Sunday, 31 March 2013

Words on Hanging Rock...

Unlike the seats in the arena, where during one show in Sydney I was in the floor seats, Hanging Rock's seated area is essentially, just another GA pit.
I left a bag of food on my chair in A7 and went to the bar on the other side of the venue near the A1 section with the plan to head back to the seats when The E Street Band came on.
I never made it back.

In fact, I never sat down once. And unlike the second Sydney arena show where people threw bottles at me - despite ticket selling websites saying that people will be expected to stand during the show, and Springsteen later telling the crowd to 'get off their arses' - nobody at Hanging Rock said a word.

This was a little surprising after the show when I realised that printed on my wristband is clear instructions saying 'Please do not stand in aisles'.
Which is precisely what I and most other people did for almost three hours.
After being annoyed at people who thought that everyone should sit down at a Springsteen show - WRONG - and then stopped by security in Melbourne for taking pictures on my phone, it was excellent to see the Hanging Rock staff weren't too bothered about stopping people from having a good time.

GA for Hanging Rock - 2 looks set to be a lottery system after dozens of fans arrived early for the show and the large site at one point saw two individual lines of people waiting in line, thinking they were to get first entry.

One line was numbered and recorded in the established Springsteen roll call fashion that has taken place across the Australian tour. The other was not.

I never made it into GA for the first show but arriving before gates opened at 12pm they were still handing out GA numbers and the situation didn't seem too explosive.

The lottery system works so that everyone before a certain time gets given a number, then at that time - I believe to be 1.30pm today - a number will be called out, and the set amount of people from that number onwards get to go in.

So if they are letting in 200 people, and 400 arrive before cut off time, and the number 357 is called, it will be the 200 people from 357 onwards... (357-400 then 1-143...)

But looking at the GA Front Standing on Saturday as late as 4pm, their is still plenty of space to grab a front row spot on the wider stage.

One word of warning at Hanging Rock however, wherever you're seated or standing, don't expect to get home in a hurry.

Cars were still stuck trying to get out after 2 hours on Saturday with people getting angry and frustrated with the parking and exit layout.

If you're heading there today, best take one of the buses.

Hanging Rock - Show 1

Hanging Rock - 1

Ticket: A Reserve, seated (Block A7, Row N)

Stepping out of the mostly seated arenas and back onto the outdoor stage in front of thousands on the Macedon Ranges, there was no doubt that The E Street Band had come to rock Hanging Rock.

Mainly because they have rocked Australia eight times already, but also because Springsteen has pretty much tells the crowd that every night - regardless of whether he says those exact words.

The atmosphere at Hanging Rock was ultimately different from the outset, by time the band burst open with Badlands, everyone was already in great voice and spirit.

Possibly because of the easy to get to bar for anyone in the seated or front standing area, but maybe also for some reason a lot of Australians seem to love Jimmy Barnes and his old-time shouty rants.

For me, despite getting the atmosphere up, the duet between him and Springsteen was painful for Tunnel Of Love - and heading into night 2 I'm seriously hoping that Springsteen looks to the great-sounding rising Australian band The Rubens for any onstage partnership.

Other than that, it was business as usual for the band as they blasted out most of the songs already heard on the Australian tour.

And when I say business as usual, I mean a fantastic show with a few nice surprises.

An acoustic If I Should Fall Behind was an excellent request to start the encore, right after Springsteen's fans took his spiritual, preacher-like stage presence one step further by asking him to rub her belly in the hope it would better the chances of her having a baby.

Meanwhile the return of Prove It All Night, Atlantic City and Glory Days were brilliant choices that the very mention of seemed to get some fans on the otherside of the world very excited.

Absent again was the E Street roll call infused My City Of Ruins, but back on the outdoor stage the crowd did get to see the great band sign off in all it's cartoon graphic glory.

And one particular highlight was the request of Because The Night - normally an amazing song often brought out on stage but on a night where guitarist Nils Lofgren had already impressed with a solo in Prove It All Night, it was Springsteen who took lead guitar duties and powered out the awesome guitar solo.

Adding in another unexpected highlight into the growing list from this tour.


1. Badlands
2. Prove It All Night
3. High Hopes
4. We Take Care Of Our Own
5. Wrecking Ball
6. Death To My Hometown
7. Hungry Heart
8. Spirit In The Night
9. Tougher Than The Rest (w/Jimmy Barnes)
10. The River
11. Atlantic City
12. Johnny 99
13. Pay Me My Money Down
14. Darlington County
15. Shackled and Drawn
16. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
17. The Promised Land
18. The Rising
19. The Ghost Of Tom Joad
20. Thunder Road

21. If I Should Fall Behind (Request)
22. Because The Night (Request)
23. Born To Run
24. Glory Days
25. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

Friday, 29 March 2013

Best Australian Blogs...

OK Springsteen fans, if you've liked all the commentary, setlists and pictures so far on this blog, then please feel free to extend your BruceBuds love and vote for this blog in the People's Choice round of Best Australian Blogs.

It's pretty easy as this blog - #WreckingBallBlog - is the first on the list you can vote for!

Just head over to Best Australian Blogs 2013 and make the selection, then put your name and email address in, and be sure to click submit on final page.

Should take less than a a minute!


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Melbourne Rod Laver Arena - 3

Ticket: GA (Priority, #32 in line)

The third night in Melbourne - just like Sydney - really saw Springsteen and The E Street Band take off.

The last chance for me to join in the crazy antics of lining up 24 hours early, having a number scrawled on my hand with a marker and roll calls every 3 hours, saw me once again with a few other lucky fans in the direct firing line of everything on the stage.

And that meant finally, after abandoning my sign following two nights of failed requests that I would be in prime position for the epic Lost In The Flood.
A powerful performance from Springsteen that lived up to all the anticipation of the previous shows, the man took on full lead guitar duties and blasted out the song to a crowd simply lost in awe.

