Seen Live: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

When Bruce Springsteen announced his 2013 European tour, I had already bought a ticket to see Iron Maiden two days after his show in The Netherlands. My first thought was: well, if I go see Springsteen on Sunday and Maiden on Tuesday, you can saw off my legs just above the knees on Wednesday. ‘Cause I’d have killed them. So, I explored alternate options, and secured a ticket for Springsteen’s show at Wembley Stadium, a week before the Dutch show.

Staying in London for a few days isn’t bad, either. I went to three amazing museums: the British Museum (for me, the highlights were the Elgin marbles from the Parthenon, the Egyptian collection including the Rosetta stone, and it’s amazing Great Court), the Natural History Museum (I loved the building), and the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square. Goshdarnit, what an amazing collection.

Furthermore, I tried to do some record and book shopping, but my heart wasn’t in it. So, mostly, I wandered around, not doing anything special. Well, apart from seeing The Boss and his E Street Band in Wembley Stadium on Saturday night.

“Got the radio on, and I'm just killin’ time…”

It was bloody terrific. Even the epic queueing to get in. Once inside the stadium I found a perfect spot about halfway down the field. Three songs in, Springsteen started playing requests, including “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”, “This Hard Land”, and—joy of joys—“Lost in the Flood”. Then, he gave us a choice: “We can play more requests all night, or we can play the full Darkness on the Edge of Town album.” Easy choice. Darkness all the way, as it’s probably my favourite Springsteen album. There weren’t any big surprises left after that, although the way he closed the show was impressive. After a show of more then three hours, he sent the 15-headed monster of an E Street Band off, and stood all alone in front of some 72.000 fans, with just an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, and played “Thunder Road”. Majestic.

Bruce Springsteen — Thunder Road

(Also, I don’t want to hear any more complaints about the Amsterdam ArenA being an awful, echoey bathtub. Wembley Stadium, that’s an echoey bathtub.)

There was more epic queuing to get out of the stadium and onto the underground. Thousands of people all heading the same way, in a calm and orderly fashion. I guess I don’t want to know how that’ll work out in Nijmegen, but I guess I’ll find out. You see, while going back to my hotel, it started to itch. Sure, I had a good reason for seeing The Boss in London instead of Nijmegen, but earlier that week, I was told that June 22nd was a Saturday. So I might just as well … couldn’t I? Shouldn’t I? Monday morning, back at work, I was talking to my esteemed colleague Wilbert—he’s going to Nijmegen this Saturday—about the show and how I was doubting whether or not I should throw caution to the wind and just go. Then he said he had a spare ticket …

Seen live
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at Wembley Stadium, London, UK on June 15th, 2013.
Set list
Land of Hope and Dreams / Jackson Cage / Radio Nowhere / Save My Love / Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) / This Hard Land / Lost in the Flood / Wrecking Ball / Death to My Hometown / Hungry Heart / Badlands / Adam Raised a Cain / Something in the Night / Candy’s Room / Racing in the Street / The Promised Land / Factory / Street of Fire / Prove it All Night / Darkness on the Edge of Town / Shackled & Drawn / Waitin’ on a Sunny Day / The Rising / Light of Day // Pay Me My Money Down / Born to Run / Bobby Jean / Dancing in the Dark / Tenth Avenue Freeze-out / Twist and Shout // Thunder Road