Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Before the adventure...

Before I left for the concert I wrote a story about the reaction from others on the trip to follow Springsteen's whole Australia tour. Here it is:

Searching For Springsteen

At what point do you start treading the fine line between being a fan of something to becoming a weird, obsessive, stalker-like nut-job?

In the eyes of a few friends of mine it seems the answer is when you travel thousands of kilometres around a country to follow your favourite artist and all-time hero on his latest tour.

So with the words "crazy stalker", "fanatic" and "weird groupie" levelled at me, today I start an 18-day trip across Australia to see every concert on the Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band tour.

An up-close image of The Boss captured during a front-row experience at a previous Springsteen concert.
An up-close image of The Boss captured during a front-row experience at a previous Springsteen concert.

That's 10 concerts in four different locations - starting in Brisbane then on to Sydney, Melbourne and ending in Hanging Road.

An 8000-kilometre round trip made up of two flights, two 12-hour train journeys and a couple of coach expeditions through the Macedon Ranges.

At last count the total cost of this madness has been about a $3,000 chunk out of my savings.

And now looking at all those figures written down I'm beginning to understand why most of my mates have looked at me as if I'm insane. Or in the case of one particular friend, genuinely asking if I'm sure I "don't need some sort of help?"

Truth is if I do have a problem, it's not my obsession with Springsteen and his band's incredible live shows (Which having already seen four times in the past five years, I believe is the greatest live show you can ever see).

Instead it's the insane race you end up in trying to get sought-after tickets when one of your favourite events is announced.

When Perth was left off the list of venues I faced a choice of four concerts to go to. Deciding a trip over east was too far to go for just one show, I went for two concerts with the plan to make a short holiday of it.

But after securing tickets to a couple, I made the mistake of seeing what else was still available for the other shows, and somehow ended up with better tickets that other fans would kill for.

Instantly falling into a deep credit card number-punching rush of pre-sales, passwords and a timer in the corner of the screen pressuring me to make the deal or lose the front section tickets to one of the thousand other online gamblers.

Then, before I can even make the travel arrangements, extra dates are announced and the whole thing starts again.

It was when I had tickets to nine concerts I realised I might be have gone too far and that it was crazy to go to all but one show in an epic tour.

So I did the only thing I could and searched ticket trading websites for the best ticket I could find for the final show.

There is of course absolutely no need for me to go to every concert, and I've tried justifying it to myself in many ways.

One implausible excuse was after seeing some great shows at Perth Arena, I would go to every E Street show and compare the country's other big arenas to the building which claims to be "Australia's finest venue".

Potentially a nice idea to see how good Perth's new concert destination rates against the older establishments, but really not worth the trouble unless you happen to be an architect or some sort of engineer obsessed with acoustics and structural design.

A better reason is simply that despite being here two years I still haven't seen much of Aussie life outside of Perth.

With the exception of three months working in a New South Wales rainforest retreat to extend a visa, and a couple of days in Sydney, my plans to travel Australia when I left home two years ago were instantly put on hold when I fell in love with a Perth girl.

After being here that long and planning to stick around a lot longer, a holiday to check out Australia's other cities is more than overdue. And although I won't be heading into the outback or watching the sunrise over Uluru, taking the train between the eastern states will I hope be a great way to catch some Aussie scenery.
A similar trip to explore a country that many soccer fans embark on while following a hyped-up England team until they get knocked out of the World Cup.

An easier excuse is that as a writer and blogger I'm always looking for something fun to write and blog about (And you can conveniently follow the day-by-day action here).

But at the end of the day no matter what reason I have to explain my expedition it ultimately comes down to one thing.

There is no show like a Springsteen show.

There is probably not even a Bruce Springsteen show like any previous Bruce Springsteen show as the wealth of material, talent and stamina of him and the band means that you have no idea what to expect one concert to the next.

This is what I keep telling myself, my friends, and more importantly my girlfriend, who I took to her first Springsteen concert during a trip to England last year and who is joining me for a few shows in Sydney.

Something I hope will distract her from the fact that our planned holiday to South America this year has been put on hold because of this somewhat selfish once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

At least it is until I get my hands on a pair of Rock In Rio tickets, because Springsteen's also playing there in September.