“Walked from the mountain to the valley floor, searching for my beautiful reward”.
Not all my trips are up mountains, some of them could not be further away i.e. in big stadia in cities. All because of Bruce.
The first time I remember hearing of him was in 1985. He played Leeds Roundhay Park on the Born in the USA (BitUSA) tour and we watched some clips from the tour on the TV.
Then I met Chris and she brought me further and deeper into Bruce and lots of other music. 1988 was the Tunnel of Love tour which crossed over with Bruce’s commitment to Amnesty International and the Human Rights Now! tour. That was the first time Chris and I saw Bruce live (Sunday July 10th, 1988 at Sheffield United’s ground at Bramall Lane) and I was hooked forever and a day. And then Bruce broke up the band and stopped touring! Bad timing or what?
Part 1, Los Angeles, 1985
Part 2, Los Angeles, 1985
Bruce gigs I’ve been to
Links are to the set lists on Greasy Lake
1 Tunnel of Love Express, Bramall Lane Stadium, Sunday July 10th, 1988, with Chris. This has to be the best gig for me. The start of my love of the man and his music.
2 Human Touch/Lucky Town tour, The National Bowl, Milton Keynes, Saturday May 22nd, 1993, with Carol and Chris. Nearly in touching distance.
The Ghost of Tom Joad tour, Manchester Apollo, February 28th, 1996, I failed to get tickets but got Bruce’s autograph after standing outside for hours in not enough clothes as the ground frosted up underneath me. In touching distance and all I managed to say was something like “I think you’re really good”!! How wet was that?!! Solo.
3 Reunion tour, MEN Arena, Saturday May 1st, 1999, with Carol and Chris. Bruce opened with My Love Will Not Let You Down, Carol and I played this at our Civil Partnership ceremony.
4 The Rising tour, Lancashire County Cricket Club, Thursday May 29th, 2003, the last time we saw Danny Federici perform (he died on April 17th, 2008), with Carol and Chris. Great that he played Sandy, which featured Danny. The only time I’ve seen him play it, one of my favourites.
5 Devils and Dust tour, Royal Albert Hall, Friday May 27th, 2005, with Chris. I didn’t like this album so much.
6 Seeger Sessions tour, MEN Arena, Sunday May 7th, 2006, with Chris. Just a year later and I really loved this show, felt very intimate.
7 Seeger Sessions tour, Hallam FM Arena, Tuesday November 14th, 2006, with Carol and Chris. By this time the show had got polished.
8 Magic tour, Sport Paleis, Antwerp, Wednesday December 12th 2007, with Chris. At last, a Christmas gig so he played Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Fun show in very dark arena with a genuine caliope on the stage.
9 Magic tour, Old Trafford, Wednesday May 28th, 2008, with Carol and Chris.
10 Working on a Dream tour, Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt, Friday July 3rd, 2009, the last time we saw Clarence Clemons perform, (he died on June 18th, 2011), with Chris. As we left the arena we all sang the Badlands refrain walking out and through the trees on our way back to the train station. Here it is: http://youtu.be/VQjq_CjSJuY
11 Wrecking Ball tour, Rhein-Energie Stadium, Cologne, Sunday May 27th, 2012, with Chris. Very emotional set for me. We used the hotel room safe and our number was 634-578!
12 Wrecking Ball tour, Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Friday June 22nd, 2012, with Carol and Chris. Rain, rain, rain. We had a picnic in the car.
13 Wrecking Ball tour, Telenor Arena, Oslo, Monday April 29th, 2013, with Chris, so lucky, Bruce did a pre-show 5 song acoustic set in his old t shirt just for us and about 100 others in the pit. Magical. One of the best just for these few moments.
- This Hard Land, as we ran in having worked out it was Bruce live and not recorded.
- All That Heaven Will Allow, one of my favourite songs, and to mean so much to me just a few months later.
- The Fever
- Growin’ Up
14 Wrecking Ball tour, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, Thursday June 20th, 2013, with Chris. Our last show together. She was too poorly to see Bruce again.
15 Wrecking Ball tour, Leeds Arena, Wednesday July 24th, 2013, one of the best shows I’ve seen, on my own. Very intimate and emotional.
16 The River 2016 tour, Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Wednesday 25th May, 2016. On my own. Good seat. Wet and cold but warmed up by Bruce pulling out all the stops. If only British crowds were a bit more responsive like the ones in Euroland. Badlands. Chris should have been with me but she was too poorly, it was awful because she really wanted to go.
17 The River 2016 tour, Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Saturday 23rd July, 2016. On my own. Good show but guess I expected a bit too much, I wanted Frankie in the dark. He played The River all the way through. Saw Little Steven from the tram the day before! She’s The One. At least no Waitin’ on a Sunny Day, terrible song with the obligatory child performer that’s been in 8 of the last 9 shows!
My favourite performances and songs
I first remember hearing about Victor Jara back in the early 80s. There was the film Missing which was about a journalist who was murdered under the Pinochet regime and Jara, a singer and activist was also killed at that time.
Bruce sang in East Berlin to an audience of 300,000 in 1988. I went to East Germany several times with my parents in the 1970s and saw the wall from both sides so this makes a connection for me. Bruce in East Berlin, 1988
I’ve always loved this song, and I love the interaction between Bruce and Soozie Tyrell here. Still hoping I’ll see him do this one day!
Thunder Road. This is the 1975 live at the Hammersmith Odeon version.
Lift Me Up. In loving memory of my darling Chris.
Bruce is now doing a series of shows on Broadway in a small theatre, just him, his guitar, a piano and his missus for about 800 people per show. Even though TicketMaster and Springsteen management tried to make it a fair system for tickets, it still wasn’t and still full of cock ups. To me this smacks of vanity project, hard on the tails of his autobiography and seems a million miles and millions of dollars away from “man of the people”. Obviously he will just do what he wants to do and mostly he makes decisions that please me but this one doesn’t. His solo projects are a bit too much on the me, me, me level whereas when it’s Bruce and the E Street Band even though it’s still all about him, he’s the MC and gives space to other performers and members of the band and even the audience. However, if someone gave me a ticket I would of course go like a shot!!