I swear I’d drive all night again…

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – Ricoh Arena, Coventry; June 3rd, 2016

A few months ago, C. called from Berlin, asking if I wanted to go see Bruce in Coventry. Coventry was not on my mental list of shows I considered, but of course I said “yes” right away. 😉 Anyone could do London or Dublin after all, but this might be a show off the beaten track. Despite difficulties in finding a hotel and bad weather forecasts we wowed to make the best of it. We already knew there is no such thing as a bad Springsteen show and thus had nothing to lose. We got a nice, relaxed show with a solid setlist and an audience that had not yet been spoiled by seeing a gazillion concerts already. It was fun and at the end of the night we walked away with smiles on our faces. There is not much more I could have asked for.

It was a late night for me on the day before the concert, but finally I made it to our hotel and dropped straight into bed. Still, much sleep was a luxury not to be had and roughly five hours later we were up again. Armed with our tickets and a little food we made our way to the stadium at 8 in the morning. The atmosphere was relaxed, we didn’t see all that many familiar faces and the line worked well. Around 3 pm they led us all around the arena and then inside. We were rewarded for the long wait with pit access. Finding our spot at the back with M. and D. we sat down and relaxed some more until show start. The stadium filled up, everyone seemed excited for what was about to come. We made bets as to when Bruce would start. There was a last minute setlist change and at 6:46, one minute after D. had predicted, Bruce stepped on stage and walked to the piano.

He was greeted loudly as he sat down and with the first notes he played, a smile spread on my face. My heart recognized the song before my brain did, but finally, when he started singing, I knew it was ‘For you’. It has always been one of my favorites so it was a perfect start for me. Having not read any setlists, I had no clue what to expect and was quite happy about that. The band came out and as soon as they had settled they launched into ‘Something in the night’. The song has never been a particular favorite of mine, but I thoroughly enjoyed this version. ‘Prove it all night’, right after, was a killer. From that moment onwards, I was fully into the show, remembering all the reasons why I love Bruce Springsteen.

‘My love will not let you down’ was the first song when I remember consciously looking around at my friends and watching what people around me were doing. M. was jumping, C. danced, everyone in the audience seemed happy to be just where they were. All evening, no matter which song Bruce and the band played, someone in the audience let out a happy shout as if it was his or her favorite song, the one they’d been longing to hear. It was wonderful to be among such a happy audience. 🙂 They showed so many different people on the screen during the show, once I even briefly saw myself and M. behind me. So many happy faces, but especially memorable was a old lady at the front. She must have been at least 70 and she rocked! Wow.

With the fifth song, Bruce finally went into The River, but he did not stay there long. Unfortunately he decided not to play the full album on the European part of the tour. I would have loved to hear the album in full at least once. He did pick a few nice songs though, amongst them ‘Drive all night’. It is another song I never appreciated much on the album, but right then and there it hit home, almost made me cry. I loved most of the other songs as well and didn’t even mind ‘Hungry Heart’ or the “little kid sings along” during ‘Waiting on a sunny day’. I could have done without the  last one, but this time around at least the kid seemed to have fun and not been dragged there by his parents.

The odd song picked from the crowd this time was ‘Save my Love’. Bruce commented that half the audience was probably wondering what the song was, then explained that it was an outtake from ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’. I did not remember it, but liked it a lot. Hearing ‘Youngstown’ and ‘Because the Night’ made me happy as I love both songs. Overall the show was really enjoyable and the song selection fit my mood. The main set ended with ‘Badlands’ and before launching into the planned encores, Bruce was looking for something else to play in the signs the crowd held. He picked ‘Travelling Band’.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one before and enjoyed it a lot. Much of the encores felt like a party with ‘Shout’ and ‘Seven Nights to rock’.  For ‘Dancing in the Dark’ there were a flood of signs by people asking to dance with different members of the band. Bruce picked a lady who wanted to dance with Jake, a guy whose sign read “Can this boy dance with Roy?” and a girl saying it was her 21st to dance with him. It was fun, especially the guy going all out and Roy dancing next to him. ‘Tenth-Avenue freeze-out’ is still a memory song to Clarence and Danny as it should be. I even had tears in my eyes while they played it. After ‘Shout’, the band walked off, but it was not the end of the show yet. Bruce walke dto the front, with just his guitar and played ‘Thunder Road’. It was the perfect ending. 🙂

Setlist

For You (solo acoustic)
Something in the Night
Prove It All Night
My Love Will Not Let You Down
The Ties That Bind
Sherry Darling
No Surrender
Two Hearts
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
Save My Love
Hungry Heart
Out in the Street
Crush on You
Death to My Hometown
Youngstown
Murder Incorporated
The River
Drive All Night
The Promised Land
Working on the Highway
Darlington County
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
Because the Night
The Rising
Badlands

Travelin’ Band
Born in the U.S.A.
Born to Run
Seven Nights to Rock
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Shout

Thunder Road (solo acoustic)

The River Tour 2016: 1 show down, 5 to go, next stop: Berlin

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