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Springsteen in the RDS Dublin, Night 1

May 30, 2008

Well, to quote the man, it’s been a long time coming, but I thought I should post something about the gig last Thursday night (22nd May), the opening night of Springsteen’s European tour. It’s unbelievable how this man continues to deliver night after night, year after year. Honestly, I’m into double figures in terms of his live gigs and I’ve never been at one that failed to deliver. I can go back over the years and everyone of them leaves some lasting memory.

The opening chords of Born in the USA at Slane in 1985, Racing in the Streets in Crystal Palace in 2003, Jungleland in Dublin that same year, Lost in the Flood in Giants Stadium NJ. Belfast’s Seeger Sessions event was like an old fashioned tent revival meeting. On and on.

a photo from backstreets, round about where we were standing

Last Thursday he offered us 5 songs from the brilliant Darkness on the Edge of Town album, released in 1978 and 4 from the classic Born to Run from 1975. But it was the unrelenting energy with which the whole setlist was delivered, barely pausing for breath until The River, deep into the set. Incredible. I’m lost for superlatives, though I also recognise that a large part of the experience is a long history with the music (there’s a lesson for contemporary praise leaders there).

Two things worthy of note from this latest. Firstly, Big Man Clarence is getting increasingly frail. We were close enough to the stage to see him coming on in company with Bruce.

There was a riser from the back and he struggled up it, then made his way over to an enormous throne like soft chair at the side of the stage. When the band left the stage at the end of the main set and the lights dimmed, Clarence shuffled across to his chair and sat in the dark till his colleagues returned.

Having seen him live in his pomp the passage of time has not been easy, though he’s still not bad for 66 years of age and two hip replacements. But so soon after the death of Danny Federici, this is hard to take.

The second thing worthy of note is this piece from youtube.

The picture and sound quality is poor, but marvel at this: it was online at youtube, before the second song in the set was complete! Concert going is changing. How long will it be before we get live feed?

I also note that at the Old Trafford leg last night, cameras were allowed. I guess because it’s impossible to ban them given the ubiquitous presence of mobile phones.

(PS best joke of last night: question from a setlist watcher: ‘How many are in the pit?’ (meaning the mosh pit at the front of the stage). Reply, ‘everyone…it’s Old Trafford!’)

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