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LIVE REVIEW: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Perth, 7 February 2014

| 8 February 2014 | Reply

LIVE REVIEW: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Perth, 7 February 2014
Perth Arena, Friday 7 February 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar, with help from Trulie Pinnegar
* Note that photos are from Springsteen’s Perth show Wednesday 5 Feb 2014, courtesy of Frontier Touring, and copyright Duncan Barnes *

So it’s a show ya want, huh? Well the E Street Band are in town and one thing is absolutely certain – The Boss & all 17 of his band are gonna rock you all night long.


I hate to write a gushy review, but here’s an early heads up: There will be gushing.

Put simply, Bruce Springsteen isn’t just playing rock n’ roll, he’s selling euphoria, an uplifting personal experience for every single soul in the room.

The band are magic – not a bum note all night long. You know many of these faces – drummer Max Weinberg, guitarist Little Steven, aka Stevie Van Zandt, Rage Against The Machine string-abuser Tom Morello, just to name a few.

The band hit the stage on fire with Badlands and Out In The Street before Bruce is poring over the request signs held aloft in the crowd to figure out what to play next. Sherry Darling and Two Hearts follow to the delight of the audience members who suggested them, the former including a nod in the lyrics to “the remotest city on earth” and the latter including a fun trade off between The Boss and Little Steven on a riff of the classic It Takes Two.

The title track to latest odds n’ sods album High Hopes is just as uplifting as on record, and their version of Brisbane trailblazers The Saints’ Just Like Fire Would is as stirring and evocative as the land from whence it came.

Light Of Day is another audience request, the song he wrote for the Joan Jett & Michael J Fox movie of the same name, and it’s a faithfully hard rocking version of the song.

Death To My Hometown is blue collar rock done by the Daddy of ‘em all, and Hungry Heart is less a full song than an excuse for Bruce to go walkabout through the crowd, take a gift bag of tim tams and vegemite, then crowd surf back to the stage, yelling ‘my gifts’ with a smile the whole way. It’s a wonderful moment of pure theatre that brings the man and his audience together as one, simpatico, united.

Springsteen looks great, especially for a man of 64 – fit, tanned, happy and in good spirits. Grabbing another few request signs, he calls for an acoustic guitar, struggles to remember the chords for Girls In Their Summer Clothes, then shrugs, ‘Ahh I’ll just have to make it up, then’, before delivering a wonderful solo acoustic take on the song.

Even deeper cuts unknown to our group resonate in this live setting, putting almost all who have come before to shame. There’s barely a word spoken throughout – this is The Boss, he says more through his music than most do with a thousand words.

Springsteen and Little Steven trade solos in a heartfelt Youngstown, get a Quo-like boogie going on Johnny 99, and tap into a New Orleans calypso vibe for The Weavers’ Pay Me My Money Down.

It’s incredible the depth of sound that a 5 piece horn section and 3 backing vocals add to a gig – this isn’t a band so much as a rock orchestra – and when the horns are given free reign to march on down front and centre for the ragtime Shackled & Drawn it’s gloriously affirming stuff.

Springsteen brings young James on stage for Waitin’ On A Sunny Day, explaining, in the longest address of the night, that the young fella ran up to him at the beach and ‘auditioned’ this song to him, so he had to bring him tonight to share it with us. Another gloriously touching moment.

Morello mostly plays along with the band all night, but for Ghost Of Tom Joad he is given free range, sharing vocals with the Boss and going apeshit on a magnificent avant-metal solo, after spots by Nils Lofgren, Springsteen himself and Van Zandt. It’s the heaviest riffing song of the night and yet another magical, cross-generational moment, and Morello quite rightly gets a standing ovation.

The Rising finishes the main set – all 2 hours and ten minutes of it – but no-one leaves the stage after the 18-person bow. There’s more rock to roll!

Rosita (Come Out Tonight) sees young Jake Clemens fill the spot his Uncle Clarence stood in for several decades, and it’s absolute gold. Born To Run – arguably Springsteen’s finest song – sees not a bum left on a chair in the 15,000-seat Arena, the Boss pulls a couple up to play ‘climax’ guitars on Dancing In The Dark, and a raucous Twist And Shout evokes Springsteenmania.

That’s it for the band but Springsteen is only off-stage for a couple of minutes before returning to give a shout-out to charity collectors that have been prowling the building, and also a heads up about a gig to support those affected by the recent Hills fires. It’s another tender touch from a man who obviously cares and tries to help however he can.

In a throwback to his early acoustic singer-songwriter days he plays the final encore naked, musically. I’ll Work For Your Love is beautiful and Thunder Road defies words, the perfect end to a three hour show that was so good, so consistently excellent, that naming of individual highlights is superfluous.

We’re not even halfway through February but it’s a given this was one of – if not THE – gig of 2014 already.

Out in the Street
Sherry Darling
Two Hearts
High Hopes
Just Like Fire Would
Light of Day
Death to My Hometown
Hungry Heart
Girls in Their Summer Clothes (solo acoustic)
Save My Love
Atlantic City
Murder Incorporated
Johnny 99
Pay Me My Money Down
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
The Ghost of Tom Joad
The Rising

Heaven’s Wall
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Twist and Shout

Encore 2:
I’ll Work for Your Love (solo acoustic)
Thunder Road (solo acoustic)


Category: Live Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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