Sunday, 2 March 2014

Springsteen at Auckland - Show 1

After Brisbane's Stayin' Alive opener, Bruce Springsteen already showed there are few limits when it comes to choosing a local cover to greet his latest crowd.

Taking to the stage in his acoustic armourment of guitar and harmonica, Springsteen had plenty of people guessing for what was going to come next, and afterwards it felt like the obvious choice. A version of Royals in honour of New Zealand's recent global breakthrough star Lorde.

(And to think a bunch of us were hoping for a full E Street Band cover of New Zealand band OMC's super-hit How Bizarre.)

It was dark, heavy acoustic that Springsteen had clearly been working on for some time as he bashed out the intricate lyrics with a slow, intense anger. Even pounding the guitar t o create the beat of the song. 

After the Kiwi tribute it was straight down to business for the band smashing out My Love Will Not Let You Down, Badlands, and Out In The Street.

It was then the second surprise, and possible highlight, of the night for diehard E Street fans as Springsteen was swayed by Stevie Van Zandt to collect a sign from the front row for Loose Ends.  He first seemed to dismiss the request as being too obscure before giving in and running down from the stadium stage to pick it up.

What followed was a full band explosion for the Tracks number with the band sounding at their ultimate best, and revealing just how complex the song is instrumentally. 
Auckland, which hasn't hosted Springsteen since 2003, was then given a taste of Wrecking Ball and High Hopes before the drums kicked in for Atlantic City.

For the several hundred fans who had flown over from Australia the line about debts no honest man can pay ringing more true than ever.
After The River, came the announcement that night one in New Zealand was to have a full run of Born In The USA

Complete with all the well-known stand-out performances - Max Weinberg's USA drum solo, Nils Lofgren's Cover Me cyclone, and of course the "But I'm still the same guy!" banter with Van Zandt before Springsteen launched into I'm Goin' Down.

There was even a nod to people in Christchurch who failed in their campaign to get Springsteen to head their way with a dedication before My Hometown.

Land Of Hope And Dreams finished the main set before the encore hit full steam.
Straight into Born To Run and then picking up the request, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) took the place of Dancing In The Dark's familiar end-of-show slot.

It was of course back to solo duties for a closing acoustic Thunder Road, before Springsteen promised to be back again Sunday night for another spectacular. 

What the hell he will open with for the final night of the Australasia tour - I've no idea.

Set list

1. Royals (solo acoustic, Lorde cover)
2. My Love Will Not Let You Down
3. Badlands
4. Out In The Street
5. Loose Ends (sign request)
6. Wrecking Ball
7. Death To My Hometown
8. High Hopes
9. Atlantic City
10. The River
11. Born In The USA
12. Cover Me
13. Darlington County
14. Working On The Highway
15. Downbound Train
16. I'm On Fire
17. No Surrender
18. Bobby Jean
19. I'm Goin' Down
20. Glory Days
21. Dancing In The Dark
22. My Hometown
23. The Rising
24. The Ghost Of Tom Joad
25. Land Of Hope And Dreams
26. Born To Run
27. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
28. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
29. Shout
30. Thunder Road (solo acoustic)

Show length: 3 hours, 3 minutes

Australasia tour so far: 12 shows, 336 songs, 118 different.