Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band – San Siro, Milan; June 7th, 2012
It was going to be a long day. For the Italian concerts the Bruce camp had decided to use the US lottery system, giving out numbered wristbands in the morning, drawing one number, letting people in in order after that. All in all not a bad idea, but the wristbands were limited to 1500 so people started queuing the night before anyway. Knowing a wristband would grant me access to the pit and afraid if I came to late, I might not get one, I made my way to the stadium at 6:20 in the morning. Needing to search for the way a bit, I finally arrived at shortly after 7, number 585 in line. The wristbands were supposed to be given out at 8:00, so I found my friends, settled down and waited. It worked well, by 9:30 we all had wristbands (I was number 549 now) and went for breakfast. The place of choice? McDonald’s – yay for healthy eating when on tour (*rolls eyes at self*). Back to the hotel to rest a little and back to the stadium by 12:30 for the draw. My bad luck at lotteries struck again, they drew number 929, so almost 1000 people to go in before I would. We heard the rumor that we’d have to go in at 2 p.m. if we wanted a place in the pit, because they would give out a second wristband there and fill it up with people who had not taken part in the lottery. So we stayed, waited, walked in. T. and I got a spot at the back of the pit on the left side (we chose to go there rather than opt for about ten or 15 rows back from stage or front row on the very far right). We sat down, we chatted, I felt exhausted. I’m really getting too old for waiting all day and before the concert even started my feet were killing me. Still, it was all good, we had nice people around us, we had a railing to lean on and a good view of the stage. The pit filled, people move to the front, more came in and filled up the empty space and it was still 2 hours to go. I got up because I could not sit any more, wishing I had not believed the rumor about the second wristband. From time to time, my mind could not help but wonder to Finland, where POTF were playing a gig in Turku this night. Yet I was here, ready for Bruce! 🙂
Shortly before the concert finally started, I looked around the packed stadium. There is something special about this place, an atmosphere that you get nowhere else, banners everywhere, excited and passionate fans all the way from the front row to the very back. When the band walked on stage, the entire stadium exploded into cheers. Everyone on the floor was jumping and clapping before Bruce even walked out and when he started with ‘We take care of our own’ 60 000 people sang along – it was beautiful. Everyone in the stadium had fun and it stayed that way for the entire show. People didn’t get tired of singing, dancing, jumping around or sometimes, for the more quiet songs, listening attentively. A lot of times people where standing in their seats, arms raised, clapping. For those moments we were one in our love for Bruce and the band, singing along with them in one voice.
‘Wrecking Ball’, ‘Badlands’, ‘Death to my Hometown’, every song delivered like a punch, not leaving much room to breathe. With ‘My City of Ruins’ we got just that. It was time to just listen for a while and maybe shed a tear or few for those missing that night.
‘Spirit in the Night’ brought Bruce closer to the crowds for the first time. The loved it, shook hands, hugged him or just held up their request signs for him to be seen. I briefly wondered if he never gets tired of getting his ass grabbed, but there was no indication that he wasn’t enjoying getting close to his fans. ‘The E Street Shuffle’ made many people happy. It’s not one of my favorites, so I would have liked another song just as well. While ‘Jack of all trades’ was playing, I saw T. turning around and took a look at the people behind us and in the seats. I turned as well and saw thousands of lights. Beautiful!
The first surprise of the night came with ‘Candy’s Room’, a song I love very much. Time for me to sing along loudly once again, getting lost in the music. A great rendition of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ followed and I loved it as well. Strangely, ‘Johnny 99’ of all songs had the entire stadium jumping and dancing and ‘Out in the Street’ kept the party going.
