11 shows, 118 different songs, hours and hours of marvel and excitement. That was Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band touring Australia for a month. And the final night in Brisbane was the crown jewel to top it all. After paying tribute to the best of the Australian rock, from AC/DC to INXS, it was time to honour… The Bee Gees.
You have read well. Bruce opened his last show Down Under with the world famous “Stayin’ Alive”, and for that he brought a full string section onstage (Cooper + Koo). Then came four songs in a row off Greetings: “It’s Hard to Be To Saint In The City”, “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?”, “Growin’ Up” and “Spirit in the Night”.
After a couple of songs from his last album, “High Hopes” and “Just Life Fire Would”, there was time to revisit some of the great songs from the underplayed album The River, with “You Can Look”, “Sherry Darling” and the wonderful, and rarely performed, “Fade Away”, one of the highlights of the show. In between, another gem: “Save My Love”. It was a surprising and memorable first hour, but Bruce had one more trick off his hat. He asked the audience to choose an option: more songs off signs or a full album performance. Wisely, the Brisbane audience chose the later and Bruce announced he’d play his amazing second album, The Wild, The Innocent & The And Street Shuffle, from top to end. It was only the second time this ever happened (after it’s first performance in New York City in November 2009).
The following hour was entirely devoted to that album, a tremendous collection of amazing songs, from the opening funky rhythms of “The E Street Shuffle” to the wonderful romantic ballad “New York City Serenade” (with the string section onstage again), and a rare opportunity to see Garry Tallent play the tuba or hear “Incident on 57th Street” segue into “Rosalita” (last seen at MetLife Stadium, Sept. 21st, 2012). At this point the show had already reached legendary status. (For those keeping count, it was the first time ever that Bruce had played 11 songs from his first two albums in a single concert. Back in 1973/74 the most he played was 10 songs from those albums).
For the last part of the main set, and the encores, Bruce offered some of his most famous and known songs, such as “Darlington County”, “Badlands”, “Born to Run”, “Glory Days”, “Dancing in the Dark”, “Bobby Jean”, “The Rising”… with a little surprise at the end when Eddie Vedder joined the band for a final performance of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” (Eddie had spent the night watching the show from the pit with Glen Hansard). The solo acoustic version of “Thunder Road” put an end to a historic concert that lasted 3 hours and 43 minutes.
PS. As usual, you can buy the audio of this show at the official store, possibly in the next 2 or 3 days.
Photos: Patrick Lion (@patricklion)