Bruce Springsteen, Perth Arena

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band Rock Perth

Finally one of the worlds biggest touring acts brought his roadshow to Perth, Western Australia. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band had never performed in the world’s most remote city, even though he has visited Australia several times.

Personally I had seen Springsteen in London in the 80′s, four times, and loved every show and my excitement was now piqued after seeing recent reviews and video excerpts of gigs. It was piqued even further by friends who had seen the first two shows in Perth and said they were the best concerts they had ever seen and they were not particularly Springsteen fans.

The show kicked off with a huge rock and roll acknowledgement to the locals, with The E Street Band playing AC/DC‘s Highway to Hell. In case you didn’t know Bon Scottlived in Fremantle, the port just outside of Perth, for years before he joined Acca Dacca.

Whereas AC/DC make do with just Angus and Malcolm Young churning out the riffs and solos, The E Streeters filled the sound with four electric guitars and an acoustic. With Nils Lofgren, Tom Morello, Steve Van Zandt and the Boss himself giving it their all.

Highway to Hell went straight into Bruce‘s own Badlands and then Adam Raised a Cain. There was a brief pause and Springsteen took a sign from a fan at the front of the stage, showed it to the band and looked for their acknowlodgement. Then they launched into the first request of the night, Streets of Fire. This would not be the last time in the evening that the set list would be decided on the hoof. This section of the show finished with Candys Room another great song from Darkness on the Edge of Town.

More covers followed, but both are featured Bruce‘s new album High Hopes. The title track was followed by Just Like Fire Would, originally recorded by Australian band The Saints. I’d heard this track a few times on radio, TV and various other media and was still not sure about it, but I really enjoyed the live performance.

Bruce then went into his preacher routine and asked if we could feel the spirit. When he was sure that we could, he launched into Spirit in the Night and himself into the audience. Jake Clemons followed him, armed with his saxophone. They found another platform at the back of the first block of standing patrons and performed the majority of the song from there. Then, as the band played a long outro, Bruce crowd surfed his way back to the stage.

After Wrecking Ball and No SurrenderRoy Bittain‘s gentle piano signified the beginning of Because the Night, the powerhouse of a tune that Bruce originally gave to Patti Smith. This was one of the many major highlights of the evening. The band rocked and Nils Lofgren played a barnstorming solo that should be bottled and saved for posterity.

Downbound Train was followed by a very gospel influenced Heaven’s Wall.

The Bruce Springsteen Artist Store launched this week on iTunes with 10 classic albums newly Mastered For iTunes. 

Bruce then warned us that in 30 seconds our Australian Asses would be leaving their Australian seats, he even had a stop watch displayed on the big screens to prove the point and you guessed it, he was right. Thirty seconds into Open All Night everyone was up and out of their seats and the houselights were up, so there was no hiding place for anyone. This segued into Little Richard‘s Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey and then Hey Ho Rock and Roll Deliver Me from Nowhere.

From total Rock and Roll, The E Street Band slipped just as easily into the celtic sound of Shackled and Drawn. Which featured a beautiful solo spot from backing singer Cindy Mizelle.

Tom MorelloBruce‘s guest on this tour, was heavily featured on Radio Nowhere and The Ghost of Tom Joad and showed that he can play a mean guitar solo himself too.

After Land of Hope and DreamsThe E Street Band took their bows and departed the stage. But Bruce stayed on, took another sign from the audience and made his way to the piano to play, solo, The Promise.

The band returned to the stage and launched into Born in The USA. This huge hit of Springsteen‘s was very popular with the crowd, but for me signalled a low point in his career. Again redemption was at hand. One of the best songs of determination and triumph ever written, Born to Run. This was followed by Moon Mullican’s 7 Nights To Rock which saw Bruce on camera having his head bashed against the piano keys by Roy Bittan.

Dancing in the Dark followed and it seemed like every woman in the audience wanted the Courtney Cox role from the video clip and many of them saw their dream realised. At least six women joined the band on stage, including a mother and daughter, carrying a sign that read “My mum wants to be Courtney Cox”. The ladies danced with Tom Morello, Jake Clemons, Gary Tallent as well as the Boss himself.

Bruce launched himself into the audience again to sing Tenth Avenue Freeze Out and when Bruce sang “When the Big Man joined the Band” photos of the dearly departed Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici were flashed up on the big screens. There was another false ending after American Land and the band left the stage again, while the boss stayed and strapped on an acoustic guitar.

Supporting the locals, Bruce made an announcement about a charity show by local musicians for recent victims of the bush fires close to Perth.

Another sign was handed to him from the audience requesting Terry’s Song, for Erik. Bruce said he had to remember it, which he duly did and gave a great performance of this song of tribute and loss.

Bruce finished the night with his accoustic guitar and harmonica for a sing a long version of Thunder Road which everyone joined in on.

Finally the show really ended, after three hours and then some and he still hadn’t dented his enormous repetoire of amazing songs.

Partly because of my position in the arena and the part occupancy of my seat by the huge guy next to me, and maybe because I had built myself up a little too much for the show, having waited nearly 30 years to see one of my favourite artists again, I left the arena a little disappointed. But looking back there were so many highlights I really had no reason to be and I would certainly recommend anyone that has not seen Bruce Sringsteen and The E Street Band live should definitely put it on their bucket list.

The band plays rock and roll, the band plays celtic, they play Irish reels and gospel and pretty much everything in between. Bruce and the whole crew seem to go out every night to enjoy themselves and make damn sure that you do to. So if I get another opportunity to see them, I will be there, but front and centre next time, after mortgaging my house for the price of a ticket.

The Bruce Springsteen Artist Store launched this week on iTunes with 10 classic albums newly Mastered For iTunes. 

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