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Review: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Mt. Smart Stadium, February 2017.

Review: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Mt. Smart Stadium, February 2017.

It’s been nearly 3 years since Bruce Springsteen’s last visit to New Zealand - yet his return to the same venue of Mt. Smart Stadium last night was marked by a roaring enthusiasm by all, none moreso than Bruce himself and his E Street Band, who played a remarkable three hour set filled with favourites and festivities.

The Auckland show marked the end of the current tour, and was preceded by a heartwarming show in Christchurch on the anniversary of the earthquakes. Often a final show on the tour can see a band showing signs of exhaustion, however Bruce and his band’s stamina and boundless energy reverberated throughout the entire stadium.

Strolling on-stage at 7.30pm (following the support acts Marlon Williams and Jet who played earlier in the afternoon), The Boss opened with a string of ’Darlington County’, ‘Working On The Highway’, and crowd-pleaser, ‘Glory Days’, during which Bruce proclaimed, “Steve, it’s ass-shaking time!” much to the amusement of all.

A special shout-out must be given to a young boy who we could see from our seats, who was running around on the floor - alternating between air-guitaring along with Bruce, and picking up recycling all around the venue.

He churned through songs like a powerhouse - sometimes barely even stopping between songs to catch a breath, and always managing to stroll to the far sides of each stage, calling to the people in the stands whenever possible. ‘Out In The Street’ and favourite ‘Hungry Heart’ saw the first of many crowd sing-alongs - and a complete awe of Bruce as he casually tossed his guitar several metres to his guitar tech at the end of the song.

‘My City Of Ruins’ is a somewhat rare Bruce song to hear live, and with the introduction from Bruce it was even more special: “This is a song about putting things together after they’ve fallen apart.” Written about his hometown of Asbury Park, New Jersey, the song felt just as pertinent and inspirational in New Zealand today.

The harmonica solo at the beginning of ‘The River’ quieted the audience, as the soulful ballad resonated throughout the stadium - Bruce’s vocals showcasing the lyrical wisdom of the song.

As in typical Springsteen fashion, fans knew to bring signs of song requests to hold up - I saw signs for ‘The Promised Land’ and ‘Badlands’, both of which were played during the show. There were also just signs of praise for The Boss - ‘I <3 The Boss,’ ‘The Boss for President,’ being a couple of the highlights.

No-one was left seated during ‘Dancing In The Dark’, and eager fans got their chance to join Bruce and the band on-stage during the song with their signs, requesting a certain band-member to dance with - another tradition of his shows.

The second to last song ’Tenth Avenue Freeze-out’ saw an emotional tribute to the E Street Band’s late saxophonist Clarence Clemons and organ-player Danny Federici, with footage of them playing on the screen in the third verse, "Big Man joined the band.”

And closing out the entire spectacle of a show was just Bruce, alone on stage. Just him and his guitar, performing a rendition of ’Thunder Road’, with a little help from the audience, of course.

Set-List:

Darlington County
Working On The Highway
Glory Days
Johnny 99
Prove It All Night

My Love Will Not Let You Down
Out In The Street
Hungry Heart
My City of Ruins
Wrecking Ball
The River
Youngstown
American Skin (41 Shots)
The Promised Land
Candy’s Room
Because The Night
[Patti Smith Group cover]
The Rising
Badlands
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Encore:

Backstreets
Born To Run
Dancing In The Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Shout
[The Isley Brothers cover]
Bobby Jean
Thunder Road
(solo acoustic)

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