Tramps like us, Baby we were born to run…
I had thought my Springsteen experience done and dusted when fate intervened spectacularly on my behalf. Visiting a friend the very next night, I was informed that, through a work colleague, he could get us tickets to the next show… gratis.
And so the very next night (Saturday the 4th) we filed back into AAMI Stadium for another three hours of such joy and exhilaration as only the E Streeters can provide.
And let me tell you, this was a very different gig to the one I’d experienced two nights before. Whereas Thursday night had been a fairly standard (for standard read brilliant) rock show with some serious political messages and a set list skewed towards the more introspective numbers, this was party night.
My perspective may have been slightly influenced by my relative positions to the stage. On the Thursday night, I’d been half the length of a soccer field back and standing down on the floor among the general admission crowd. The sound had been fantastic but I had had to rely on the screens to see much of anything.
On Saturday I had a seat in the upper tier right by the stage which gave me a great overview of the action. I still spent quite a lot of the time watching the screens but I could see what was happening below me pretty clearly and could certainly tell that the band were having a blast.
The show opened with American land, which was about as political as this night got. Springsteen, who had been quite vocal about his anger over Trump on the Thursday (he actually leant hard on his mic stand and wailed, “I have been so fucking depressed”) didn’t say a word on the subject the entire 2nd gig.
I was personally happy to just enjoy the cornucopia of songs the band delivered with their usual consummate showmanship.
A special shout out here to the adorable Soozie Tyrell who (with Patti not present this tour) was the only woman onstage for most of the gig. I’ve never really gotten a true sense of Soozie’s roll in the band from videos I’ve seen but, watching her last night, it was clear that she is as vital a cog in the E Street machine as all the others.
The Boss likes to go walkabout in mid-song and it was fun to see the reaction of the audience members anytime he came within five feet of them.
The inclusion of Springsteen rarity Trapped* was a welcome surprise. And as you can see from the video, it was delivered with true passion (In hindsight I’d have to say this was another dig at the current Administration).
Here is the complete setlist from the night. Highlights included Sherry Darling, Prove It All Night, Youngstown, My City of Ruins (definitely skewed heavily towards political statement), I’m Goin’ Down, and another tear-inducing rendition of New York City Serenade.
1. American Land
2. Lonesome Day
3. My Love Will Not Let You Down
4. Out in the Street
5. Sherry Darling
6. Hungry Heart
7. Glory Days
8. This Hard Land
9. New York City Serenade (with strings)
10. Prove It All Night
13. Cover Me
14. Death to My Hometown
15. My City of Ruins
16. Cadillac Ranch
17. I’m Goin’ Down
18. Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
19. Because the Night
21. Thunder Road
22. Born to Run
23. Seven Nights to Rock
24. Dancing in the Dark
25. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
27. Twist and Shout
Because the Night into Badlands followed by Thunder Road was definitely breathtaking.
The friend I went with professes to be no great Springsteen fan (he’s the only person I’ve ever met that claims Tunnel of Love is the one Springsteen album he likes) but it was pretty obvious he had a whale of a time.
And I guess that is ultimately the power of an E Street gig. Somehow this rag-tag band of crazy geniuses have the power to bring people together under one big umbrella of shared musical love. I’ve rarely been in a space where there was such a feeling of unity and collective wonder.
I dearly hope I get to be in that space again (with Jersey girl) someday very soon.
Words and images are my own.
* Jimmy Cliff cover.
My apologies for the quality of my images for these posts. I was only able to use my phone.