At 7 o’clock in the afternoon yesterday Bruce Springsteen appeared on stage at the Olympic Stadium in Seville. Wearing a black T-shirt, jeans and sunglasses, Springsteen rehearsed his stage moves, vocal parts and many full songs with his extended E Street Band. But they weren’t alone. A few dozen journalists from across Europe (though mostly Spanish and Italian) had access to the full rehearsal, lasting well over an hour, which was followed by an impromptu and informal press conference on the edge of the stage. Professional as he is, the soundcheck was intense, and the press was allowed to film and take pictures while taking notes and, in some cases, sending reports in real time to newspapers all across Europe, some even tweeting from location.
“We Take Care Of Our Own” and “Death to my Hometown” came first, followed by “Rocky Ground”, sung with Michelle Moore, who’ll be also singing on these European dates. The only absence was Patti Scialfa, which apaprently will join the tour next week. Right after performing “Rocky Ground” there were some distant screams suddenly breaking the silence: they came from a large group of fans who were watching the soundcheck from he stadium’s own hotel building, which has windows facing the inside of the stadium. Bruce joked with them, asked if they wanted to hear any particular songs, and then delivered an inspired version of “Thunder Road”. The horn section’s final solo was impressive, particularly in the emptyness of the stadium, which allowed the sound to be perfect and powerful. Seeing that epic ending from just a few meters away was really something.
“Waitin ‘On A Sunny Day” brought the first contact with the small audience. Bruce jumped down the pit, walked through the back of it, shook hands and even had two journalists sing part of the song.
Then came two surprises: the upbeat “I’m Goin’Down”, followed by a historic moment: Bruce and the E Street Band gifted us with a full band live version of “The Promise”. Something that has only happened four times in public (first show of the ’78 tour, the 2010 carousel show in Asbury Park, the Washington show a few weeks ago, and now in Seville, in this semi-public rehearsal in front of he press).
“Shackled and Drawn”, “The Way You Do The Things You Do” and “We Are Alive” closed the session, and then Bruce sat on the edge of the stage for a 15-minute Q&A with the press, mostly to respond to questions about the current political climate in the US, the huge economic crisis in Spain, the Occupy movement, etc. Sadly, there were almost no questions at all related to his impressive musical career.
Photos copyright S.Trepat / Point Blank.