As if that wasn't the only great favourite to come out, Springsteen's first request of the night was the brilliant live My Love Will Not Let You Down - famously the first song on the Live In New York City concert which I first saw on TV almost 15 years ago and that first made me realise I had to see the band live.

All these years on, the song from the Tracks collection has lost none of its power and energy.

Another highlight of the night was the inclusion of I'm Goin' Down - added to the setlist in honour of two twin sisters that have been following Springsteen around Australia and the states - proving dedication to the band doesn't go unnoticed by the world's greatest entertainer.

The whole night was one that left the audience in awe of everything Springsteen and E Street.

For the first time he even led the horn and choir section through around the arena and back to the stage, instead of just his solo runs occasionally accompanied by guitarist Nils Lofgren.

The addition of a powerful Youngstown, fierce Murder Incorporated and a flawless Jungleland with Jake Clemons answering the call to his growing legion of superfans, sealed the night as a favourite of the tour so far for many.

And I haven't even mentioned the addition of Long Walk Home and Radio Nowhere - two touches from Magic that opened the show, and the request of Better Days. A crowd favourite performed by the band for the first time in a decade.

An end to the Australian arena shows and the smaller audiences - I'm more used to seeing them with 50 to 80,000 others - Springsteen and the band owned every venue.

Even when he was reported ill at the early Sydney shows, there was a never ending commitment to engage with the crowd and bring them into the show.
After eight shows now it is impossible to say which one was best, only that every single one had it's own incredible highlights.

And Melbourne 3 had more than its fair share.


1. Long Walk Home
2. Radio Nowhere
3. My Love Will Not Let You Down (Request)
4. BETTER DAYS (Request)
5. We Take Care Of Our Own
6. Wrecking Ball
7. Death To My Hometown
8. Out In The Street
9. Factory
10. Lost In The Flood
11. High Hopes
12. Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street
13. Candy’s Room (Request)
14. Youngstown
15. Murder Incorporated
16. Pay Me My Money Down
17. I’m Goin’ Down
18. Shackled & Drawn
19. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
20. The Rising
21. The Ghost of Tom Joad
22. Badlands

23. Jungleland
24. Born To Run
25. Dancing In The Dark
26. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
27. American Land

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Power slide!!!

Want to see the greatest five-second clip of Bruce Springsteen ever recorded?...

You're welcome.

More on Melbourne's third and final show to come...

Melbourne Rod Laver Arena - 2

Ticket: GA (Priority, #28 in line)

Springsteen changed the game again for show 2 in Melbourne as the band came on stage with all the house and stage lights beaming, before a rallying cry of "Melbourne, get off ya bums!" and the thumping opening of Badlands.

There was no time to pause and catch a breath, or to think about what the setlist might be for the next three hours as he kept the show running at lightning speed.

Which for me, hyped up on flu meds, vitamins and power drinks was something of a relief as it gave me all the energy I needed for the seventh concert on this tour.

Heading for a request in the third song - Cadillac Ranch made a fun debut on the Australian tour.
But not as fun as the request for Red Headed Woman, which Springsteen joked would be a challenge, taunting the E Street Band as he reminded himself of how it went.

"The band have no idea what's gonna happen!"
"And Tommy is shakin' in his boots!", he cried.

The result was a solo intro to the song before the band joined in, Soozie Tyrell and Nils Lofgren also taking a few solos after Springsteen checked if they were ready.

Again in the front row it was a great insight into how the band are constantly kept on their toes by Springsteen - and you can watch all them study Springsteen's every nod and hand gesture as he leads them through each song or setlist change.

And what was clear last night is that despite being a nightmare to keep up with, or even hitting the occasional bum note, the band still enjoy expecting the unexpected when it comes to following their leader.

At one point last night, when Lofgren was about to head out into the crowd to join Springsteen, you could clearly see Tom Morello ask the E Street guitarist if he was going.
Lofgren replied by asking Morello if he wanted to do it instead, but the Nightwatchman laughed and backed away.

Morello couldn't back away from the limelight too far though, as his incredible skills as Steve Van Zandt's stand-in has earned him a place in many fans' hearts.

Particularly one fan who held up a sign during Dancing In The Dark and instead of taking the arm of Springsteen, wanted the Rage Against The Machine star to break out some moves - which he was happy to oblige in what became an entertaining highlight of the night.

As did an excellent rendition of Thunder Road and Downbound Train.
Although for me the highlight was Because The Night leading straight into She's The One... two great tracks that showed both Springsteen and Lofgren at their best on stage.

With so many requests out there now spotted by Springsteen, and some clearly being taken seriously, there's still time in Melbourne to break out some much-loved classics.


1. Badlands
2. We Take Care of Our Own
3. Cadillac Ranch (Request)
4. Wrecking Ball
5. Downbound Train (Request)
6. Hungry Heart
7. Spirit in the Night
8. My City of Ruins
9. The E Street Shuffle
10. Red Headed Woman (Request)
11. Because the Night
12. She's the One
13. Open All Night (Seeger Sessions)
14. Working on the Highway
15. Darlington County
16. Shackled and Drawn
17. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
18. The Ghost of Tom Joad
19. Thunder Road

20. We Are Alive
21. Born To Run
22. Dancing In The Dark
23. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
24. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

A last chance power drive...

