Of the 5 times I have seen Bruce Springsteen perform live, last Tuesday night's show in Dublin was the most memorable. As if he felt he owed something to his fans after having the plug pulled on a time curfew two nights previously at London's Hyde Park, he certainly gave one of the greatest performances of his career.
Kicking off with a rousing version of 'Twist And Shout' amid various jokes about getting shut down early in London, he along with The E Street Band provided a roller coaster performance that lasted close on 3 and a half hours. For no minute did this show sag or fall into a cliched routine, this was Springsteen and his long time troop of musicians at their greatest.
New faces have been added to the bands line up on this 'Wrecking Ball' tour, most notably saxophonist Jake Clemons, nephew of the late great 'big man' Clarence Clemons who played with The E Street Band from the very beginning. Undoubtedly a very humbling position for Jake to find himself in, he is the perfect choice for the line up. An emotional movie short of Clarence Clemons played out on the big video screens during a performance of 'Tenth Avenue Freeze Out', Springsteen pausing for a minute on the lyric "When the change was made uptown and the big man joined the band".
It was a simple but affectionate tribute to one of his greatest friends, nothing more was necessary to be said.
Other song highlights included picks from the vaults like 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town', 'Badlands' 'Rosalita' and a thunderous rendition of 'Born In The USA'.
Here is the full 31 song set list.......
Few rock performers have been as consistantly dynamic as a live act, compared to Bruce Springsteen, who
now has 4 decades of a career to boast. I first saw him play live in 1993 and I can firmly attest that each time I witnessed him play since has been as thrilling in equel or higher measures. A fine account of Bruce's apperances in Ireland over a 25 year period can be found in a book entiled Land Of Hope And Dreams. It was compiled by Greg Lewis and Moira Sharkey and features many fan accounts and photos of every Irish concert up to the time of publication, find out more about it here
Last Tuesday nights gig was magical and certainly will be remembered by all 35,000 fans as one of the greatest live rock shows they will see in their lifetime. As the closing song of the night 'American Land' faded out and the crowd slowly dispersed out into the street, the rain just started to pour down. A reminder yet again of how dismal our summer has been perhaps; but for the people who had seen the Boss for the past 3 and a half hours, it all seemed irrelevant. I know that each one of them including myself had felt a whole lot more pleased with life.