LIVE REVIEW: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN @ AAMI PARK, MELBOURNE – FEBRUARY 2017

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After the last time a friend and I saw Bruce Springsteen in 2014, we agreed that if we went again, we would not buy floor tickets. While that show was really great (a better setlist in fact than the show we just saw), he played a staggering 30 songs, and told the audience very long stories. Readers may be wondering what’s wrong with that, well it’s the fact that we had gotten to the show early to see Dan Sultan and Hunters & Collectors, meaning that we were standing for about 7 hours, with Bruce playing roughly half of that time. Plus it was a Sunday and we had to leave just before he finished to get the last train. This lead to very uncomfortable back pain. Not Mr Springsteen’s fault or problem though, is it?

This time round my friend and I, plus another Springsteen fan who went with us, got seats so we could rock up whenever we wanted, get up for consumables and toilet breaks, and not have to worry about transport because it was a Saturday night and trains were running all night. No worries! Bruce ended up playing a shorter set and didn’t talk to the crowd as much.

A Springsteen concert is a reward for his most devoted fans as he often plays deep cuts and even spontaneously plays sign requests from the crowd. At three-to-four hours, his show may be too long for casual listeners, who may be disappointed to not hear the biggest hits; notably missing from the night was “Born in the USA” and “The Rising”.

The setlist was very different to the last show I saw, which seemed fair, considering Bruce played 7 shows in Melbourne from 2013 and had about 300 songs over four decades to choose from. Only the most die hard fan would know every single song. The three of us each had different favourite performances from the night; my personal highlights were “Lonesome Day”, “Because the Night” (Patti Smith cover), “Hungry Heart”, “Death to my Hometown”, “Born to Run”, “Dancing in the Dark”, and the two covers to end the show (“Shout” and “Twist and Shout”). Multiple violinists were brought in for the best performance of the night, “New York Serenade”. Check out a previous live performance of the song below, it was spectacular.

Bruce Springsteen’s gigs have set a standard. He proves that old age cannot be an excuse for a mediocre show. The Boss is 67 years old, but he still tours the world, plays for 3 hours or more as the centre of attention, and he changes the setlist up during the show on request. He barely missed a note; he not only shows great pride in what he does, but he’s having so much fun doing it.

I can’t not mention the reformed Jet, who were performing their first run of shows in 6 years. Despite a shaky start, they were terrific. With exception of “Look What You’ve Done”, they played all the songs you’d expect, including one of the greatest Aussie anthems “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”. I would love to see more of them in the future, and I might even consider going to see Bruce Springsteen a third time.

Words by Stefan Bradley.