Buff Springsteen at Hyde Park
“If he plays Thunder Road I’ll go home happy” was my first sentence about the anticipated set list. The fact that he opened with a stripped down, bare and fragile version of this track stopped me in my Wellington boots and kept my feet planted still on the soggy wood chips, holding my breath. Springsteen had already joined John Fogerty (“he uses Just for Men”, my mums opinion of the Creedence Clearwater Revival star) on stage for Rockin’ All Over The World. The set list continued to run like a dream and there were so many highlights. The River, Glory Days, Badlands, Dancing In The Dark. Impossible to pick out one particular moment.
It will go down as one of the best gigs I have ever been to. Springsteen creates something like a call to arms for all the downtrodden, the working classes, the people put upon that need raising up. He is also surrounded by the very best, musicians that have the same natural ability as he does for drama, theatre and occasion. Moments of hushed heartfelt emotion to rallying cries to stand up and be counted. Sounds over the top? No, not if you’ve seen him perform at the level he did on Saturday. Bruce (or Buff as I like to call him, as he still is) Springsteen is 63 and plays with more passion and energy than bands hungry for success. As my Dad said “In my lifetime and yours, you won’t see many Bruce Springsteen’s”.
In the past two years my brave and brilliant closest friend has lost both her parents, she said to me the night before that sharing something like this concert with mine would be something to truly cherish. It goes without saying she is utterly right, and whatever your shared connection with your family is (reading, music, theatre) create those amazing memories with them. Both in their sixties they sang, dance and drank with me. My mum in particular being very quick at her bar duties, she said “I don’t know what it is, I’ve just always been fast at getting served”. To which my Dad rolled his eyes and replied “Nothing to do with the fact she likes a drink”. For me, standing there with them screaming “I’m just tired and bored with myself”, laughing, smiling, toasting our warm wines. It was much about being side by side with them as it was about the man on the stage.
Of course much can be said about the council pulling the plug, there’s been a whole heap of people popping up on Twitter who believe the right decision was made and Springsteen should have stuck to his allocated time. Of course, they have a point, he had been playing for three and a half hours already. But, I doubt one of those people were one of the 80,000 people in Hyde Park and you have to be a pretty damned Scrooge to not feel swept up in the sense of community and occasion Springsteen had created Saturday evening, not to mention that Paul McCartney was playing at his side. Dave Rowlinson did make the very valid point that at least it stopped before we were subject to Hey Jude. Still, Bruce and The E Street Band left smiling as did every person penned into Hyde Park. A fitting reaction to the fun ruiners, they didn’t and could never of soured our night.
Bruce Springsteen played Thunder Road ▪ Badlands ▪ We Take Care Of Our Own ▪ Wrecking Ball ▪ Death To My Hometown ▪ My City Of Ruins ▪ Spirit In The Night ▪ The Promised Land ▪ Take ‘Em As They Come ▪ Jack Of All Trades ▪ Empty Sky ▪ Because The Night ▪ Johnny 99 ▪ Darlington County ▪ Working On The Highway ▪ Shackled And Drawn ▪ Waitin’ On A Sunny Day ▪ Raise Your Hand ▪ The River ▪ The Ghost Of Tom Joad ▪ The Rising ▪ Land Of Hope And Dreams ▪ We Are Alive ▪ Born In The U.S.A ▪ Born To Run ▪ Glory Days ▪ Dancing In The Dark ▪ I Saw Her Standing There ▪ Twist And Shout