Every day it just gets harder to live this dream I’m believing in

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – Ullevi, Gothenburg; June 25th, 2016

Seeing Springsteen in Sweden is always something to look forward to, because he has a special connection with this country. It is also something people get overly excited about with expectation so high they can hardly be met. It is a tough ticket, fans get in line ridiculously early (i.e. days in advance) and no matter what happens, someone will claim it was the greatest show he has ever played. Be that as it may, in my personal experience I have never seen a bad Bruce show anywhere, certainly not in Sweden and so far there have always been surprises. For me this show sticks out as especially long (his second longest ever, clocking in at almost four hours) and giving me Tunnel of Love, a song I’d been hoping to hear live. I was lucky to be up close too (third row) and thoroughly enjoyed the concert.

Walked to the stadium in the morning and became number 356 in line shortly after 9 am. Not bad considering some people had been camping for days. Roll calls were relaxed, the atmosphere was nice. Everyone was having a good time and we had sunshine too. at some point during the day I met up with A. and M. who had arrived that morning. We hung out until it was time to get in line and wait to be walked in. We were able to sit down mostly until they led us into the stadium around 4:30 pm. Inside, I was a bit indecisive on where to go, but settled for a spot in third row between Nils and Soozie. More waiting, chatting, sitting down for as long as possible. When everyone jumped up eventually there was a shift to the right and I ended up in front of Nils. Had a nice view from there. 🙂

Bruce walked out alone this time, going over to the piano. When he played the opening chords to ‘The Promise’ everyone cheered. This show was off to a great start already and the band wasn’t even on stage yet. Once they were, including Patti, who had not been at my two previous shows, they launched right into ‘Badlands’ and I was jumping and singing along. ‘Out in the Street’, ‘The Ties that Bind’, ‘Sherry Darling’ – punch after punch the band delivers, not giving us much of a chance to stand still. There are no more surprises for a while, but the setlist works well and I am enjoying myself. ‘My Lucky Day’ makes a reappearance, so does ‘Save my Love’ and ‘Wrecking Ball’ is great. Every time Bruce chose to walk by, I try taking a picture with my phone, but give up eventually, because he just moves too fast (even though he is running at half speed these days). I watch Bruce walking out to the platform on the side, Jake too. During ‘Hungry Heart’, they both disappear from our view, playing to the people further back.

I had fun, enjoyed being so close and tried to get even closer as Bruce walked by, but he never took my hand when I reached out. Gave up taking pictures, just jumped and danced. ‘My City of Ruins’, so was ‘Johnny 99’ was a nice surprise for me. Not following setlists has its perks. t’s funny in retrospect how obsessed I used to be with which song was played where, claiming victory when I heard an especially rare one and complaining when I missed it. These days I enjoy what I get, but do not cry over what I miss. Feels much better. 🙂

The setlist was nicely mixed, even with a few songs I could do without. During those I took time to breathe, let my thoughts run free or just found parts that I could enjoy like the interactions of the band with he crowd and the fact that people were rocking out to the music. at times, I got lost in the music, at other times I didn’t feel it – that final magical spark was missing. Luckily, not for the whole show. There were more than enough great moments to make up for the ones that fell just a little short. I do not ant to complain though, it was a great show!

Hearing ‘Drive all Night’ again made me happy, but even more I loved ‘Tunnel of Love’. It was an amazing rendition too and watching Bruce and Patti together was pure joy. I felt the song, the words resonated with me, took on new meaning. ‘Shackled and drawn’ followed and until that moment I had forgotten how good this song is. Loved it! All in all the show brought many moments to smile, watching the band at work, seeing them play to each other and sing together. Jake was leaning on to Soozie for support while I took mental pictures of it, Nils was spinning in circles , Max hit the drums like a madman. The energy of this band is unbelievable!

Somewhere towards the end of encores Bruce told us jokingly “We have another hour or so” and after ‘Shout’ and getting a sponge bath from Steve he announced “One more for Gothenburg”. Sadly, he choose ‘Bobby Jean’ – I could have easily done without it. 😉 ‘Dancing in the dark was fun though and all the dancers (with Soozie, Jake and Bruce) where selected from the corner where I stood. They clearly enjoyed being on stage and I was happy for them, once again contemplating what I’d do if I were selected. Luckily that is not going to happen since I would not ever request it. Thank you, I am fine just where I am. 😀

With ‘Thunder Road’ the show ended at a little over four hours and I felt rather drained. It was the second longest Bruce show ever for those who keep count. 😉 All in all it was a good one and after trying and failing to meet up with A. and M. I happily walked back to my hostel, reminiscing about the concert.

Setlist

THE PROMISE (solo piano – tour premiere)
Badlands
Out In The Street
The Ties That Bind
Sherry Darling
My Lucky Day
Wrecking Ball
Spirit In The Night
Save My Love (sign request)
Hungry Heart
My City Of Ruins
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
Death To My Hometown
My Hometown
Johnny 99
Youngstown
Murder Incorporated
The River
American Skin (41 Shots)
The Promised Land
Working On The Highway
Darlington County
Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
I’m On Fire
Drive All Night
TUNNEL OF LOVE (tour premiere)
SHACKLED AND DRAWN (tour premiere)
Because The Night
The Rising
Land Of Hope And Dreams

Born In The U.S.A.
Born To Run
Seven Nights To Rock
Dancing In The Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Shout
Bobby Jean

Thunder Road (solo acoustic)

The River Tour 2016: 3 shows down, 3 to go, next stop: Gothenburg

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