The final concert in Melbourne is the first on the Australian tour to be on consecutive nights.
After taking a spot in line 28 hours before show 2 began - and still being 28th in line! - the talk throughout the day was what would happen for the GA line for the third show.
Well heading out Rod Laver Arena after Springsteen's 3 hour show the inevitable had happened, some people not in show 2 had already started a line for show 3.
And a few of those in show 2, left early to get their place in line.
By the time I made it across to the new line - something which because of the battle with a cold I was going to avoid - I found myself in 32 position.
So again, I'm back to roll calls at 6am, 10am, 1pm and 4pm... while using the time in between to take cold flu medication and work out how much liquid to consume to both keep me hydrated but not threaten the show later with a bathroom break.
So far, despite feeling exhausted and run down, the experience of being in the pit has been worth every second in line.
Especially when you consider how in some countries people camp out for days at a time to get that rare spot.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Melbourne Rod Laver Arena - 1

Ticket (GA priority, #42 in line)

If Melbourne concert goers thought they were going to have time to gently welcome Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for the first of three shows in the city, then they were hugely mistaken.

Going straight in with Out In The Street, Springsteen wasted no time in getting out with the crowd and getting them on their feet and going crazy over the show.

When he got back on stage he told his band the next song would be The Promised Land as it seemed he was going off the setlist already and more than prepared to shake things up a bit on night six of the Australian tour.

In fact the night showed you should never get complacent with what tracks you think Bruce Springsteen will pull out for the E Street Band.

After the incredible Prove It All Night with '78 intro in Sydney, Springsteen took a vote on a request to see if the crowd wanted it again - or Incident on 57th Street.

They voted for Prove It... and they got a more polished, incredible rendition by Springsteen who took his time to blast out the previously rarely performed intro before leading the band through to Nils Lofgren's solo.

Again Lofgren took the song and stole it from it's master for a few minutes as he spun around the spotlight with his guitar with more energy and enthusiasm then I have ever seen.

An earlier request vote also saw the crowd cheer for The River over Meeting Across The River, while Seeds and Something In The Night were the only songs to make their first appearance on the tour.

Back again was the angry, near-deafening version of Born In The USA, which seems to be one of the songs Aussie fans are dying to see.

Another, I'm On Fire, is getting plenty of requests and before the show started even had a slim chance of making it as a crew member taped down the lyrics to the song near the middle platform for Springsteen's mic-in-the-crowd performances. But to no avail as it, along with my second night pleas for Lost In Flood, were unfulfilled.

The crowd in Melbourne did seem to shape the night for first show.
Taking his now well-versed cry about travelling over 'shark-infested waters' Springsteen was met with a few cuddly and inflatable sharks from the front row.

Meanwhile a group of sisters, daughters and nieces from Perth - calling themselves the 'Brucettes' - behind this fan in the line, had the shock of a lifetime when they were spotted by Springsteen in their matching tops and brought up on stage for a dance during the Seeger Session's Pay Me My Money Down.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night however was the exclusion of My City Of Ruins with it's band roll call and moment of quiet for the ghosts of E Street.

Something that made setlist watchers across the world jump online to discuss why he left it out.

Meanwhile Springsteen's cover of High Hopes was back and has become a firm favourite with this tour down under. As with Spirit In The Night, and the Tom Morello-injected Ghost Of Tom Joad, which I honestly believe is impossible not to be impressed with no matter how many times you see it.

A night that only offered a few new tracks to those following the tour still stood up as one of the best yet.

But the way this tour is going, every night is ending with the feeling that despite seeming impossible the best is always yet to come.

1. Out In The Street
2. The Promised Land
3. Something In The Night
4. Wrecking Ball
5. Death To My Hometown
6. Hungry Heart
7. Spirit In The Night
8. High Hopes
9. The River (Request)
10. Seeds
11. Johnny 99
12. Prove It All Night ('78 intro) (Request)
13. Pay Me My Money Down
14. Darlington County
15. Shackled & Drawn
16. Waitin' On A Sunny Day
17. The Rising
18. The Ghost of Tom Joad
19. Badlands
20. Land of Hope & Dreams

21. Born In The USA
22. Born To Run
23. Dancing In The Dark
24. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Tougher Than The Rest

The earliest that I saw people lining up for shows in Brisbane or Sydney was 9pm the night before - but in Melbourne, it will take more than a 12hour head start to grab the highly sought after number 1 spot in the GA line.
Bumping into concert regulars as soon as I arrived in the city I saw fresh numbers had already been given out, and were already past 30.
This was at 7pm on Saturday night.
The first guy in line was there at 2pm and prepared to camp out overnight for the privilege.
After checking in to my room for the week here I went and grabbed the 42nd spot in line - that's better than 71, for Sydney 3 and 121 and 107 for Brisbane 1 and 2.
So far we've had roll calls at 10pm Saturday, then Sunday at 7am, 11am and now heading into the 1pm.
So far we've gone past 110 with some seven hours to go.
Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena being closer to the city centre than previous venues on this tour, the wait between roll calls has bee made a lot easier as you have time to disappear for a few hours - as long as you're back in time.
Miss that roll call, and when you do get back you're moved to the back of the line.
If anyone thinks any of this waiting, roll calls and sleeping outside arenas is mental, then you'd be amazed by what happens across Europe.
Tales of people sleeping on the streets for up to five nights in Sweden have spread through the GA camp.
While the US lottery system designed to cut down on people waiting and could see people who only wait 60 minutes get first in line, has it's fans and it's haters.
With GA tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday's consecutive shows, I'm expecting their to be a race from the stage on Tuesday night to the start of the following night's GA line.
And when it comes to Hanging Rock, where a strict no camping rule has been talked about, I'm guessing a lot of people will be sleeping in the car park before the gates open at 2pm.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Roll Of The Dice

Five shows, two cities, one five-hour flight, and two 12-hour train rides down.
Another five shows, one city and a Hanging Rock to go.

At the halfway point into my trip across Australia to see all ten Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band shows asking "has it been worth it so far?" is a fair question.

And the answer, probably unsurprisingly, is a resounding "yes".

