Of all the live acts I’ve seen in person, few artists have been able to play with as much constant energy and passion for what they do as Bruce Springsteen. To think that the living embodiment of Americana will soon be 64 years of age is unfathomable when you see him and his trusty E Street Band rip off the roof of the Millennium Stadium for 3 and a half hours.
Opening with the unabashed gospel-tinged ‘This Little Light of Mine’, Bruce and co were met with welcome arms from the 45,000+ crowd in Wales’ capital. It was clear from the get-go that this was going to be something epic and Bruce and the Band connected immediately with the fans, some of which were first timers and others were Springsteen veterans (like the guy by us, who marked his 16th live experience of the New Jersey native).
After roaring through ‘Long Walk Home’ and ‘Adam Raised a Cain’, Bruce travelled into the crowd to collect fan-made signs, a collection of hits and rarities scrawled over them, and then proceeded to break into them much to the delight of fans who were being treated to what was an unpredictable setlist, full of party anthems and setlist staples, as well as one-offs and hidden gems (‘TV Movie’ made its live debut). It shows more than anything how capable and well rehearsed the band is, with Steve van Zandt being Springsteen’s right hand man and second-in-command onstage. And when you talk about guitarists, Nils Lofgren, take a bow!
As a live performer, The Boss is able to connect with his audience in a way few singers manage and brings you along on the journey he’s taking on stage. Plus, it’s hard not to raise a smile along with him when you see just how much fun he’s still having after all this time in the business.
After storming renditions of new album tracks ‘Death to My Hometown’, ‘We Take Care of Our Own’ and title track, ‘Wrecking Ball’, the band (who have some of the best onstage chemistry of any group to ever grace a stage) hit their stride with crowd singalong ‘Spirit in the Night’ and then the raucous crowd themselves sung every word of Springsteen classic, ‘Hungry Heart’.
After a cheeky onstage collaboration with Eric Burdon of The Animals (‘We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place’), the band headed for the finish line of the main setlist, finishing with a fantastic triple tap of ‘Waiting on a Sunny Day’ (with help from THE cutest 7 year old fan in the building), ‘The Rising’ and the always rousing ‘Badlands’.
The second encore saw Bruce and The E Street Band lose no momentum in their performances of ‘Born to Run’ and ‘Dancing in the Dark’ (where fans got onto the stage to dance with their chosen bandmembers) before closing out with an energetic, hugely theatrical cover of ‘Shout!’ and reprising ‘This Little Light of Mine’.
After the live audience, who were as exhausted as the near enough 15-piece band, clapped and applauded the men and women of Bruce’s posse offstage, The Boss returned to the centre of the stage one last time. Armed with a harmonica and acoustic guitar for just 2 more songs, starting with ‘Janey Don’t You Lose Your Heart’ and the goosebump-giving, hair-raising ‘Thunder Road’.
I came out of that gig extremely happy that I’d said yes to my mate when he called me over the weekend with the offer of going. I’d been a fan of Bruce Springsteen for a long time but he was one of the massive artists I never imagined seeing live. That lengthy setlist was fun, engaging and satisfying for fans not only of him but just good music and performance. Lets hope I didn’t get to the tables too late, because I’d love to see him absolutely rock a stadium one more time! A truly brilliant gig experience.
This Little Light of Mine
Long Walk Home
Adam Raised a Cain
Prove It All Night (Sign Request)
TV Movie (World Premiere, Sign Request)
Cynthia (Sign Request)
Death to My Hometown
We Take Care of Our Own
Spirit in the Night
My City of Ruins
We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place (The Animals cover) (with Eric Burdon)
Boom Boom (John Lee Hooker cover)
Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran cover)
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
Pay Me My Money Down
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
Tougher Than the Rest
Born to Run
I’m a Rocker
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Shout (The Isley Brothers cover)
This Little Light of Mine (Reprise)
Janey Don’t You Lose Heart (solo acoustic)
Thunder Road (solo acoustic)