This won’t come as a surprise, but Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band are the best live act I’ve ever seen. The evening flew by without a dull moment – especially impressive considering the thirty-song set lasted for three and half hours – and left me immediately planning how soon I can see them again. And all this without a single special effect or gimmick; just a brilliant band playing brilliant music.
With such a vast catalogue to choose from, Bruce and his band did a good job of picking a selection that gave as comprehensive an overview as possible of his extensive career. And considering the time span of this career, it was amazing how well it all gelled together. Less well known songs were well placed between the classics and, despite a gap of nearly forty years between them, tracks from Born to Run sounded just as fresh as those from new release Wrecking Ball.
Bruce’s performance was every inch as energetic as it was forty years ago, too. He leapt around, jumped up and down, and danced the night away – all with a big grin on his face. He seemed to genuinely be having a great time. What really made the performance special, too, was the degree of audience participation throughout the night. Bruce seemed to spend more time down with the crowd than up with his band, and spent the breaks between songs entertaining us with stories in his deep American slur.
I think I wasn’t the only one who burst with jealousy when fans were pulled up on stage. A young boy did an impressive a job when Bruce handed over the mic during “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day”, and as the band played “Dancing in the Dark”, one lucky girl got to dance with the Boss a la Courtney Cox in the original music video. Another jammy fan grooved alongside cool saxophonist Jake Clemons, nephew of the late Big Man Clarence Clemons, who was later remembered in a touching tribute.
Although I was much further back than these fortunate few, the whole crowd was included in the fun that Bruce and the band exuded. Being exposed to a typically rainy British summer evening in the open-topped stadium didn’t matter at all – we were all too busy singing and dancing along to notice. Creating an atmosphere like that in such a vast space is something only a rare breed of performers can do, and sustaining it for over three hours is something only the Boss can do. To sum up, if you’re thinking of going to see Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band then do it!