From the five shows, two in Brisbane, three for Sydney, the expectations of the performances and entertainment values has not only been met but monumentally surpassed.

Throwing out some numbers, 63 different songs have been performed out of the total of 113 performed tracks in almost 16 hours of music from the five nights.

I can't name any other artist or act that would come close to that in the world today.

Even Monday night in Sydney when Springsteen was reportedly not at his best and delivered a set ten minutes short of his trademark three hour mark, the band still delivered everything, like it was the last chance they would ever play anywhere again.

The range of songs, the requests from fans even the unpredictable nature of interacting with the crowds for songs like Waitin' On A Sunny Day and Dancing In The Dark, show that every night is different.

So when people ask those who go to multiple shows, "won't you just be seeing the same show again?..." the answer is a clear no.

(Usually followed by a shaking of the head and a reluctance to explain further to someone who hasn't see Springsteen live just why people need to camp out over night to get to the front, or go to show after show, after show.)

Everyone has their favourite songs.
For many it's the hits that may - or may not - get played.

For others it's the rare tracks, that again, depending on how lucky you are, may - or may not - get played.

The final show in Sydney with the huge amount of signs for rare tracks and rare versions of popular tracks - I mean Prove It All Night with the 1978 extended intro must have been a WTF moment for the uninitiated - demonstrated perfectly how Springsteen fans' minds work over their favourite tracks.

Not only do they want to hear them live, but when it comes to deciding which concert to go to they also fear missing out on the one where it gets played.

Since day one of this trip I've had people from across the world message me on Twitter to request I tweet the setlist throughout the concert, as I learned that people from all over the globe take breaks from work, stay up all night or get up early to follow every track that gets played, note how many times it's been performed on a tour and how long each night runs for.

There is essentially an incredible community of 'setlist watchers' out there taking notes and making predictions one what song will be played where and then evaluating just how big of a shock it is when a song once thought to be abandoned from the live show gets brought out.

There have been so many surprises already on this tour that comparing night by night performances is becoming incredibly addictive.

Meanwhile theories are abound about the shows being filmed for a live Wrecking Ball tour DVD compilation or even that the second night at Hanging Rock will get it's own concert DVD release as, so I'm told, it's the 100th date of the world tour.

Reaching the halfway point the only thing clear is that there really are no guarantees on what to expect - other than that to never underestimate the band's ambition in belting out a tune you might not expect, and also never underestimate a fan's commitment to get to the front of the stage.
(More on the nature of Springsteen fans later)

Also, a few lessons learned along the way are simply avoid alcohol in the hours before a concert if you want to keep your place near the front without being met with angry looks from people who aren't aware of the hours you've logged in the line outside the venue to get your spot, and another is to get plenty of sleep on the nights you're not rocking out.

There have been plenty of times on this trip where I have been exhausted as a result of late nights and early mornings. None of these matter when the band start up but keeping up with Springsteen and Springsteen fans is both incredibly exciting, and overwhelmingly exhausting.

Bring on Melbourne!

Sydney Allphones Arena - 3

Ticket: GA (Priority wristband - first 100)

If anyone was worried that they would miss something special by not going to the final Sydney show, then they were right to be concerned.

After Wednesday's second show there was a contagious sprit of optimism hours before the doors even opened on Friday night that this would be the concert people in the city have been waiting more than a decade for.

Talk in the hours before showtime often debated whether Springsteen seemed a little under the weather with a shorter first show, and less time in the crowd in the second.
This being Springsteen of course, both shows still amazed, thrilled and put other acts to shame with his endurance and entertainment value.

Not to mention a killer set list on the second night which pretty much lead to every other person in the pit bringing in a sign with requests - and after quickly dispensing with a few tour familiar tracks, Springsteen was more than happy to oblige.

We Take Care Of Our Own was back as opener, followed by Wrecking Ball and tour regulars Death To My Home Town, Hungry Heart and My City of Ruins were blasted out with efficiency before he asked what the crowd had for him.

The first request was Growin' Up which lead into the E Street Shuffle, before Springsteen raised the bar for the tour even higher and sealed the night as the best yet for many of those who have followed the band since they arrived "across shark infested waters!"

Taking the call for Prove It All Night - '78 intro, Springsteen caused a mini storm on stage as everyone adjusted their instruments, swapped guitars and Tom Morello shook his head in a way that almost suggested he wasn't up to speed on that one yet.

(Not that Morello needs to convince anyone of his talent as he again used his guitar lead plug to effect in E Street Shuffle - let alone the always impressive Ghost of Tom Joad)

If that was the case it need not matter, as it was Springsteen's moment to show off his playing skills, put to rest any concerns and reports of ill health and tick the box of many a fan's live request wishlist.

The performance was incredible and recieved more awe and respect from the arena crowd than any of the moments to honour E Street's ghosts.

Blasting out the exntended intro, Springsteen led the band through the rest of the song, with Jake Clemons' sax on fine form and Nils Lofgren taking the later solo to remind everyone he's still the guitarist to watch when you're not watching the main man.
If that request wasn't enough it was followed by Trapped and a bucket list call for The River.

Then after a few moments back to the tour structure of Shackled And Drawn and Waitin' On A Sunny Day came another many had been waiting for - Backstreets.
Built up and performed with the epic style it deserved, the track was well worth the wait as it made it's debut on the Australian tour.

As did another song that for some reason gets far too much airplay on Aussie radio stations - Born In The USA.
In case some people hadn't got the message to get out their seats, Springsteen ordered the song to be played loud, and the band fired out a fierce version of the song that started another great encore.

And after the closing Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out people were almost preparing to leave when he took one last request, grabbing two signs and ordering the band back to position for Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).

Not that the band or the crowd needed any encouragement, it was Friday night in the city and everybody wanted to keep the party going, and we had enough requests out there to keep going and going until Melbourne.

