Random Music Notes: Bruce 2/15/14, Melbourne, AU

“We learned more from a 3 minute record, than we ever did in school”.

 

10,000 miles away from the east coast that spawned Bruce and the E Street Band, and the passion for them is clearly global. 30,000 fans packed the AAMI Park Stadium and I was for sure not the lone American, couldn’t help but notice the baseball hats of the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Orioles, Dodgers, and NY Giants in the crowd. We were all treated to a very different but still epic show. 32 songs, 3 1/2 hours of non-stop music and a surprise complete album performance of “Born in the USA”.

Different was the absence of the true Springsteen classics until the encore section, but still a powerful show.

As he did in Perth last week, they opened with a homage to Australia and AC/DC with an E Street rendition of “Highway to Heaven” but with guest star Eddie Vedder, who stayed for “Darkness on the Edge of Town” as well. HTH showcased what can only be called an orgy of guitar virtuosos, Bruce, Little Steven, Nils Lofgren and now Tom Morello, all front and center blasting away on Highway. It’s like the E Street Band is doing their own build-up of nuclear weapons, but in the form of guitars. Vedder departed after the first two numbers, but the guitar orgy continued with Badlands, moved to the head of the show for this tour. Live classic “Seeds”  lead into Morello’s first solo turn, this on “High Hopes”, and as always he delivered. another new number, at least for the E Streeters, an Aussie favorite from local band the Saints, “Just Like Fire Would” with Little Steven soloing here.

The first audience sign request was honored, with as Bruce said, an obscure one, Gary U.S. Bonds’ “Jole Blon” with great solos by Suzy Tyrell on violin and Charlie Giordano on accordion, the second sign request was a bit odd, since it was what is basically a show staple, “Hungry Heart”. The huge mega-hits, to no surprise, are huge favorites overseas.

Then the big surprise, with Bruce telling the crowd, that since they were just hear a year ago, they didn’t want to repeat anything so were going to perform “Born in the USA” from start to finish, a first for me. As the album that Bruce officially jumped the shark with 30 years ago, for me it is forgotten how truly great a collection of material it is, 11 songs, and every one memorable. Highlights were Nils’ solo on “Cover Me”, Suzy and Jake’s solos on “Darlington County” and  Steve’s on “Downbound Train”, a truly great song, that isn’t played live enough. Surprising to me was the crowd knowing virtually every word to “I’m on Fire” and “Goin’ Down”, two of the more obscure BITU songs.

After the completion of the album, another sign request, and this was a real rarity,  answering the sign’s “for the thousands who have lost their working lives” was “Factory” off of the Darkness album, followed by its modern day companion piece from “Wrecking Ball”, “Shackled and Drawn” which has become a great live number, highlighting the vocals of Cindy Mizelle, one of the singers featured in “20 Feet From Stardom”.

Morello being part of the band means that “The Ghost of Tom Joad” is now an E Street regular, as it should be and as I’ve described it before, his playing on this number is truly from a place that no one else has ever visited, it is an insane performance. “The Rising” and “Land of Hope and Dreams”, the latter now becoming a classic song, finished out the main set.

The encores opened with new song, and a great live version of “Heaven’s Wall”, which launched right into “Born to Run” and then a surprise, “Rosalita”, with has now become a vehicle for Bruce and Steve to mug it up. “7 Nights to Rock” tore it up, into “10th Avenue Freeze Out” and finally “Shout”. To close it out, an acoustic solo version of “Thunder Road”.

Well worth the travelling. Another show tomorrow night, maybe I will get a full album version of Greetings from Asbury Park, since they didn’t do one selection from it tonight.

Until tomorrow.

 

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