Last Stop: Dublin

Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band – The Point, Dublin; November 17th, 18th and 19th, 2006

Dublin was my first stop on the Devils & Dust tour last year and my last stop on the Seeger Sessions tour this year. So much has happened since, so many concerts I visited in-between. Last Friday I was returning to The Point, a venue I like very much, hoping for some special shows in wonderful atmosphere and I was not disappointed.

But I do have to go back a little further to tell the whole story. After already seeing 22 concerts this year (10 of those outside Germany), I was rather tired of travelling. Flying was no longer exciting and I was happy that I didn’t have to get up all that early this time around. As usual, the weather report said it would rain in Dublin and it was supposed to be much colder than in Germany. The Hamburg and Cologne shows were good, but nowhere near as great as Verona (which was absolutely brilliant). Therefore, I wasn’t sure what to expect and feared I might be disappointed.

I was at the airport much too early and got bored while I waited for check in. The new security measures annoyed me. I had brought an empty bottle (in order to refill it later) and it was taken away from me at the security check without explanation. My lips were dry and since my chapstick was in my suitcase I proceeded to buy a new one at the duty free shop, just to be told I’d have to leave it in a sealed bag until arrival. Excuse me? Of course I understand that there’s fear and that they want to make flights secure, but this is ridiculous. Additionally, it has already been proven useless by a crew of reporters who managed to build a bomb just with some powdery and solid stuff their brought and things they bought from duty free. Oh well…

After an unspectacular flight, Dublin greeted me with sunshine. It was also freezing cold and I was happy to have brought gloves. While picking up my luggage and waiting for the bus I saw some other Bruce fans, but nobody familiar.
The Hotel was nice and not far from downtown. I dropped my bags and went for a walk to the city center. Dublin is not a huge city, but it’s lovely and I enjoyed walking those streets again.

On the way back to my hotel I passed Bruce’s hotel. There was a small crowd of people, a waiting car and one of his security guards telling everyone how to act. I figured it was a good point in time to go there. I had nothing to be autographed, but I already have autographs as well as a picture with him and just enjoy watching. With few people it’s always nice to stick around because Bruce usually takes time for a brief chat.
Someone had just told me that his family arrived the previous day when his kids walked out with a bunch of their friends. I had not seen them in person since the Reunion tour 1999 and it was interesting to see how they have changed. Evan, the oldest is the impersonation of a cool teenager, Jessie avoided smiling because of her braces and Sam just seemed to want to be elsewhere. It made me smile seeing that like all teenagers the Springsteen kids weren’t all that happy having to accompany their parents.
Patti was next to come out, signed a few autographs and chatted with fans. She was happy to hear that we missed her and got excited about some pix a fan was showing her. I had wanted to thank her for playing one of her own songs in Verona but while she was standing there I forgot. Slapped myself in the forehead when they were gone, but could not change it.
Bruce was the last to leave. He took his time, joking and shaking hands with the hotel’s doormen, smiling at us. He seemed relaxed and happy, signed some stuff and talked to us. I got to take some nice pictures of him and just felt happy watching .

All in all it was a sweet start of the Dublin experience. Afterward I returned to my hotel, got changed and made my way to The Point. The 45 minute walk ahead of me didn’t seem so long because I was looking forward to the show. While walking along Eden Quay I saw a sign “Low Bridge Ahead” and could not get ‘Erie Canal’ out of my mind. Thus I spent the next few minutes singing “low bridge, everybody down” to myself.

Upon my arrival the queue was surprisingly short. I looked for familiar faces but didn’t see any. It was 5:30 p.m., an hour to the opening of the doors. The hour streched out and by the time they finally let us in I was freezing. I had been anxious about coming so late and not getting a good spot, but ended up in third row, slightly to the right of Patti. Phantastic. The best part was that the two people in front of me were short and I had a clear view of the stage.
The atmosphere felt intimate and even though the crowd was a bit slow the band was in a great mood. The show started with ‘Atlantic City’ and I knew right away I was in for something good. ‘John Henry’ and ‘Old Dan Tucker’ got the crowd going and then came the moment I’d been waiting for: I got to hear ‘Further On (Up The Road)’ for the first time this tour. It was even more beautiful than the recording I had heard and the broad smile would not leave my face afterwards. I loved the entire setlist and the new version of ‘Blinded By The Light’ left me in awe. After so many months of playing the band was really tight and the still had fun on stage. I loved the entire show and needed a few moments to come down when it ended. YES! Going to Dublin was the right decision.

Met some friends after the show but felt too exhausted to go out and just headed home. During the walk back downtown I saw the band bus which was stuck in traffic. They waved at the fans and we waved back. Back at my hotel I spent some time checking the pictures I had taken at the show and finally went to bed after 1 a.m.. What a great day!