1. We Take Care Of Our Own
2. Wrecking Ball
3. Night
4. Death To My Hometown
5. Hungry Heart
6. My City Of Ruins
7. Growin' Up (Request)
8. E Street Shuffle
9. Prove it all night ('78 intro) (Request)
10. Trapped (Request)
11. The River (Request)
12. Pay Me My Money Down
13. Workin' on the Highway
14. Darlington County
15. Shackled and Drawn
16. Waitin' On A Sunny Day
17. Backstreets
18. Ghost of Tom Joad
19. Badlands

20. Thunder Road
21. Born In The USA
22. Born To Run
23. Dancing In The Dark
24. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
25. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (Request)

Friday, 22 March 2013

10 hours 'til Sydney show 3

Today with a single GA ticket, and having missed out on priority entry so far in Sydney I decided to go all out, and line up as early as I could.
After an hour's train ride this turned out to be 9am.
Based on Brisbane's early doors I thought I could at least get in the top 50.
An assumption that I should have learnt by now that was sure to be a mistake.
If there is one thing clear on this tour, it's never underestimate a Springsteen fab.
The guys currently head of the line arrived here at 9pm last night. They were joined by a few more around 10pm, and others have been adding to the line since the early hours.
Right now, I'm at 71. With roll calls planned for 10am, 1pm and 3pm to check everyone is holding their position.
Which means if those ahead of me are missing could move closer to the front of the line.
But seeing the dedication of these fans I'm not feeling all that lucky.

If she wants to see me...

Some great tunes from Blender Gallery's Springsteen exhibit From Darkness To A Dream in Sydney last night.
Not just covers, but decent takes on some classics.
If you haven't checked out the gallery yet it's in Elizabeth Street, Paddington, and well worth a visit,
I mean, don't we all wish we had a room in our house that looked like this...

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Hiding on the Backseats...

After the dust settled on another fantastic concert in Sydney I've been left weighing up the question of whether Springsteen's shows are worth it when you don't have standing tickets.

As the General Admission tickets for all the dates are limited and require something of a military operation and/or a bit of luck to secure, most people going to see their musical heroes in Australia for the first time in a decade will be seated.

The second Sydney show was the first where I was unable to grab general admission, so after three great shows up against the barrier, or no more than three rows of people away from Springsteen, I was in the middle of the floor seats - B Reserve, section D.
First of all, the way the arena was laid out, the view was near perfect.

OK, so for the first time I couldn't reach out in a bid to strum Springsteen's guitar during Born To Run, but I could see everything - the whole band, stage, and light effects - brilliantly.
The arena seats raised as they are, it's hard to miss anything, unless you're unfortunately one of those short people that always gets stuck behind a 6ft 2" guy like me.

(Check out what the view was like from the panoramic view from Wednesday night.)

The sound too, is fantastic - Sydney's Allphones Arena has so far done the job it's there to do superbly.
However, the first noticeable downside to the seated area is essentially, all the people you're sat next to.
Everyone there is obviously a fan and wants to get the best possible experience, but sometimes you can end up in a crowd that just doesn't feel like it's getting into the party spirit.
At times during Sydney 2, I was looking around at my close neighbours wondering why they were so firmly rooted in their seats, while up in the stands people were up on their feet, punching the air and raising their hands just like they were in the pit.

But on the floor seats, any attempt by someone like me to do just that was met with shouts to sit down - and at least twice, a thrown drink in the direction of me and my girlfriend from some fuckshit whose aim is as bad as his attitude.
As I could see fine sitting down, all it would have taken was a polite request from someone behind to sit so they could see. (That's the spirit of E Street brother and sisterhood that people can experience in the pit, if they're polite enough and don't try and ruin the view from someone who was there before them.)

But it took Springsteen himself to get everyone off their ass midway through the show before the floor seats guests started to really enjoy the action.
By this time, myself and a few others had moved to the side rail where we were allowed to stand up without any hassle.

And I should at this point make it clear - especially for all those people who think it's fine to throw shit and people standing up - that it clearly says on the website when you buy your ticket that customers who purchase seated tickets, will be able to stand during the performance.
The main rule overall for anyone who has a seated ticket to the remaining shows on the tour is essentially stating the obvious.
Once you've been in the pit for a Springsteen show, being restricted to a seated position probably won't cut it for you.

But if you're heading to your first show, or you've never been in the pit and don't like the idea of being covered in sweat and occasionally pushed around during a Springsteen crowd surf, then rest assured, the seats offer both a great view, great sound and - once everyone gets in the spirit of the night - a great experience.
For me however, after three shows so close to the action, I was reluctantly looking forward to the first two Melbourne shows where I was in the upper reaches of the crowd and planning to write about the experience from there.
At least, I was until a shopping trip in Sydney with Miss #WreckingBallBlog saw me stood next to a Ticketek booth while she looked at shoes, and I quickly checked the vendors mobile app to see if any last minute GA were available.

Somehow extra standing tickets had been released this morning and I'm now planning to stand in the throng of the crowd for the remaining dates of the tour.
An amazing result which means I will no longer be heading to the upper tier seats at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena to see how the show looks from there on Sunday and Tuesday.

(However, those single seats are now available, so if someone feels like sitting up there for me and letting me know how it goes, the tickets are available.)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Sydney Allphones Arena - 2

Ticket: Floor, seated

People who have gone to both Springsteen Sydney shows may have trouble deciding which one was best.
Following the famous second night rule like Brisbane part 2, the setlist had a major overhaul with the first four tracks making their debut on the tour.

