When I was privileged to see Bruce Springsteen in the UK (Sunderland and Manchester) in 2012, I never thought for one moment that he would ever come to South Africa. Well, for that matter, when I became a fan in late 2009 I never thought I would see him live.
Bruce his proved me wrong again and again. He taught me to dream and to work for my dreams. This enhanced my writing career, but most of all my personal life. So I, not an adventurous traveler, in 2012 managed to find a dear friend to guide me through the terrors of the level of public transport we only dream about here. Aged only a few years younger than Bruce, I made it to the pit in Sunderland – and survived to tell the story.
When I came home after those two shows, I tried to convince myself that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and that I will never again spend the money and make the effort for shows again. What happened is that the notorious Bruce blues after a show hit me with a vengeance. It was only when I admitted that I will try again if and when the opportunity arrives, that set me back on track again.
When he announced the second round of dates for Australia and NZ, the thought started sneaking in: Would it not be possible for them to make a pit stop in SA? Well, the rest is history. Last night I saw the first of three shows less than an hour’s drive from my home.
I was jittery with excitement and anxiety. Anxious because I did not know what to expect from the SA audience, because I thought he would still be very much jet lagged, because it is the start of the new tour and people do not know High Hopes yet. Also because my friend from Johannesburg could not come to Cape Town and I was left to the mercy of my non-fan husband, who luckily happen to love me very much. Oh, and I was worried about the heat. A real worrier, me.
The night was a blast. My hubby did his best to let my enjoy myself. I am still on a high (with slightly aching feet). The Bellville Velodrome is small (Bruce made sure we knew that he came 8 000miles – or was it kilo’s? – to play a place which feels exactly like the Convention Hall on his homeground). We had a good standing place against the railings at the side of the pit. (Maureen Van Zandt – I am sure – right in front of us). Already in the queue people were friendly and chatty and I even landed myself on TV for about ten seconds (which I luckily did not see).
Bruce came out like a happy child on a huge playground. Yes, I know he is always like that. But one must still see it to believe it. He worked the crowd like an inspired man (which he is, of course). Passed right by us at least five times (and yes, I touched him). Kissed the ladies, crowd surfed (Hungry Heart) right across the pit in perfect view for us. Found a child with a great voice for Sunny Day. Had at least four women on stage for Dancing. Leant into the crowd with his back and let himself be probed and patted. Letting people touch and ‘play’ his guitar during BTR. And did what I call The Move (that amazing backward bending thing). Oh, and I forgot the piano. Not many 64 year olds can stand on a piano, dripping wet and sweaty in a thin T-shirt (or is it a vest?) and just look drop-dead sexy.
With friendly fans around me I found it easy to let go. Yes, it was hot. Yes, it was cramped. But my oh my, was it fun!
The band was great. Stevie worked our side of the stage actively. The Mighty Max looks quite cute with a short haircut. It seemed to me the stage was too small for all the energy.
Moments I want to single out? Every single one of those three hours and about ten minutes. Badlands … Out in the street … Johnny 99, which I never liked was an absolute party, nobody would guess what a sad story it really is … Nils went wild and did his spinning thing (he also passed us and by accident touched my wrist) … Tom seems like a burst of energy waiting for a moment to explode … the horns were great … the choir and percussion were great … Oh, Shackled and drawn – heavenly … Atlantic City – moving … Tom Joad – riveting. I do not know enough adjectives. I will stop right here.
Tomorrow night I am back for more. With my son who is absolutely not a fan.
See you down the road!
PS. Pay me my money down was a special surprise for me. Just love that song.
Sound not good. To my untrained ears only the acoustic Thunder Road was really clear.
No Patti on stage.
No Promised Land.
But these are small matters. As with my first two shows, my sense of utter joy was overwhelming.
Now I am off to bed.