Sunday, 23 February 2014

Springsteen at Hunter Valley - Show 1

Proving once again that from the moment Bruce Springsteen steps on to a stage you have no idea what to expect, Hunter Valley was given a wine-soaked set list for the first of its outdoor party nights.
Launching with a special Australia-tweaked Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-Do-Dee, Springsteen made it clear that he was hear to rock everyone in the valley - whether in the pit, seats, or ridiculous balcony sit down meal.

The whole band came to the front of the stage for the rock 'n' roll/blues song by Stick McGhee which proved the perfect opener for the New South Wales wine country under the setting sun.
But it wasn't going to be an evening of songs for a soft, delicate pallette as Badlands  thundered into action straight away - and with it the quick return of Jake Clemons who missed Sydney after heading home to see his father who tragically died last Monday.

Back outdoors, and with the return of Jake Clemons, the band sounded firmly at their best.
A request for Murder Incorporated not only appeased fans of 1995's Greatest Hits but also gave Springsteen, Nils Lofgren and Stevie Van Zandt some solo guitar time.
Van Zandt's vocals too were probably the best have been all tour. In particularly as backing duties on The River, which, down in the Hunter Valley, sounded incredible and was one of the stand-out songs of the night.

Trapped made it's 2014 Australian tour debut to a welcome applause before American Skin (41 Shots) again gave Tom Morello room to weave his fantastic guitar solo on the end. It's not as elaborate or celebrated as his mind-blowing work on The Ghost of Tom Joad, but it's one solo you don't want to miss.

So far on this tour Springsteen has pulled out some rare solo performances that leave the most die hard absentee fan drawl with envy. 

Last night was no exception as he pointed to a sign off in the crowd and explained how he had written The Wish for his mother.  Telling the crowd it's probably 'the most uncool thing you can do in rock'n' roll'.
(He even took time to send his mum a photo of the crowd to see on her new iPhone.)
The solo acoustic version of the Tracks song told the story of a young child looking at a guitar in a window while shopping with his mother before seeing it under the tree at Christmas. A song that Springsteen said is '100 per cent true..'

Bringing the band back out for the rest of the encore, Springsteen busted out The Easybeats crowd-pumping Friday On My Mind with just as much intensity as he had when he opened with the cover in Sydney. Only this time, more of the crowd - this writer included - knew more of the lyrics to shout along.
The show finale was looking like a list of closers established so far on this tour before The E Street Band were kept on stage for the final track - a sweeping full band Thunder Road to finish the party before the car park hangover quickly crept in.

(Not for Springsteen though, who this time traded in wheels for wings in a helicopter passing over the avalanche of bottlenecks leaving Hope Estate.)

Set list
1. Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-Do-Dee (Stick McGee cover)
2. Badlands
3. No Surrender
4. Two Hearts
5. Bobby Jean
6. High Hopes
7. Just Like Fire Would
8. Murder Incorporated (Sign request)
9. Trapped
10. Wrecking Ball
11. The River
12. American Skin (41 Shots)
13. Because The Night
14. Workin' On The Highway
15. Darlington County
16. Shackled and Drawn
17. Waitin' On A Sunny Day
18. The Ghost of Tom Joad
19. Land of Hope and Dreams
20. The Wish (Sign request)
21. Friday On My Mind (The Easybeats cover)
22. Born To Run
23. Dancing In The Dark
24. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
25. Shout
26. Thunder Road

Length of show 2 hours 58 minutes
Australasia tour so far: 9 shows, 258 songs, 104 different.