Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – Ullevi Stadium, Göteborg; July 28th, 2012
At my hotel after this second show at Ullevi stadium I looked back at what I had just witnessed and knew I had been part of something special. I may have felt the need for a new pair of feet and I certainly longed for dry clothes, but nothing could have spoiled that experience. I knew I had seen of the best Springsteen shows ever, possibly the best. After all these years and all these shows, Bruce still has the power to render me speechless!
The queue was well organized, but due to the bad weather conditions we had to stand up soon after they had led us into the entrance area of the stadium. The water just came pouring down from the sky, forming a river at our feet. Thus, we just remained standing when we walked into the stadium and by the time the show started I as already on my feet for almost 5 hours. My feet hurt and I thought I might not survive, but somehow none of that mattered any more once Bruce and the band hit the stage. I jumped, I danced, I sang along and soon forgot that I’d been exhausted just moments before.
The rain had stopped a little before the show started, but Bruce opened with ‘Who’ll stop the rain’ anyway. I always enjoy hearing that one. ‘The Ties that bind’ and ‘Out in the street’ gave me the chance to jump. My tired feet thanked me. Jumping in much better than just standing still. 🙂 I had some nice people around me and a pretty good view from about 4 rows back. All was well.
‘I’m going down’ was much fun and I enjoyed hearing ‘My lucky Day’. Chatting with those around me before the gig I had said that I’d love to hear ‘Lost in the Flood’ and ‘Jungleland’ again and also ‘Where the bands are’ (that had been soundchecked). I got all three and more. When Bruce picked up the request sign for ‘Lost in the Flood’, commenting it was fitting “due to the weather conditions” me and one of the guys hi-fived. By the time the song started I had tears in my eyes. Such a great rendition. 🙂
More jumping for me during the next block of songs, starting with ‘We take care of our own’. The nightly roll call made me choke up again. ‘It’s hard to be a Saint in the city’ was played for a guy who had noted on his sign how many shows he had been waiting. Bruce decided to not keep him waiting any longer. Thank you for that request! ‘Frankie’ was selected next, it had been 13 years since I last heard it and once it was over Bruce remarked: “That’s a good one, we should play that more often.” I fully agree.
Even the more standard songs they played that night made me happy. I have always loved ‘The River’ and ‘Because the Night’ and to get ‘Thunder Road’ as the first encore made me forget all about having to endure ‘Hungry Heart’. The mixture of songs was just about perfect. Finally, after having it soundchecked for two days, they gave us ‘Where the bands are’ – a tour premiere and always a favorite of mine. He dedicated it to “those who follow us from city to city.” ‘Backstreets’ was amazing too.
I don’t know if it was the bad weather, the great audience or just my personal mood, but everything that night seemed to fit, everything was right. With the rain and the long wait, I had feared I would not be able to enjoy the show, but I was proven wrong. My feet might have hurt, but as long as I kept moving I didn’t notice and I had more than enough reasons to dance.
Yet his was not a party show, quite the contrary. The entire night was very emotional and had me in tears several times. I can’t have been the only one who felt that this night something special was in the air. The band seemed very tight and focused, playing their hearts out and giving us a lot to remember, from beautiful renditions of the songs played every night to some rarities.
The best moment was Jungleland though. Bruce said “We have not played this in a while and we have not practiced.” He dedicated it to Clarence, explaining how Sweden had always been special for him: “So this is for the Big Man and for you for giving him a home.” They put his saxophone in the spotlight. As soon as the song started I dissolved into tears. It was just too much. Jake, who played the sax part was visibly moved as well. The others hugged him after the song was over. So emotional, such a brilliant tribute. I have no words!
Of course, they did not leave us on a sad note, but played the stadium breaker in the end. ‘Twist and Shout’ reminded everyone that life is good, that there is always a reason to be happy, that we had not just come to remember, but also to dance. A fitting close to a beautiful and overall very emotional show.
I said goodbye to my new acquaintances, took a deep breath and left. Met with my tour family outside, sharing our views. We agreed that it was an amazing show, were still a bit overwhelmed and speechless. As I walked back to my hotel I thought back on those past 3.5 hours and smiled. Only Bruce can make me laugh and cry wonder and shiver in such a short time span. I am grateful I was there to witness this.
6 shows down, 1 to go. Next stop: Helsinki
Who’ll stop the rain
The ties that bind
Out in the street
I’m goin down
My Lucky Day
LOST IN THE FLOOD (request)
We take care of our own
Death to my hometown
My City of Ruins
It’s hard to be a saint in the city (request)
Because the night
Shackled and drawn
Waiting on a sunny day
WHERE THE BANDS ARE
Land of hope and dreams
Born in the USA
Born to run
Dancing in the dark
10th Avenue Freeze-out
Twist and Shout