Monday, 17 February 2014

The pain of missing a spectacular Springsteen show

It doesn’t matter how many shows you’ve seen, how many you’re going to or how many times you break into the top 30 on a Springsteen fan roll call.
If you check the set list of a show that you wanted to see, but were unable to make, then part of you will be probably left devastated by what you see.

After making all 10 Australian shows last year, the plan to see every concert this year was thwarted when The E Street Band’s weekend in Melbourne clashed with an event that was impossible to miss.

So while I was downing beer after beer at a classy, entertaining, all-round brilliant wedding in Western Australia’s South West, Springsteen gave the audience for Melbourne’s first night an incredible show to leave any fan envious.

When you can't make a show, drink until life becomes a show... *

There was always the possibility of Eddie Vedder joining the band on stage, but to bring the Pearl Jam lead singer on to help open the show with AC/DC’s Highway To Hell was a stroke of genius.

To follow it up with Darkness On The Edge Of Town, was enough to create the “head-on collision smashin’ in my guts” feeling Springsteen yells about in Badlands.

Of course these would have both been easier to accept missing out on if Springsteen himself hadn’t told me at a pre-show press conference in Perth that he probably wouldn’t do any full-album shows, only to perform Born In The USA in its entirety for the AAMI Park crowd.
'I'm gonna keep changin' things up'
Although saying that, Springsteen had made it clear he planned to “surprise” audiences and “keep changing it up” when it came to what was played on the night.

With that in mind, it became easier to accept in my post-wedding hangover that Melbourne night one was simply a fluke for Springsteen’s fans who made it to the first stadium show on the Australian tour.

Thinking that however was just the latest in a series of mistakes over set list assumptions.

As Melbourne’s second night started the tracks filtered on to social media and there they were – Growin’ Up and Lost In The Flood

The two songs that always come to mind when planning what request signs to make.

I had deliberately avoided making any signs in Perth or Adelaide because I didn’t want to see a song I’d requested played at a show I couldn’t make.
And of course, the killer blow, a full Born To Run – my all-time favourite album – show.

There’s no hiding from it – no matter how good a time I had, by not being in Melbourne, I missed something very, very special.

But the reality is that if unless you go to every Springsteen show for the rest of your – or the Band’s – life, you’re always going to feel that you’ve missed something special – because you will miss something special. Whether it’s a full-album show, a piano solo of For You or a duet with another rock legend.

All you can do is keep track and enjoy the highlights you do make, buy two tickets to New Zealand to extend your adventure and keep checking the weather forecast for the next show… right now there’s storms predicted for Sydney. And with it maybe, some high hopes for a Darkness On The Edge Of Town 

( * Drink responsibly)