Bruce fucked up ‘No Surrender’ twice and blames the E Street Band for it, before finally getting it right. I had fun and the concert was one big party, but the setlist was still pretty standard. I had heard most of the songs already and kept hoping for something special, something to really make my night. I had to wait for a bit longer, through ‘Working on the Highway’, ‘Shackled and drawn’ and ‘Waiting on a sunny Day’. I enjoyed every bit of it though and just danced and jumped like everyone else did. For ‘Waiting on a sunny Day’ Bruce pulled a little girl on stage, but when he held out the microphone to her she just shook her head and refused to sing – priceless! 😀
After ‘The Promised Land’, as I was just checking my watch, wondering if a certain Finnish band’s concert in Turku had already started (it hadn’t), T. nudged me and said “He’s walking over to the piano”. Immediately my eyes were back on Bruce, wondering what he was up to. He sat down and someone gave him a sheet with lyrics. The stadium grew as quiet as a stadium can get, everyone waiting, wondering what he’d play now. “There’ve been many requests for this song, “ Bruce told us, “So I’m gonna play it for you”. As he started striking the keys, the die-hard fans separated from the rest, the former looking at each other in disbelief, cheering, the latter oblivious to the miracle that was just happening in front of them: Bruce playing ‘The Promise’. It was a beautiful version too.
Some time during the show, when Bruce was out at one of the platforms, he spotted a small blow-up doll of himself, took it and played with it for a while, pretending to let it sing into the microphone an waving its arms. Funny!
‘The River’ was great, with everyone singing along and ‘The Rising’ was followed by ‘Radio nowhere’ a song that always works great live. ‘We are alive’ was beautiful too. I think it was then that the screens showed the moon that had risen over the stadium – very fitting. ‘Land of Hope and Dreams’ ended the main set.
‘Rocky Ground’ was the last slow song in the show. It started the encores that went on into crowd pleasers and party tunes from then on, once again punch after punch with no room to breathe. It started with ‘Born in the USA’ and ‘Born to run’, then ‘Cadillac Ranch’ that was written on several request signs and the dreaded double of ‘Hungry Heart’ and ‘Bobby Jean’. I needed a rest and set down for a little bit – don’t think I missed much. P., who was standing to my right asked me if I was alight. Thank you for caring! I was, I just could not stand any more.
During ‘Dancing in the Dark’ Bruce walked over to the left outer platform. He spotted a girl with a sign asking “Can I dance with Jake?”. He took her sign and held it up to the camera, smiling. Then he motioned for her to join him. She did, hugged him and then set out running for the main stage before Bruce could stop her. With a somewhat sheepish grin he held the sign up to the camera again, but of course the band had not seen it and Jake even had is eyes closed, oblivious to what was going on. So they were all sort of surprised when the girl came running and started dancing next to Jake. It was a fun moment and they have to be credited for not losing track of the song. Bruce stayed on the platform, dancing with another girl. When he walked back to the main stage, the girl who had been dancing with Jake, came running towards him and jumped into his arms, saying something to him that I assume was a thank you. He carried her back to the platform. 🙂 When Bruce arrived at center stage again, Jake was wiggling his finger at him reprimandingly.
I expected them to leave us with ‘10th Avenue freeze-out’, but they didn’t. The party wasn’t over yet and continued with ‘Glory Days’. At one point during the last encores, Bruce ripped open his sweaty shirt and just kept on rocking. The show finally ended with a powerful version of ‘Twist and Shout’. One last time for everyone to sing along, to jump and dance and then it was over – 3 hours and 40 minutes! Slowly, we gathered our bearings, said goodbye to new friends and old and walked home.
3 gigs down, 4 to go. Next stop: Firenze.
We Take Care Of Our Own
Death To My Hometown
My City Of Ruins
Spirit In The Night
The E Street Shuffle
Jack Of All Trades
Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Out In The Street
Working on the highway
Shackled and Drawn
Waiting on a Sunny Day
The Promised Land
The Promise (solo piano)
We Are Alive
Land Of Hope And Dreams
Born In The USA
Born To Run
Dancing In The Dark
10th Avenue Freeze Out
Twist And Shout