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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN PERTH ARENA LIVE REVIEW 2014

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN LIVE AT PERTH ARENA FEBRUARY 6 2014

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
PERTH ARENA, WA
2 FEBRUARY 2014

Setlist: Frankie Fell in Love  | High Hopes | Just Like Fire Would  | Badlands  | Hungry Heart  | The E Street Shuffle | Kitty's Back | Wrecking Ball  | Death to My Hometown  | The River  | Heaven's Wall  | American Skin (41 Shots)  | Because the Night | She's the One | Working on the Highway  | Darlington County  | Shackled and Drawn | Waitin' on a Sunny Day  | For You  | The Ghost of Tom Joad | The Rising 

Encore: Ramrod (Tour premiere, sign request) | Born to Run  | Dancing in the Dark  | Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out  | Shout (The Isley Brothers cover) | Encore 2: Thunder Road

It’s been years since we last saw Springsteen and something about tonight, even before the show starts,  makes me wonder why it’s taken so long to catch him again. I guess last time I was a little too young to appreciate him fully, off the back of arguably his most mainstream release ‘Born in the USA’.

11 studio albums and 30 years later it’s my second Springsteen concert. The big news in these parts though isn’t that – it’s that The Boss has finally made it to Perth for the very first time playing three dates to an assortment of die-hard fans, interstate and inter-continental visitors and those that thing they just should be here because of the legend that has always hung around the man. Listening to some of the conversations on the way in it’s a curious mixture of stone cold trivia and excited adulation all wonderfully balanced by the girl behind our group who asks if Springsteen did ‘Jack and Dianne’…


Springsteen over the years has always has a reputation as one of the world’s great live performers, always delivering a great show and always giving huge value for money.  3 hours is, depending on how you look at it, never enough or too much to take in, but whatever your stamina levels there’s little let up in the show. It’s all music too with Bruce and for those who expect much more than the cursory greeting “Hey Perth. It’s great to be in the remotest place on earth” or a perfunctory good bye you will be disappointed. There are no great monologues or ramblings with Bruce it’s a distraction, always has been.


So less than a year after Bruce’s last tour of the East he’s back and just to underline the fact he’s producing some rather fine music these days he’s off and running with three new numbers, and despite a minor mic’ glitch midway through the first of them it’s enough to get the crowd suitably energized. Best of all for Bruce must be the fact that he’s playing new material and almost everyone here is familiar with it.


Always with a knack for picking a cover The Saints ‘Just Like Fire Would’ somehow seems perfect tonight and like all Springsteen’s best covers he somehow makes it sound just like he wrote it!  


With a cast of 18 on stage it’s one of those concerts where you can quite easily get overwhelmed of side tracked by a particular performer and I find myself switching between guitarists Van Zandt and Morello marveling at how they complement each other. Both appear to be having as much fun as the Boss himself. The surprises come thick and fast tonight though reaching far back into his career we get a stunning rendition of ‘Badlands’ before ‘The E Street Shuffle’ broken up by a scorching ‘Hungry Heart’.


Whilst I’m still getting over hearing ‘The River’; ‘American Skin’ and ‘Because the Night’ in close proximity (three songs I really wanted to hear tonight)  we get a great version of she’s the one with a little touch of the Stones added; but for me the biggest surprise of the night is that Bruce plays ‘For You’ albeit a rather radically reworked version from his very first album!


In a show with so many moments it’s hard to even pick a few that really shone as the entire show was a masterwork from the first note; plus I know the more I think back the more these will change, but for sheer emotion it had to be ‘The River’ and ’41 Shots’. Then there was Morello’s vocal and solo on the Ghost of Tom Joad (the version from ‘High Hopes’). Add to that the usual set-pieces that somehow don’t at all seem staged – like the young girl plucked out to sing a chorus of ‘Waitin’ On  A Sunny Day’ or the older lady pulled out for a dance on ‘Dancing In The Dark’.  


The encores too seem about perfect with ‘Shout’ raising the crowd up and the acoustic ‘Thunder Road’ taking us back down before the lights came up. With Springsteen the fact of the matter is he is as good as people tell you he is. I’m just scared to look at Friday and Saturday night’s setlist in case I see something essential we didn’t get here. Some of us can only afford the one ticket but I’m sure if you’re lucky enough to catch the man on the rest of the tour every night will be just as special.

 

Even though we all know Bruce likes to change things up perhaps the most overriding jolt from tonight’s show is that he changed it up so much since those Eastern dates. Of course there will always be those set pieces and special songs, but this is not just a re-jig of the setlist from last year’s shows it was a journey through his career and most surprising of all to some was perhaps how well the newer material held up in such exalted company.       

 

 

by Dave Concrete and Maisy February 2014

 

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