhat akin to a religious experience, in’it? I have never cried at any concert but I did once go on a week-long Allman Brothers binge with some true ravers of that band. One night they played so many of one guy’s favorites that the tears just streamed down his face. Never forgot that.

    What’s absolutely fucking amazing to me is that you had advised me in advance that you were going and so, it should have been (to the world) just another Bruce show. But as we discussed, Bruce played “Don’t Hang Up” in reference to the disastrous phone call between your PM and our beloved (?!) President. So a clip of that made the news over here! Hey, I said to no one in particular, I actually know someone at that show. What are the odds? Good setlist but then, there isn’t a bad one.

    I didn’t know you were going to night two. Look forward to that post. Welcome to the club.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A religious experience indeed! The second night (to which I scored a last minute FREE TICKET) was even more so, as I had a position in the balcony overlooking the stage and saw much more of Bruce and the band’s antics.


      1. I’m not sure my charm would be that affecting frankly. Friend of a friend basically. There is a story that goes with it but I don’t think it should be revealed publicly. It was the result of a strange set of circumstances involving some face saving.


      2. Apparently, we had a deal with Obama that America would take a bunch of our refugees that we couldn’t be bothered to find homes for. Trump took one look at the terms and basically said “this is a shit deal for the US, I’m not agreeing to it.” Our PM (another rich A hole) was not amused.


      3. Well, isn’t the point of politics to keep the people divided? The old Roman dictum ‘divide and conquer’. However, I would only have to kill you if you knew about the tickets, your American-ness is not an issue. 🙂


      1. Ha ha – love it! When he played in Hyde Park a few years ago – that memorable gig where he finaled with Paul McCartney and the local council pulled the plug half way through Twist & Shout because it was an infringement of their 11.00 curfew, some dimwit member of the press reported the following day that the audience were booing. I was there and they definitely weren’t…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Even Springsteen thought he was being booed when it first started happening. At least that’s what he claimed in his book. I think it’s hilarious that his name lends itself to that sort of ambiguity.


  2. As with Jim S, it’s a nice bit of kismet that you were at the concert where Bruce did the “Don’t Hang Up” number. When I read the news bits here (from the sources that dare to challenge the Non-Popular Vote President), I cheered. I’m very jealous you had this experience. Then again, I’m jealous of a lot of things… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I’m totally honest, I wasn’t at the show for the politics. Almost everything that happened after that first number had more of an impact on me.
      I wasn’t even aware that Trump had hung up on our PM (who I frankly hate) so the reference was lost on me.
      I do like Bruce’s political songs and he played several of those over the two nights.
      But I prefer the way a Springsteen show builds connection and community through the music and I find overly partisan political statements a little irksome as they tend to alienate a large portion of the audience.
      I heard a few people who obviously identify as conservatives grumbling about the emphasis that gets placed on progressive politics by someone who claims to stand for the working Joe.
      From my personal perspective, as someone who is in no way a conservative but has nevertheless ceased to identify with the Left, I tend to feel that all Left/Right politics ever seems to achieve is to divide people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I tell you what. I’ve seen most of the half-time shows. That includes Springsteen, the Stones, Beyonce, pretty much everybody. I’m not really a big Gaga fan but I must admit she totally nailed it. It’s great to see the rockers in there. But our Super Bowl is as much about spectacle as anything else. And from that aspect, she totally nailed it if I’m being honest. You can’t beat dropping down from the roof as a starter.

        Liked by 1 person

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