Setlist:

Atlantic City
John Henry
Old Dan Tucker
Further on (up the Road)
Jesse James
O Mary don’t you weep
Growin’ up
If I should fall behind
Erie Canal
My Oklahoma Home
Devils & Dust
Mrs. McGrath
How can a poor man stand such times and live?
Jacob’s Ladder
Long Time comin’
Open all night
Pay me my money down
My City of Ruins
Blinded by the Light
You can look (but you better not touch)
When the Saints go marching in
This little Light of mine
American Land

The following day started much like the previous one. After a trip downtown I dropped by Bruce’s hotel and met a few fellow fans. Rather than staying, B. and I left in search for food and discovered a nice Indian restaurant for lunch. We returned to the hotel after as it was about the same time they had left for soundcheck the previous day. Nothing happened though. There were too many people and Terry, Bruce’s PA informed us that he had left through the back door. Oh well, luckily we didn’t spend all day waiting.

We were quite late for the second show and still got a good spot about 20 rows back. The audience was louder this time and the band was once again great. The show had objectively more highlights such as the worldpremiere of ‘Shanandoah’ and the tourpremiere of ‘Highway Patrolman’. Both were songs I enjoyed very much, but my beloved ‘Long Time Coming’ and ‘Further On (Up the Road)’ were missing so I liked Friday’s setlist better. Still a strong and very enjoyable show.
Afterward I arrived at the venue exit shortly before Bruce left. I saw him sitting in the car so I waved and he waved back. 🙂

Setlist:

Old Dan Tucker
John Henry
Johnny 99
Eyes on the Prize
Jesse James
O Mary don’t you weep
Bobby Jean
If I should fall behind
My Oklahoma Home
HIGHWAY PATROLMAN
Mrs. McGrath
How can a poor man stand such times and live?
Jacob’s Ladder
The River
Open all night
Pay me my money down
SHENANDOAH
You can look (but you better not touch)
When the Saints go marching in
This little Light of mine
American Land

For Sunday, B. and I had decided to go earlier to get closer to the stage. We met for lunch and arrived at The Point at 4:30. I was warmer than the other days, but also raining so waiting was not very enjoyable. Luckily the security people were nice and let us in early. Once inside they stopped us and we were wondering why until we realized that the soundcheck was not over yet. We could not see Bruce and the band, but heard them clearly. The played ‘For You’ which had not been performed on this tour yet. We clapped and cheered when it was over and Bruce send a “Thank you” our way. ‘Mansion On The Hill’ followed – another song that hadn’t been played yet. More cheering.
Shortly after they let us go to the stage and we got a nice spot in third row.

The show was spectacular with a brilliant band and a reappearance of ‘Further On (Up The Road)’ in the setlist. ‘For You’ was also performed and again the killer version of ‘Blinded By The Light’. The cutest  part, however, was Bruce’s and Patti’s interaction with their son. I noticed Patti looking over to her left and checked. Evan was standing there, ever the cool guy, hand in his pockets and chewing gum. Patti waved at him and smiled, while he just watched. A bit later Patti walked over to Bruce who hadn’t noticed yet. Now he waved, smiled and gestured “I see you”. Before ‘Long Time Coming’ Bruce announced he wanted to dedicate this song “To my family, to my son Evan (pointing). From dad with love.” Evan looked down at this point. The song was sung beautifully as usual and during the line “but if I had one wish kids that your mistakes would be your own your sins would be your own” Bruce looked at Evan again. What a sweet moment. After the song Bruce bowed and Evan touched his heart in return. Watching this almost made me cry. Before ‘Jesus Was an Only Son’, Bruce said it was another song about growing up and how kids go their own way. Then, turning to Evan again, grinning “but not yet”. ‘If I Should Fall Behind’ was another highlight with Patti’s beautiful voice complimenting Bruce’s. We also got to hear ‘The Ghost Of Tom Joad’ with guitarist Frank Bruno singing two verses. Another great voice there. The entire concert was spectacular and the crowd was great. What a night, what a great end to a wonderful tour. I truly loved every single minute of it.

Setlist:

Atlantic City
John Henry
Old Dan Tucker
The Ghost of Tom Joad
O Mary don’t you weep
Jesse James
Further on (up the Road)
Erie Canal
FOR YOU
My Oklahoma Home
If I should fall behind
Devils & Dust
Mrs. McGrath
How can a poor man stand such times and live?
Jacob’s Ladder
Long Time comin’
Jesus was and only Son
Open all night
Pay me my money down
We shall overcome
Blinded by the Light
When the Saints go marching in
This little Light of mine
American Land

After the show, some of us decided to go for a drink and had trouble finding a bar open on a Sunday night in Dublin. We managed and had a drink before we all went back to our hotels. On Monday, I met B. again for a pre-lunch tea and headed to the airport around 3. By ten at night I was finally back home, exhausted but happy.

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