Bruce Springsteen’s return to Europe began with some surprises. Bruce came on stage an hour earlier than planned, to greet his fans, talk to them and, as a special prize, give them a pre-show acoustic performance that lasted nearly half an hour, as a thank you for their dedication and for being “crazy” (some had been camping out for six days). The gift consisted of an acoustic set full of very unusual songs like “This Hard Land”, “All That Heaven Will Allow”, “The Fever” and “Growin ‘Up”.
Later, with The E Street Band already onstage, Bruce was not the last to appear. He joked that Norway had kidnapped Steve, and then Steve Van Zandt came up onstage dressed as his character in the series Lilyhammer (the mobster Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano), and started singing “My Kind of Town” (popularized decades earlier by Frank Sinatra), as a dedication to the town of Lillehammer.
Then Bruce and Steve shared the mic for an impetuous “Two Hearts”, followed by “No Surrender”, “Badlands” and “Better Days” before playing the usual trio of songs off Wrecking Ball. There was no crowdsurfing during “Hungry Heart” but the song received a massive audience response, which continued for “Spirit in the Night” and “The E Street Shuffle”, the two songs peformed from the early days.
“Follow That Dream” was the other surprise of the night. It was a slow and delicate version, with great work from the magnificent horn section. The ’78 version of “Prove it All Night” brought back the energy, followed by a great “She’s the One”, before entering into festive mode with “Pay Me My Money Down” and “Darlington County “, two songs that seem to have earned a fixed spot on the 2013 tour set list.
“Thunder Road” closed the main set, and “For You” opened the encore with Bruce on piano, the calm before the storm that arrived with a thunderous “Born in the USA”, followed by “Born to Run”, “Dancing in the Dark” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”, still including the video tribute to Clarence, now with the addition of more images of Danny Federici.