Thursday, 20 February 2014

Springsteen at Sydney Allphones Arena

As workers across the city were warned to down tools and get home early before the threat of a freak storm rolled in, there really was just one way to follow up Melbourne's two, reportedly great, full-album shows in Sydney.

A full Darkness On The Edge Of Town show was the highly-anticipated follow-up to the weekend's double album punch, (especially for those who fucking missed it) and the E Street Band were on incredible form.

The album from start to finish was easily the dominating highlight of the night, that also contained a few new Australian covers to surprise the Sydney crowd.

The Easybeats' Friday On My Mind opened the show with Springsteen in full intensity getting the crowd pumped from the opening bars of the Sydney band's famous 60s hit.
(Flowing straight into Out In The Street, with the clear reference to the song in the line 'on Monday I got Friday on my mind' Springsteen was keen to show his love for the Aussie band.)

One of only two sign requests of the night, Cadillac Ranch followed, and the only show at Sydney's Allphones Arena received High Hopes and Just Like Fire Would before Springsteen launched into Spirit In The Night.

This song may have been a surprise for some with the noticeable lack of saxophonist Jake Clemons, leaving the solo duties to Eddie Manion, who ever the talented professional seemed to enjoy the impossible challenge of taking up a Clemons' spotlight.

And Springsteen was keen to show he had no worries about Manion's ability - calling him off stage during Spirit..., and repeatedly bringing him forward for all of the younger Clemons' solos.

He also thanked Manion for stepping into the role while explaining how Jake had left the tour after his father, Clarence's brother, Bill, also a talented musician, had died earlier this week. 

Although he clearly rose to the occasion, Manion's incredible skill and talent on the saxophone couldn't quite fill the void left behind without a Clemons on the stage. Something that Jake has done so well since the death of his legendary uncle by building his own star profile with a fast-growing following of his own.

Making the call to complete a three-concert run of full album shows however was more than enough to appease die-hard fans who were missing Clemons air on stage.
Every song was masterly performed, with Springsteen blasting out an angry guitar solo for Adam Raised A Cain, and Roy Bittan's piano a brilliant stand-out onSomething In The Night.

Springsteen's fierceness appeared to surface again on Streets Of Fire, taking a suitably sharper edge than its earlier appearance on the tour in Perth.

Meanwhile, Nils Lofgren's solo work for the night was saved for Prove It All Night, (not the '78 version), which, like any Lofgren cyclone-powered never fails to impress.
After the Darkness ended it was hard to see where Springsteen could go next for surprises.

But it seemed The Easybeats were not the only Aussie band in for a tribute as the encore started with a rocking version of INXS' Don't Change.
As with the previous cover, the band clearly revelled in being challenged with a local song and the crowd were pumped for show's final hour.

Even then the surprises didn't end as Springsteen turned away the guitar and harmonica for a potential Thunder Road acoustic closer, instead taking a request forSurprise, Surprise and taking on Dream Baby Dream for night's solo finale.

Set list
1. Friday on My Mind (The Easybeats cover)
2. Out in the Street
3. Cadillac Ranch (sign request)
4. High Hopes
5. Just Like Fire Would
6. Spirit in the Night

7. Badlands
8. Adam Raised a Cain
9. Something in the Night
10. Candy's Room
11. Racing in the Street
12. The Promised Land
13. Factory
14. Streets of Fire
15. Prove It All Night
16. Darkness on the Edge of Town

17. Darlington County
18. Shackled and Drawn
19. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
20. The Ghost of Tom Joad
21. Land of Hope and Dreams

22. Don't Change (INXS cover)
23. Born to Run
24. Dancing in the Dark
25. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
26. Shout
27. Surprise, Surprise (solo acoustic, sign request)
28. Dream Baby Dream (solo)

Length of show 2 hours 59 minutes.
Australasia tour so far: 8 shows, 232 songs - 101 different.