Monday, 3 March 2014

Springsteen at Auckland - Show 2

"Last night they got Born In The USA. Tonight you get Born to Run!"

And with that Springsteen began the ending of the tour of Australia and New Zealand with the power and finesse that everyone has come to appreciate the E Street Band for in the 39 years since his breakthrough album was released.

Once again starting the show with his harmonica-led, acoustic-driven cover of Lorde's Royals, there would be few surprises and no sign requests granted on the second New Zealand show.

Instead the night was all about the band, and how they can deliver to 40,000 people  the kind of show experience every night, other acts strive to achieve just once in a lifetime.
Before the full album came, Springsteen led the band through a wealth of hits from across four decades.

We Take Care Of Our Own and Death To My Hometown brought a taste of Wrecking Ball to the Auckland audience after Springsteen previously apoligised for missing out on the region over the past 10 years.
Meanwhile No Surrender fired the crowd up before Two Hearts and Hungry Heart had people jumping through the evening sunset.

Seeds was belted out in all its fury, with Springsteen merely warming up with his guitar solo as he stood firmly in the spotlight throughout.

The New Zealand crowd seemed to appreciate his latest work too as High Hopes and Just Like Fire Would received a surge of energy from fans before Darkness On The Edge Of Town unleashed more of the band's fury. An album created in a time of great frustration for Springsteen, it would have almost been a fitting time to play it in a country frustrated with a long wait for the band to return.

A frustration no doubt felt by fans in Christchurch who again received a dedication by Springsteen for travelling to the show, with the tour debut of My City Of Ruins. Complete with band roll call, and spirit-summoning silence seen across the early shows of the Australian Wrecking Ball tour.

Then it came back down to business, and back to Born To Run, taking the weekend in Auckland into the same realm as Melbourne with the double album shows.

It gave the crowd a great chance to see the full band Thunder Road and took Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out and the title track out of the encore, leaving the show finale wide open, as the concentration and energy was firmly on quality, and a clear desire to make every note perfect for the stadium crowd.

When it came to Backstreets, the song grabbed the attention of everybody, with Roy Bittan's piano cutting through the huge standing audience to every corner of the venue.

While Meeting Across The River was a surprising stand out from the performance. Easily skipped over or overshadowed by its place on the album as a predecessor to Jungleland, the song was given a fantastic airing. Curt Ramm coming out of the E Street Horns' shadows for a phenomenal centre stage trumpet solo. (And seriously, how many times do you read 'phenomenal trumpet solo' in a rock concert review?)

Jungleland of course belonged to one man, Jake Clemons. 
The tour has been no easy ride for the Big Man's nephew with the tragic death of his father, but this performance of the trademark saxophone solo was arguably his best yet. 
The confidence and power he brought out into the air was incredible.

When the album was done it was straight into The Rising, before Tom Morello got to deliver his knock out blow with The Ghost Of Tom Joad. It may have been played every night of the tour, but Morello has been great in making subtle, spontaneous changes to his frantic solo each time.

The encore brought back Glory Days and Bobby Jean, with Seven Nights To Rock, thrown in just in case there wasn't enough energy already bouncing around the stage.

After an extensive Twist & Shout came Springsteen's solo acoustic closer.
This Hard Land returned the hyped up 40,000-strong crowd back to a awe-inspired silence as his vocals echoed across the stadium. 

All delivered with the assurance that Springsteen would be back, and it wouldn't be as long as the 10 years since the last appearence in New Zealand.
The only question for everyone in Australia and New Zealand is when. 

Set list

1. Royals (solo acoustic, Lorde cover)
2. We Take Care Of Our Own
3. No Surrender
4. Two Hearts
5. Hungry Heart
6. The Promised Land
7. Seeds
8. Death To My Hometown
9. High Hopes
10. Just Like Fire Would
11. Darkness On The Edge Of Town
12. My City Of Ruins
13. Thunder Road
14. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
15. Night
16. Backstreets
17. Born To Run
18. She's The One
19. Meeting Across The River
20. Jungleland
21. The Rising
22. The Ghost Of Tom Joad.
23. Badlands
24. Waitin' On A Sunny Day
25. Glory Days
26. Seven Nights To Rock
27. Bobby Jean
28. Dancing In The Dark
29. Twist & Shout
30. This Hard Land (solo acoustic)

Show length: 3 hours, 11 minutes.

Australasia tour total: 13 shows, 366 songs, 119 different.