Bruce Springsteen – a long time fan’s view

One lot of fans want some songs, and another lot want something different. So what do you do? You give both what they want. On Saturday night in Auckland, the last night of this current tour, Bruce and band delivered songs that fans of his big records want to hear – much of the Born in the USA album, plus great singalongs like Hungry Heart and Out in the Street, and of course, Born to Run. But as he always does, he also played songs that will appeal to those looking for other material from his catalogue  – songs that you likely wouldn’t have heard on the radio. So on this night, we were treated to 41 Shots, Candy’s Room, Johnny 99 and Wrecking Ball.

I’ve heard from one or two (check Steve’s thoughts elsewhere on this page in our chat we recorded straight after the concert) who didn’t appreciate the less well known material. For me, who’s followed him since the age of 18, these (slightly) lesser known songs are what I get greater pleasure from.

The man himself was in great form, at ease with all the adulation in front of him, feeding it with his well-honed stagecraft, and in turn, being recharged by what he received back from the fans. As in Christchurch a few days earlier, you can’t but be amazed and delighted by the commitment he pours into each song. Serious when the song demands it, and just goofing off when that seems right, with Steve Van Zandt a perfect foil for that.

Around me near the front of stage was a diverse community of fans. A trio of young people who’d been introduced to his music by their parents. A middle aged couple coming to see him for the first time. I met a chap who recalled seeing me at the 2003 concert at Western Springs, and we had a grand time comparing notes.

And as in Christchurch, you meet fans who travel very far to see Springsteen. I met Tom from Seattle and Daisy from Ahmedabad in India. I recorded a brief interview with each, which you can catch on the site shortly.

Will we see him again? He said so at the end of the show, which I’ll take as a yes. Certainly his voice remains in great shape, and he looks, at 67, as fit as a buck rat. The band too still deliver the goods. Again I am awestruck at what Springsteen demands of drummer Max Weinberg. That demand seems to be, play, and don’t stop for three hours.

So if they do come back, and you haven’t seen this band, then grab the chance. In some ways it’s an old fashioned rock concert. No fancy lighting or effects or costume changes. Rather you get passion, commitment, and, at the risk of sounding corny, a sense of the joy that music can bring.

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