Monday, 3 February 2014

The Springsteen fan's road to Perth Arena

Springsteen fever has officially landed in Perth with the Australia tour about to start this week.
A few people have said they enjoyed an article I wrote last year when the 2014 tour was first announced - and before the extra dates were added - so here it is again. 
(More than six months on, let me know how accurate it is Springsteen fans...)

News that Bruce Springsteen is to return to Australia next year has no doubt sent many E Street Band fans into meltdown over the past 48 hours.
Perth and Adelaide, which missed out on the E Street Band in 1985, 2003 and 2013, as well as 1997's solo tour, will be the first two cities on next year's tour (February 7 and 11 respectively).
Bruce Springsteen made special mention of Perth fans during this year's tour told the crowd, thanking them for flying over.
Coming back so soon after an incredible ten-show tour in March and after a series of ground-breaking shows in Europe really is mind-blowing.
Not just because the shows are so good they can change the way you look and feel about music, but because from now until February there will be several times where die-hard fans will put themselves through an insane amount of psychological and physical torture to be at a show.
Insights into the dedication of Springsteen fans were recently touched on in the documentary Springsteen & I, made entirely from fan's own video submissions.
But in terms of what die-hard fans across the world will be doing over the next six months, it barely scratched the surface.
As of right now Springsteen fans are booking weeks off work, cancelling holiday plans and failing to find an acceptable excuse to bail on their girlfriend's sister's Margaret River wedding so they can revel in the E Street experience. Again.
Military-style operations are being formed across different time-zones that will see phones, tablets and computers at battle stations when the ticket pre-sale starts in every state.
The same thing will be repeated a few days later as tickets are released to the general public and every few seconds internet booking sites will be the cause of some of the most abusive, offensive language ever spoken by thousands of people at the same time when they all see, "Sorry, those tickets are no longer available" in bright red annoying letters.
Several hours of war games will end with the occasional sweet victory of a solo GA ticket, only to vanish when another tour date is added to a venue. And you do it all again. And again.
Only when enough tickets are secured and the concert diary is suitably full will fans move on to the next stage of planning and preparation.
Credit card limits will be extended, promises will be broken and more than one fan will end up with debts that no honest man can pay.
"Bruce buds" made last time round will reconnect and reunite with meet-ups and build plans to share accommodation, journeys and even strategies for waiting outside concert venues for days on end in order to secure the very best place in the crowd.
All this will happen months before the first show as every wedding, birthday party or Bar mitzvah invite is met with "as long as it's not in February, I CAN'T DO FEBRUARY!"
Probably followed by a conversation that starts with an excited explanation of what they're up to and ends with a pitying smugness that the person not crazy enough to give up weeks of their life to stand in line will never get it.
Flights, hotels, friend's sofa beds and cardboard boxes are being booked out and journeys between each show are plotted out to the finest of detail.
Meanwhile at the back of every fan's mind is the constant thought about how the world will fall apart if anything gets in the way.
For normal people, the announcement of a concert might be a welcome surprise and something to look forward to.
But for the next six months the sign-making, roll-call-taking Springsteen fan hooked on seeing show after show after show, will self-inflict a ridiculous amount of pressure to not miss a single second of the tour. No matter how impossible that will be.
And these will be the people you see sleeping outside Perth Arena days before the first concert.
Brace yourself Perth... Springsteen is coming.

First published on