I ain’t here on business, I’m only here for fun

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – HSH Nordbank Arena, Hamburg; June 21st 2008

I am as happy as can be. Just returned from seeing Bruce Springsteen an the E Street Band in Hamburg. 21 years of being a fan and 45 concerts it took me to get that one show I will never forget. Who would have thought that touching a sweaty man’s legs could be so much fun?

Last night I’ve seen the

Heart Stoppin’
Pants Droppin’
Hard Rockin’
Earth Shockin’
Booty Shakin’
Belly Quakin’
Love Makin’
Viagra Takin’
History Makin’
LEGENDARY
E-STREET BAND

When I had secured my spot by the small side stage I knew it was going to be a great night. I didn’t have the slightest idea how great it would be. Everything was just perfect: My spot, the sound, the crowd, the setlist and even the weather. Bruce was in a wonderful mood: relaxed, smiling and 100% up to it. The image of Bruce in my head is somehow very serious: political, honest, caring and wanting to get a message across. I love him for his meaningful lyrics, for the songs that make me think, laugh and cry. What I sometimes forget about is the pure fun part of it: Bruce has also written some great tunes for a rock ‘n’ roll party and he does enjoy playing those. Last night’s show was only rock ‘n’ roll, but I loved it. Bruce is a great entertainer, no matter what he sings. I love his stories and I love the quiet songs with their serious messages, but seeing him live and seeing him rocking out is sometimes just what it’s all about and last night it was exactly what I needed. History makin’ indeed!

Got there at 10:15 am and except for J. and C. no-one I knew was there. Later, all of my friends wanted to stay at the southwest entrance, but I opted for southeast, remembering it was less chaotic here in 2003. It was still the usual chaos and I expected nothing, but it turns out that I may not be a fast runner, but I do have some endurance. I managed to get a spot at the left corner of the outer right stage platform. Sat down for a bit, but had to stand up shortly before six to defend my spot. Lots of pushing and shoving that luckily stopped when the show started. I would not have gone anywhere if my life depended on it.

Before the concert started Security had instructed us that if Bruce got down on his knees and leaned back we would have to hold him up. We had also been told not to grab his arms, hands or guitar.

The show started at 7:45 pm. Bruce yelled: “Hello Hamburg. Deutschland – Portugal 3 zu 2 – unglaublich! “and to a huge cheer from the crowd launched into ‘Out in the Street’. That went straight into ‘Radio Nowhere’, ‘Prove it all Night’, ‘The Promised Land’ with hardly any time to catch one’s breath.

With ‘Spirit in the Night’ he made his way to our side of the stage for the first time. I braced myself in order not to be pushed away and was luckily pushed further to the center of the platform. When Bruce walked toward us I could hardly believe my eyes. It seemed so unreal. At first, he turned to the far right, sitting down on the edge of the platform, talking and singing to a young boy who stood there in front row. When he leaned back a bit I carefully touched his side, but did not dare to go on. I can’t even explain why, but I somehow had to feel he was really that close. He stood up and turned to us. I touched his leg for a while. My friends later told me it looked good on the screen. I would not know, I was too busy to pay attention. 😉

Bruce collected signs from the audience again during the show and took so many great request. ‘Something in the Night’ which I had not heard since 1999, ‘Atlantic City’ which I love and later on ‘Sherry Darling’ which was a wonderful party. It didn’t even matter that one girl in the front center requested ‘Hungry Heart’. Bruce had recognized her and played it just for her. It was not planned and he did the first verse acoustically. Well, he played, we sang. It was actually a nice moment and the girl looked very happy. The most unexpected song was ‘Held up without a gun’, which had not been played live in 28 years, thanks to the request of a few Dutch guys. That was much fun and Bruce had a great time with the flipside of that request sign saying “Go, Stevie, go. Sing, Stevie, sing!”

During ‘Livin’ in the Future’ Bruce came to our side once more. He stayed a lot longer this time and I took the chance for running my hands up and down his – by then rather sweaty – leg. It was so much fun and apparently he enjoyed it too as he did not move. He was also shaking hands and I reached out, but he did not take mine. It was unbelievable. I didn’t think I’d ever get this close. And he loves it, he asks for it. Something he has not done on any of the tours I have seen. So cool.

The rest of the show was wonderful too. I have not jumped during ‘Badlands’ in a long time and who would have thought I’d scream ‘Rosalita (come out tonight)’ at the top of my lungs and love it? I am still smiling. I loved every second and it was over in a heartbeat. I never held up my request sign and I didn’t even think about the camera in my pocket. I was too busy staring and so happy I could not stop grinning all night – still can’t. What a night! what a show! I don’t think I have ever seen a better one. Can I get a witness? The memory will forever remain in my heart. WOW! Thank you Bruce, for giving me exactly what I needed tonight.

I actually think this was the first time I touched Bruce. When I got my picture taken with him, I believe I was just standing next to him, but I cannot recall and you cannot tell from the picture. The funny thing is that I don’t know if I would have even dared to touch him like that 21 years ago when I became a fan or even 12 years ago at my first show. I do believe I would have been too much in awe and too insecure, not knowing if it was even appropriate. These days I realize that Bruce gets as much a kick out of it as I do. Either way it was different and great and I’m glad that I had to wait so many years because now I was able to truly enjoy it.

Setlist

Out in the Street
Radio Nowhere
Prove it all Night
The Promised Land
Spirit in the Night
Something in the Night (on the setlist, but also a request)
Held up without a gun (request)
Atlantic City
Gypsy Biker
Because the Night
She´s the One
Livin´in the Future
Mary´s Place
Sherry Darling (request)
I´ll work for your Love (request)
Hungry Heart (request)
Incident on 57th Street (request)
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
Badlands

Encore:
Seven Nights to Rock
Rosalita (come out tonight)
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
American Land

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