Saturday, 12 July 2008

Tramps like us part II

"I want to sleep beneath peaceful skies,
in my lover's bed,
With a wide open country in my eyes
and these nomadic dreams in my head"

No retreat, no surrender - Bruce Springsteen

If there was ever a way of summing up how I view the world anyone who reads this would underestimate those lines at their peril.

Last night I finally saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play for the first time. The venue was the modern architectural classic Olympic Stadium in Helsinki. For those of you who are set list nerds you can see what he played here. The show was just over 3 and a quarter hours long and 31 songs. Here is the Kitchen's verdict: Almost amazing.

The good news is that the classic material is even better live: If anyone seriously doubts that Born to Run is a classic, worry no more - it is. It sounds as good now as when it first came out in 1975. The bad news is that the good material came over as only OK.

Bruce spiced things up by taking requests from the audience. It added a pleasing wildcard element to the show, but it did mean that the show as a whole lacked consistency - energy and pacing were sometimes lacking and with the bands ability to finish and start songs on a hairpin you sometimes went from way up to way down in a second. The upside of this was it's spontaneity and the way it showcased the classics. The downside was that sometimes things seemed to sag too much even if we were being treated to sincere and emotionally literate Bruce.

However to tip it over into good concert territory was: the olympic stadium itself, the great weather (walking home at 3am in the first light of dawn was a nice end to the evening), and the fact Bruce played "Santa Claus is coming to town" as a treat for the Finnish audience because after all everyone knows Santa is Finnish. Right?

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