Bruce Springsteen

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author MIN date 22/06/16 venue Parken, Copenhagen, DEN

Those who know me, not necessarily closely, but those who just so happen to have a little insight into what kind of music I might like, they would know that Bruce Springsteen, aka The Boss, is an artist very dear to me. His performance at Roskilde Festival 2012 is still to this day the best concert I’ve ever seen, and therefore saying that I’m excited about watching one of my biggest idols for the fourth time is an understatement. When first Springsteen & co. announced the concert, I was under the impression that I was going to hear the classic album “The River” in full, but apparently, that was only for a few American concerts and did not apply for the European leg of The River Tour. On one hand, I’m a little disappointed that we won’t get to hear the excellent double album in full, but then again, a greatest hits-marathon with The Boss is nothing to frown about.

All photos courtesy of Stefan Frank Thor Straten.

Bruce Springsteen

For the first time out of the many I’ve been to Parken in Copenhagen, I’m actually seated during the concert. It’s nice for a change being able to see the entire crowd on the floor, but I’m excited to see how alive they’ll be during the actual show. As I discover throughout, they’re highly energetic, faithfully waving their arms and clapping when they’re supposed to, but I must admit I feel like they ought to give a little more of themselves. After all, it’s the first Springsteen-concert on Danish soil in three years. However, I am pleased that the sound present is actually decent as I’m sitting almost straight in front of one of the speakers in the stadium – in fact, it’s probably the best I’ve heard in here since the last time Roger Waters performed “The Wall”.

The set kicks off with “The River”-rocker “Out in the Streets” which receives much singing along in the form of whoa-ohs, and the following “Badlands” only furthers the positive reception. Max Weinberg’s drumming roars like thunder in the A section where I’m seated, Bruce’s voice is (thankfully) rusty and old as ever, and Jake Clemons saxophone is harsh and sexy as hell. Especially during the fan-favorite “Spirit in the Night”, his playing perfectly adapts the New York-ish jazz-style the song presents, and as it climaxes The Boss himself runs around in front of the crowd, greeting everyone who’s willing to. Eventually, Clemons join him out between the Golden Circle and the General Admission part of the floor, and the crowd goes nuts; as always, Bruce and company’s enthusiasm is contagious like none other. Song by song, the audience lets loose a little more, and you can almost (from where I’m sitting) see each row down on the floor get sucked in as the show marches on, either shaking a leg or throwing a fist. But the first real highlight we get tonight is the classic “Hungry Heart”; as the first few notes are struck, the crowd start singing the first verse and chorus like you only hear it on tapes recorded at Madison Square Garden. It truly is a beautiful moment, and after the chorus, Springsteen takes over and finishes us off with an amazing rendition of another “The River”-classic.

But yes, I know that what I’ve described so far sounds like just another Springsteen-show, but what sets it apart are the rarities we’re treated to. Not only do “Blinded by the Light”, “Pink Cadillac” and “Rendezvous” get aired, but also the amazing “Point Blank” from the tour’s feature-album. Personally, it’s a song I thought I’d never get to hear live and Bruce’s voice sounds excellent as he croons the lyrics centered on an ill-fated girl. Other highlights include an excellent trio-guitar solo from Bruce, Steven van Zandt and Nils Lofgren before “The Promised Land”, "sing with a fan"-sequence in “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” (which feels as suited now that Donald Trump is on the march as it did back in 2002) as he helps a young girl onto the stage, and especially “Land of Hopes and Dreams” where we’re truly taught that although Springsteen’s songs are able to speak on their own, they freaking soar in a live setting. Besides that, the show has most of the qualities you expect from this kind of show. The guitars sound rusty and dangerous (never sticking quite to formula – thankfully!), Max Weinberg sits tight like a powerhouse, and the stage is bare except for some huge screens and the many musicians, just like it’s supposed to be.

During the encore we’re obviously treated to some classics like “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Born to Run” (which gets the entire crowd - seated sections included - on their feet until the end of the show), but as the next string of songs, all the way from “Glory Days” to the Isley Brothers cover (“Shout”), I can’t help but feel like I need something extra. As much as I love all of these songs individually, it’s pretty formulaic that they’re the ones to represent the encore, and I was honestly hoping for another gem off “The River” – a rare performance of the haunting “Wreck on the Highway” would’ve been otherworldly, and also “The Ties that Bind” would’ve been an excellent addition to tonight’s show which is part of The River Tour – let’s not forget that. But what’s that? The second encore features Springsteen with only an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, playing what is probably one of the best-written songs to have ever roared through this concrete building: “Thunder Road”. Instead of the classic saxophone solo at the end of the song, The Boss handles things with his harmonica, leaving a chilling feeling that’s hard to shake as you leave the stadium. Thank you for that! Tonight, Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street band proved that they’re still one of the best live bands around, and I don’t suppose that’ll change anytime soon, despite the Boss himself being 66 years old. He might not have crowd-surfed or chugged an entire beer during the set like I’ve seen him do before, but he doesn’t need to. He’s still a divine performer and an amazing musician with outstanding intimacy when needed. Please don’t ever change, Bruce!

Setlist:

  • 1. Out in the Streets
  • 2. Badlands
  • 3. Cadillac Ranch (Sign Request)
  • 4. Rendezvous
  • 5. Sherry Darling
  • 6. Blinded by the Light (Sign Request)
  • 7. Spirit in the Night
  • 8. We Take Care of Our Own (Sign Request)
  • 9. Hungry Heart
  • 10. Pink Cadillac (Sign Request)
  • 11. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
  • 12. Death to My Hometown
  • 13. The River
  • 14. Point Blank
  • 15. Atlantic City
  • 16. Murder Incorporated
  • 17. The Promised Land
  • 18. Working on the Highway
  • 19. Darlington County
  • 20. Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
  • 21. I’m on Fire
  • 22. Because the Night
  • 23. The Rising
  • 24. The Land of Hope and Dreams
  • - Encore 1
  • 25. Born in the U.S.A.
  • 26. Born to Run
  • 27. Glory Days
  • 28. Seven Nights to Rock (Moon Mullican-cover)
  • 29. Dancing in the Dark
  • 30. Tenth Avenue-Freeze Out
  • 31. Shout (The Isley Brothers cover)
  • - Encore 2
  • 32. Thunder Road (solo, acoustic)

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