But what stood out more was the requests Springsteen took from the crowd and the band belted out.
Four in a row with The Promised Land, Cover Me, No Surrender and I'm On Fire - perfect with an Australian audience not afraid to show its love for the Born In The USA album.
Gone tonight for the first time was Spirit In The Night, but Jake Clemons didn't have an easy night as instead of joining Springsteen front of the stage as he played with the crowd over Janey in the dirt, he instead brought in the epic Jungleland as part of the encore.
Inside the arena early, we could hear the classic get a decent soundcheck through closed doors and when it came to stepping up to arguably Clarence 'Big Man' Clemons' most recognised solo, his nephew did not disappoint.
Such a moving performance that Jake's solo brought back that lump in the throat that chokes many fans during the My City of Ruins roll call every night and the picture montage during closing song Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.
It's the first time I've seen Jungleland since Big Man passed away - the last few performances he did were highlights of the concerts - and I honestly believe Jake did his uncle proud. And the crowd told him so.
Springsteen didn't leave the stage and travel to greet fans outside of the GA floor area as much as he has in previous dates on the tour - but belted out 27 tracks over 3 hours including the fun live cover encore addition of Detroit Medley.
Also becoming a fast live favourite is the rocking version of Open All Night - not previously a track I've given much attention to, but is sounding great on this tour once again.
Four nights in, the regular Wrecking Ball, My City of Ruins, and Tom Morello-fused Ghost Of Tom Joad is still impressing the crowd, and the set list changes have worked incredibly well so far.
I never thought I would see Devils & Dust get an airing on this tour - but after also catching that in the soundcheck it was the night's surprise opener.
(Seriously, how many people actually called that?)

Last To Die was also a great track tonight - the first time I've seen it live and brilliant with the full band behind him.
Friday, I'm back in the GA pit* - and once again, I have no idea what to expect from the band as they reach the fifth of ten shows.
If the trend continues however, I do know I will be blown away. Again.

(* First time in seats tonight - more on that to come!)


1. Devils & Dust
2. Last To Die
3. The Ties That Bind
4. Darkness On The Edge Of Town
5. Wrecking Ball
6. Death To My Hometown
7. Out In The Street
8. Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street
9. The Promised Land (request)
10. Cover Me (request)
11. No Surrender (request)
12. I'm on Fire (request)
13. My City Of Ruins
14. High Hopes
15. Because The Night
16. Open All Night
17. Shackled And Drawn
18. Waitin' On A Sunny Day
19. Lonesome Day
20. Ghost Of Tom Joad
21. Badlands

22. Jungleland
23. Born To Run
24. Bobby Jean
25. Dancing In The Dark
26. Detroit Medley
27. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

Spare Parts...

Last call for a spare pair of seated tickets to tonight's Springsteen show in Sydney!
Seats are B Reserve seating in section 38.
Cost is $180 each - but feel free to make an offer.

Also, I currently have 1 spare GA lawn ticket for the Saturday show at Hanging Rock, that includes bus travel from Melbourne.

And, the holy grail, a spare GA front standing for Melbourne's show 3 on Weds, March 27. Face value, and least I'd take for this, is $212!

Get in touch if interested!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

High Hopes

Have very nearly just spent a few thousand dollars on an image or two from Sydney's Blender Gallery.
The small art venue in Elizabeth St, Paddington is hosting a Springsteen photo exhibit this week with some excellent rare and impressive prints on display.
My names down potentially for a popular shot of Springsteen and the Big Man.
Any Springsteen fans looking for something to do when they're not waiting for a space in the pit, then I recommend taking a trip into Sydney's suburbs, between the Harbour and Bondi Beach and seeking it out.
Be warned though, you won't want to leave empty handed.

Surfing the Springsteen crowd...

With a front and centre place in the pit again for Sydney 1 I was again right in the path of Springsteen's crowd surfing mayhem.
(This time I used two hands to help take him back to the stage.)
In Brisbane 2 however I had a spot slightly to the left and was able to get a different view of the journey Springsteen takes back to the stage.
This is how it all happens...

Life in the pit....

Following my post GA or Bust - documentary maker Julian Garcia sent me a link to this clip about a documentary on Springsteen fans.
This trailer for his documentary shows some interesting light on being in the pit at a Springsteen show and how as long as everyone respects each other everyone has a great time.
Something that one guy in the pit at the first Sydney show nearly learned the hard way after he got smashed before hand started pissing everyone off by yelling crap at the stage every 30 seconds.
Here's the clip that Julian sent me:

Any other fans who have anything else they want to share get in touch!

Twitter: @MrCorey or email

Monday, 18 March 2013

Sydney Allphones Arena - 1

Ticket: GA (No priority wristband)

Just when you think you have seen the best of Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band with two fantastic shows in Brisbane, they go and pull out even more to blow you away.
Sydney's first show of the tour was so spectacular it frequently left me, people around me - and even Springsteen himself - breathless.
Starting with American Land as a late tribute to St Patrick's Day, the party kick-started and never stopped.
Next up was Prove It All Night - one I've been holding for so far and was overwhelmed by. There was no extended Springsteen guitar solo, but still it always sounds incredible live.
Also from Darkness on the Edge of Town was Adam Raised A Cain and Candy's Room. I don't know if the guys around me were just as excited to see these tracks start up but it seemed like they brought the house down.
As did another Seeger Sessions' anthem Pay Me My Money Down.
As a bonus to those who missed Saturday night, High Hopes made a reappearance and is easily becoming a tour favourite.
As is Springsteen's Australian tour 'roll call' - those of us at previous shows couldn't help but shout his 'Over shark infested waters!' which is fast becoming this tour's trademark slogan.
For the third night we had the excellent Spirit In The Night too, which sits perfectly after a solemn and spiritual My City of Ruins and it's moment to honour those who are missing.
Sydney 1 was the shortest of the three concerts, but the energy put in by Springsteen surpassed those of the previous two nights.
After landing back on the stage after the encore of Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out he was seen turning to one band member and saying 'I'm fucked!'
The man looked exhausted as he often does at the end of the show, but you could tell he still wanted to keep going.
Other highlights of the night was a brilliantly fierce Youngstown and the band's cover of Moon Mullican's rock n' roll epic Seven Nights To Rock in an exhilarating encore.

