It’s just another roll of the dice

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – Letzigrund stadium, Zurich; July 31st, 2106

When Zurich was announced as the last show of the European tour I wondered briefly at the strange choice for a finale. after all, it seems to be Sweden or Italy that Bruce loves most (since those are the countries that according to general consensus often get the best shows). Then again, he does not generally end the tour in either of these countries, it just feels like that sometimes. Either way, the show took place the day before my birthday so I quietly hoped he might start late enough or play long enough to give me a birthday show. After all, the 2012 Helsinki show on the same date was the longest one he ever played. It was also one of the best if not the best Springsteen show I have ever seen. High hopes that Bruce and the band sadly could not live up to. It was a solid show with some surprises, but none that will stick out in the long run. However, it had good, even great moments and these I choose to remember.

The day before the show, upon arrival t the stadium, I was surprised to be already number 470 in line. I had not expected that many people to come early. Still, that would get me a good spot in the end so regular roll calls it was. A huge banner reading “The older we get, the harder it is to say goodbye” caught my attention. It was a fan present for Bruce and the band, signed by everyone who wanted to sign it. I too, left my mark. It looked beautiful and yes, it does get harder to say goodbye with every tour and each passing year. During the second roll call,  I ran into my old friend P. and her husband. Had not seen them in years so we went out for drinks and caught up.
Waiting and roll calls the next day until they let us in around 3 pm. the weather had turned from sunshine to rain showers. I could have done without that, but we got a nice spot a few rows behind the right outer platform.

At 7 pm, 30 minutes after it was scheduled the show finally started. Rather late, compared to the other ones I’ve seen. I had expected ‘Who’ll stop the rain’, but instead it was a powerful version of ‘Prove it all Night’, followed by ‘My Love will not let you down’. The E Street band looked like thy were in a good mood and having fun, so did Bruce. It spilled over to the audience and people really did get into it, even this early on. 🙂

My hopes of finally getting a full River show with the entire album being played were shattered during ‘Sherry Darling’ when Bruce picked up a sign for ‘Trapped’. As a result I got to watch him up close for a while, standing on the platform in front of me, gesturing for the sign to be passed over to him. That was quite enjoyable and the sign was nicely done with a box, showing a picture of Bruce and Steve behind bars. 😀 I love ‘Trapped’ so I had no issue with the choice. 🙂 ‘Spirit in the Night’ lead to more signs being collected and brought us the two biggest surprises of the night.

‘None but the brave’ was something I hadn’t expected and, I have to admit, had not listened to in a long time. I much enjoyed hearing it live though. It was one of those great rarities that can make the night. The next one though was the one song that save the concert for me. as Bruce carried the sin I read ‘Protection’ and could hardly believe my eyes. Now that would have been too much for words. He did, however, choose the song on the other side: ‘Roll of the Dice’. It instantly put a huge smile on my face, because it’s one of my favorites on ‘Human Touch’ and one of the songs I never expected to hear. Bruce commented they were continuing with songs they hardly knew, showed the sign to everyone, grabbed some maracas for the occasion and off they went. It was fun and a pretty good rendition too. I totally loved it! 😀

‘Hungry Heart’ and ‘Out in the Street’ followed, Fun party songs for many, songs I could do without for me. I like ‘Out in the Street’, but would not mind skipping it after haring it so many times and everyone who has every read my concert reviews knows my feelings for ‘Hungry Heart’. Oh well, the audience enjoyed it, I went along so it would not kill my good mood. It got much better again with ‘Jole Blown’ and ‘Atlantic City’ and kept going up and down from there. almost in accordance with my mood, the rain was on and of. every time I thought it was over and put away the poncho, it started again. Like concert, like weather.

I loved ‘The River’, ‘American skin’, ‘Because the night’ and starting the encores with ‘Jungleland’, but I could have done without ‘ Waiting on a sunny day’, ‘Born in the USA’ and ‘Bobby Jean’ so as a whole the concert remained a bit uneven for me with times I got fully into it and other times I just waited out. It’s the result of being spoiled by too many shows I suppose. After all this time it is getting more difficult to be amazed. The show was solid though and I enjoyed watching, because Bruce and the band seemed so happy to be there. The smiles on their faces alone when they saw out goodbye banner made it all better. Also, I grudgingly have to admit the ‘Waiting on a sunny day’ was some fun, because the kid was pretty cool. At the end of the song he whispered (Or probably yelled) something into Bruce’s ear and after he nodded, ran up the stage to Max, talked to him and walked away with he drumsticks. You go, kid! ‘Dancing in the Dark’ was also fun to watch, because someone asked to dance with Kevin Buell and got her request. That might have been a first.

The encores were mostly faster songs to dance to and I was glad that ‘Bobby Jean’ wasn’t the last one. Instead of treating us to a final solo acoustic number thought, the band played ”Twist and Shout’ last. Before, after ‘Shout’ I think they did the skit with Bruce giving up and walking off and Steve putting a cape around his shoulders with ‘The Boss’ printed on the back. It was still funny. Anyway, ‘Twist and Shout’ was great and the audience loved it. They were good all the way, going along much more than I had expected throughout the concert. Overall I liked it, but it felt like a bit of letdown after the brilliant Rome show. Maybe Bruce just does not do it for me any more, maybe I am spoiled by too many shows (but 70 concerts in 20 years doesn’t feel *that* much) or maybe my expectations were just too high. You cannot always have a Helsinki 2012. Either way: I was there, I loved at least half of the show and over the years I am sure the good memories will prevail. Hey, I did get to hear ‘Roll of the Dice’ live. That has to count for something. 🙂 Goodbye Bruce, goodbye ESB, goodbye tour family. I will meet you further on (up the road).

Setlist:

Prove It All Night
My Love Will Not Let You Down
The Ties That Bind
Sherry Darling
Trapped (sign request)
Spirit In The Night
NONE BUT THE BRAVE (sign request – tour premiere)
ROLL OF THE DICE (sign request – tour premiere)
Hungry Heart
Out In The Street
Jole Blon (sign request)
Atlantic City (sign request)
The River
Murder Incorporated
American Skin (41 Shots)
The Promised Land
Mary’s Place
Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
Because The Night
The Rising
Badlands

Jungleland
Born In The U.S.A.
Born To Run
Ramrod
Dancing In The Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Shout
Bobby Jean
Twist And Shout

pictures of this concert

The River Tour 2016: 6 shows down, none to go, last stop: home

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