Unpredictable: that’s the word that defines the shows Springsteen has been offering in recent years. And the trend continues with the High Hopes tour. Springsteen knows that his most faithful and devoted followers (those who anxiously wait for the next downloadable show to appear on the official store or devote whole days to queue to get the best position in the pit) love the constant set list changes, and these days he seems resolute to go beyond any expectations. This week in Perth Bruce and the band have played 57 different songs in three nights, matching the figures of the three nights in Cape Town .
Last night’s show, the third and last in Perth, opened with an explosive cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”: high voltage electricity with a guitar battle between Nils, Tom, Bruce and Steve. The song set the bar high, but Bruce raised the stakes with “Badlands ” and then… “Adam Raised a Cain”! “Streets of Fire”! ” Candy ‘s Room”!, immediately followed by “High Hopes”, “Just Like Fire Would” and “Spirit in the Night”.
In the second half of the main set Bruce decided he was not going to be predictable and omitted “Sunny Day” and “The Rising”, offering two tour premieres (“Downbound Train” and “Radio Nowhere”) and some more hot rocks (“No Surrender”, “Because the Night”, “Open All Night”…).
It was an intense, non-stop-to-breathe show. In fact, not a single ballad until he returned to the stage for the encores, and sang a solo-piano version of “The Promise”. End of the pause. Then followed half an hour of collective rock’n’roll ecstasy with the usual encores, culminating with “American Land”. And, finally, two slow numbers to say goodbye, with solo acoustic versions of “Terry ‘s Song” and “Thunder Road” .