Here's what for me is the best setlist of the tour so far:

1. American Land
2. Prove It All Night
3. Adam Raised A Cain (Request)
4. Wrecking Ball
5. Death To My Hometown
6. Hungry Heart
7. City of Ruins
8. Spirit In The Night
9. High Hopes
10. Youngstown
11. Candy's Room
12. She's The One
13. Pay Me My Money Down
14. Shackled and Drawn
15. Waitin' On A Sunny Day
16. The Rising
17. Ghost of Tom Joad
18. Badlands

19. Thunder Road
20. Born To Run
21. Seven Nights To Rock
22. Dancing In The Dark
23. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Price You Pay - GA or Bust

A few people I've spoken to at the first two shows have told me that when they tried booking tickets that for them seeing Springsteen they basically had one rule - GA or bust.

It seems that for many, once you've been in the front row for an E Street Band show, there's no going back. (to the back)

And with General Admission comes great pressure to reach the stage.

With Brisbane 1 I was lucky to arrive and be placed 121 in a group of 200 GA holders.
After arriving three hours before the gates opened I was given the number and a green wristband.

Then as the gates opened instructions were shouted out that once inside we had an hour before meeting outside a specific door, where we would line up in order and then be marched into the venue before anyone else.

After we were in, the rest were allowed in to fill up the remaining space.

For the second show with another GA ticket I left nothing to chance.

After hearing at midday that by 10am they were already at 53, I jumped into a taxi and told him to floor it to the Entertainment Centre.

The driver seemed to love this as he belted through a couple of amber lights and at one point started trailing a passing police car with its sirens on to beat traffic.

I was there by 1pm and this time had 107.

As I was earlier the GA set up was a little different. First you put your name down and was again given a number. Then at 3pm, a roll call was made to see who was still here.

At this point we had to get in line and have our tickets marked, and new purple wristbands handed out. Then again informed of which door to meet at and how we would be let in.

In total Brisbane 1 required about 5 hours of waiting in line and in front of the stage. Brisbane 2 I waited around 7 hours.

There was no word if this system would be the same in Sydney or Melbourne, but venues have advised early GA admission is on a 'first come, first served' basis and not a 'pit lottery' which is big in Springsteen's US shows.

And if you are going to do this then the general rule of thumb is you already have your GA ticket in hand ready to go. And I would advise using a buddy to help keep the line during toilet and drink breaks. It's a lot easier in a group than it is to go solo.

The only question for me is after being front row for the first two concerts, can I convince my girlfriend who is joining me for Sydney 1 with a GA ticket, to wait in line that long?...

Notes on Australia - Brisbane

Only being here for three nights, two of which were taken up by the shows, I've essentially failed to really explore Brisbane as I had hoped.

Probably because the entertainment centre is on the edge of some swamp and a 40 minute train ride away from the city centre.
Unless of course the trains aren't running the entire way and you have another hour for buses.

I did have to kill a few hours before checking into the Base backpackers though, and found myself walking the streets and ended up in the Botanical Gardens along the river.
I'm not all that fussed about gardens or parks, and definitely not an expert on flora and fauna, but the park is a great place to walk, run or cycle and is set up really well to do both if you have a few hours of freedom or want a quick break from the CBD.
Also, it has some amazing trees that remind me of Game of Thrones. And that's awesome.

One thing I will say about Brisbane Entertainment Centre is that although it has put on the show amazingly, it's certainly nothing to look at.
It's just one big concrete mess on the edge of marshland, with nothing but small houses nearby.

In someways it's a terrible venue, but it other ways it's quite fitting - or perhaps it would have been if Springsteen rocked out Darkness on the Edge of Town in tribute to it.

Brisbane Entertainment Centre - 2

Ticket: GA (Pit/Wristband)

The second stop on the Australia tour was the perfect example of how no two Springsteen shows are ever the same.
Five out of the first nine songs were different from the previous Brisbane show two nights earlier that kicked off the tour.
The start was a pumping version of High Hopes, replacing the previous show's opening song We Take Care Of Our Own that wasn't even played.

What fans received on night two was a continuation of the renewal of E Street Band folklore that Springsteen plugged to media during a soundcheck ahead of night one.
An incredible Incident on 57th Street was a lengthy, enjoyable surprise. As was the acoustic version of Blinded By The Light to satisfy the girl in the blue dress that Springsteen said he'd spotted earlier and thought was cute.
Other exciting changes were brought on with the collection of fan-made request signs - something he hadn't done on night one - and which led to a brilliant rendition of Open All Night.
Spirit In The Night made it's second welcome appearance and along with Tom Morello's fiercely influenced Ghost of Tom Joad are the recurring highlights from two nights on the tour.
If there was one disappointment it was at times the sound seemed to be a little distorted from the guitars of the band.
Death To My Hometown started great, but the final few minutes was a distracting mess of feedback between Nils Lofgren, Springsteen and Morello.
A fault which I feel Lofgren felt was there. Standing in front of him and Soozie for the night I could see him frequently swap guitars, fiddle with pedals and signal the mix desk more times than I've ever seen him before.
More notably however, there was no major Lofgren solo, (so no Because The Night.)
Aside from that however were of course some incredible highlights.
Atlantic City sounded incredible and The River too was an excellent surprise as the first few bars on the harmonica were met with a roar of the crowd.

