It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – Barcelona; July 19th 2008

In the afternoon of July 18th I set off for a Bruce weekend in Barcelona. Landed around 3:30 p.m., was in the city and at my hotel by 5 p.m.. Unpacked, did some grocery shopping, relaxed a bit, grabbed a bite to eat and set out to do a little Bruce stalking. I don’t do the “standing outside the hotel thing like an idiot” every tour or every city I go to and I have not done it in a while. So I went to the hotel where I heard Bruce was staying, sat down on a bench, watched an waited. Big mistake. Two hours later I was still there. Saw Clarence, Garry, Soozie and Steve arrive, but there were far too many people already.

Luckily one of my tour friends dropped by and I was easily convinced to go to the beach with her and some others. It was a mild evening with a beautiful full moon over the water. We took off our shoes and let the waves lap at our feet. It all felt very peaceful. After that back to the hotel and finally a good night’s sleep.

Met more friends, at my hotel the next morning, went out for breakfast, then to the stadium to pick up my tickets. Got the GA for Sunday from other friends but could not pick up my seat for the same night at the box office yet. They stood in the GA line and it was hot. Also the had arrived at 9:00 am and were numbers 608 and 609 in line – so much for staying overnight to get a good spot at the next show. That crazy plan died right then and there. I left, and did some sightseeing.

Sometimes it all comes full circle. everything feels as it should be, everything falls into place…

Back at the stadium at 3:30 p.m. to get my ticket for that day. Met C. and her friend R., hung out with them for the rest of the day. Back to the stadium in the evening, arrived at 8:30 p.m., meeting more people, chatting, relaxing, hanging out. Went in after 9, had enough time for the toilet and a drink before getting to my seat. And what a great seat it was – right side of the stage, about as close as it gets. Next to me an Italian family where the son was first to be fan and had now come there with his sister, brother in law and mother to see the show. I unpacked my “Brilliant Disguise” request banner and got ready. The show was supposed to start at 10:00 p.m.. Finally at 10:20 it did.

Knowing the Catalan crowd to be wild and loud, I set out for a night of dancing, party and fun. What I got was a roller-coaster ride along the lanes of my personal Bruce history. I expected him to do great and he delivered.

It was a very relaxed experience to have a seat. I had a wonderful view of the crowd. The stadium was packed, the audience on the floor was going crazy even before the show started. Bruce did not have to work them at all.

He started with a rocking ‘No Surrender’ into ‘Radio Nowhere’. I was up on my feet with the first notes and did not sit down again for a long time. I was in for a party. What I had not counted on where the emotions overwhelming me during the show.

Sometimes, when I’m not on tour and not listening to his music, I tend to forget the magic Bruce has to offer and what he is able to do to me. In seconds he held me in the palm of his hand. With him, no matter where I sit or stand I enjoy the show. There are not many people, maybe even no-one else I can say that about.

I had brought my “Brilliant Disguise” banner because in the 45 previous shows I have not once heard the song that got me into Bruce in the first place. That night my wish was granted. I don’t care that he didn’t even see my banner and the song was on the setlist anyway. That night, he played it just for me. With the first notes the Italians beamed at me saying “your song” and I could only smile and say “Finally, after 21 years”. I was overwhelmed and on the verge of tears. Back when I first heard it, I had no idea what the song is about, but now I understand all too well…
And what a beautiful version it was. It also included a sweet moment of Patti snuggling up to Bruce and Bruce actually kissing her on stage. It was just a peck, but I have never seen him do that before.

‘The River’ was next. I choked up unexpectedly and the tears started flowing. The song has always had a special place in my heart and that night it got to me. I cried a few more times, but these two moments alone made my night. Everything else was just added bonus.

‘Because the Night’ was stunning with the best Nils solo I have ever heard. ‘Janey don’t you loose Heart’ was fun and ‘Tunnel of Love’ another gem I had long waited for. ‘Backstreets’ and ‘Jungleland’ were both exceptional versions and even ‘Hungry Heart’ and ‘Bobby Jean’ could not kill my joy.

I got to hear ‘Summertime Blues’ and found myself enjoying a rather good version of ‘Glory Days’. ‘Twist and Shout’ had me dancing – what a great way to end the night.
Bruce’s family was on stage too (minus Sam) so I got to view some nice family moments as well.

Bruce was enjoying himself and had as much fun as the audience. He was cute about giving his harmonica to a woman who almost shoved the sign requesting it in his face. He also scared the hell out of the cameraman when he stopped the knee slide just a little too late and got up, laughing about it.

Overall it was a night tended to the casual fan. Greatest hits, fun and party. Still, it was very personal and very emotional for me. Surely a night to remember.

After the show we had another Tour family meeting. My friend A. from Italy showed up for a few minutes but claimed he was too tired and wanted to get back to his hotel. Even C.’s friend R. was still there. He is not a fan but all our talk had made him curious and he spontaneously had bought a ticket. Loved the show too. We hung out, chatted, rated the show, went for a drink and the night ended with M. doing a perfect knee slide at the subway station at 3:30 a.m.. Made it back to the hotel by 4 – too hyped to sleep.

Setlist

No Surrender
Radio Nowhere
Out in the Street
The Promised Land
Hungry Heart
Summertime Blues
Brilliant Disguise
The River
Atlantic City
Candy’s Room
Janey Don’t You Lose Heart
Waiting on a Sunny Day
Backstreets
Because the Night
Living in the Future
Mary’s Place
Tunnel of Love
The Rising
Last To Die
Long Walk Home
Badlands

Encores:
Jungleland
Born to Run
Bobby Jean
Glory Days
Dancing in the Dark
American Land
Twist and Shout

on to day 2

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