Brisbane part two also had the pleasure of Land Of Hopes And Dreams - performed superbly before the encore that included Bobby Jean amongst it's final efforts.
A night that spanned the decades of E Street Band including Springsteen's first single is not one to be dismissed - even if it may have lacked the punch and power of the previous show with no Thunder Road or Glory Days.
Heading to Sydney for Monday night - I have no idea what to expect but cannot wait for the next blast from the past.
A 12 hour train journey along the east coast - I'm revising my history to some of E Street's earlier works... I've got a feeling Kitty could be back with Rosalita any day now.

2. The Promised Land
3. Wrecking Ball
4. Death To My Hometown
5. Out In The Street
6. My City of Ruins
7. Spirit In The Night
8. Incident on 57th Street
9 The River
10. Atlantic City
11. Open All Night
12. Darlington County
13. Shackled & Drawn
14. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
15. Racing In The Street
16. Badlands
17. The Ghost of Tom Joad
18. Land of Hope & Dreams
19. Blinded By The Light (solo acoustic)
20. Born To Run
21. Bobby Jean
22. Dancing In The Dark
23. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Colours of the band...

After show 1's green wristband comes show 2's purple... An hour before gates open and there is still a few left for GA ticket holders...

Four hours until night 2

So after Thursday night's front row fluke, today I'm leaving nothing to chance.
Outside the venue 4 hours early I'm now 107 in line... 14 spots higher than last time.
We have to stick around for a roll call at 3pm and sometime after that we get the wristband that gets us in first.
Will write more details on this tomorrow - trying to save iPhone battery as much as I can over next few hours.
(Remember, no cameras of any kind allowed inside).

Friday, 15 March 2013

Just a second...

I didn't want to film anything in Brisbane - mainly because with no cameras allowed in all the pictures had to be done on my iPhone and I didn't want to fill up memory or exhaust the battery.

But in a mad rush to touch his guitar during the front centre's favourite part of Born To Run I mistakenly hit the video button and recorded one second of it.

That's one second of a great moment, in a great song on a great night to share with.

Go ahead, take a second and enjoy...

Brisbane Entertainment Centre - 1

Ticket - GA (With front row/pit wristband)

It's somewhat difficult for me to give an objective view of the first of ten Springsteen shows coming my way.
Because no matter who you are or what you think of the quality of each song performed, when your front row, in the centre under the microphone, it will always be the greatest show ever.
Even after lining up for hours no one expected just how close they would get to Springsteen in the first show of 2013, and the first in Australia for a decade.
Having only seen the E Street Band in stadiums and festivals the indoor arena stage seemed smaller to start with but without any divide or space for security to stand between the audience and the band, everyone stood there for two hours before the show began, knew they were in for something special.

Entering in darkness, and exploding into We Take Care Of Our Own, the magic was set for the next 3 hours 10 minutes.
Springsteen shared his regret for not being back for a decade after a previous world tour didn't travel down under and gave the crowd a mix of the old, new, classic and
Tom Morello proved his worth as Steve Van Zandt's replacement - a joke of the night from Springsteen that he was filming Lilyhammer in Norway and basically playing himself was met with a roar of riotous approval.
Whilst Van Zandt's comic appeal is missing doesn't mean the band doesn't have fun.
Watch out for Jake Clemons' interaction with everyone in the band - especially when he jokes around at the back pretending to throw a football 'right by yer' to the E Street choir during Glory Days.
Morello no stranger to E Street gave a blistering solo on Ghost of Tom Joad which will not only - hopefully - be a staple of every show on this tour, but also threaten to remain a highlight every night.
That's unless of course you're one of guys or girls that Springsteen pulls up on stage, dances with, sings with, hand shakes, high-fives, points at, waves to, or crowd surfs over.
If there's one thing clear from the start of this tour is that everyone in the arena is involved in the show.
You in the back? He'll head over to you.
Behind the stage with cheaper seats? Don't worry, the view is clear sound is good and they play to you guys too.
Springsteen came here to do what he has done hundreds of times, yet to watch him so closely you can see that the professional musician and band leader doesn't stop.
He keeps, going, even if he looks like he's about to collapse from exhaustion he asks if you want one more song - and then of course gives you two.
I headed into the arena after flying in from Perth and with less than 10 hours sleep in three days. Every time I felt that I couldn't take standing up anymore he kicked into another song and the pain and exhaustion went away.

Highlights of the night included Nils Lofgren on Because The Night, the E Street Shuffle, the amazing Spirit In The Night, and the tributes to Clarence 'Big Man' Clemons and Danny Federici. At one point bringing the 12,000 crowd into pure silence, while later screenshots of the two were so moving there was unlikely to be a throat without a lump or an eye without tears on their way.

Another highlight for many was Springsteen's cover of Australian band The Saints' Just Like Fire Would - although I will confess to not recognising the song myself.

There are nine more shows. Nine more times to hopefully see Prove It All Night, Backstreets, Darkness On The Edge of Town, Cover Me and maybe even Lost In The Flood.

Until then, here's what Brisbane had:

We Take Care of Our Own
Just Like Fire Would
Wrecking Ball
Death to My Hometown
Hungry Heart
My City of Ruins
Spirit in the Night
The E Street Shuffle
Jack of All Trades
Murder Incorporated
Johnny 99
Because the Night
She's the One
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Apollo Medley
The Rising
The Ghost of Tom Joad
Thunder Road

We Are Alive
Born to Run
Glory Days
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Two hearts...

".. are better than one" according to the classic song from The River album.
You know what else is good? Two hands.
When Bruce Springsteen is crowd surfing towards you, and you're one of just a few people between him and the stage, use BOTH hands to support him.
Because holding his back up with your left arm while you try and take a picture with your right arm ends with guitarist Nils Lofgren having to rush and help Springsteen when he's about to land awkwardly.
And you end up with a picture like this:

Easy Money

So the first 200 people with GA tickets at Brisbane Entertainment Centre get let in first... Introducing number 121!