Bruce Springsteen fans from Asbury Park and beyond blog about The Boss
FIRST PERSON: Bruce Springsteen brings a Sunny Day to Cork
About this blog
The writers of this blog are not music critics, and they don't consider a second (or third, fourth or fifth) mortgage to be a perfectly reasonable course of action to pay for front-row tickets, but despite being a whole lot more middle aged than
The writers of this blog are not music critics, and they don't consider a second (or third, fourth or fifth) mortgage to be a perfectly reasonable course of action to pay for front-row tickets, but despite being a whole lot more middle aged than they were when they first put \x34Born in the U.S.A.\x34 or \x34The River\x34 down on the turntable, still feels like Bruce has something -- OK, a lot of things -- to say about our country and the way we live our lives, things that not a lot of other artists are saying. And whether he's talking about the knife that can cut this pain from your heart, the house that's waiting for you to walk in or what that flag flying over the courthouse means, he's nailing down feelings that are so universal that they can raise your spirits and break your heart at the same time. Plus, let¹s face it, the man rocks.
Blogness correspondent Sue McDonald made the trek to the Emerald Isle for Bruce Springsteen’s Cork debut (setlist here), and offers her thoughts about the magical night there — and how the show differed from the many she’s seen on U.S. soil.
“Wait a f**in’ minute. I’m working my ass off up here, and Irish people are sitting down! You have 30 seconds to separate those Irish asses from those seats!”
With that, Bruce remedied one of the big differences I was noting between seeing him in Cork, and seeing him at home. People who had seats were sitting in them. It wasn’t that they didn’t love the show, but from that point (it was during “Pay Me My Money Down”) it became even more of a party.
The Cork show was a great show for me, my only, ever non-USA show. But it was also a memorable show in itself. The setlist was memorable for some relative rarities — “Frankie,” and ‘Real World” (solo piano, and gorgeous), but especially “The Price You Pay.” Bruce had grabbed some signs earlier and played requests — “Sherry Darlin’” and “Wild Thing” (which he said the E Street Band had never played, but didn’t I hear that once in Boston?), but later in the show he went down to a guy and asked him his name. ”How long have you been carrying that sign around?” Bruce asked him. Then he plucked it from him, brought it up on stage and launched into “The Price You Pay.” It felt like one of those “faith rewarded” moments. (It also felt like one of those tour-ending moments, as did the fact that there were official t-shirts for sale for 10 euros…).
It also leads me to one of my first observations of what was different at this show — “Frankie” and “The Price You Pay” were bathroom break/beer run songs, while “Waiting on a Sunny Day” had the crowd totally into it. It was actually the best Sunny Day I’ve ever seen. It was the song he meant it to be and actually ’twas glorious. And “Born in the USA” — standing in a stadium full of Irish folks singing “I was born in the USA” at the top of their lungs was a new experience for me. Possible the highest energy crowd song of the night.
The show had a beach party atmosphere to it. Parc Ui Chaoimh (pronounced “pork-ee-queeve” — go figure!) is a small sports stadium; they are having an Irish heat wave over here, and the sun doesn’t set until 10:00-ish. So, it was bright, sunny and a stadium full of the happiest people I’ve ever seen. Older Irish gentlemen working in the stadium were tapping their hands and smiling. ”It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive” took on a new meaning in here (it was great to hear “Badlands,” by the way.).
I was hoping there wasn’t going to be too much of the “hard times” theme … I just didn’t want to go there on this day. And there was some, but he dispensed with it pretty quickly. “Seeds” had a great guitar solo by Steve, and “Jack of All Trades” was its beautiful, melodic self (my mother — seeing her first Bruce show, at 80, and in Ireland, of all places — turned to me and said “I really liked that song.”)
But he balanced the hard times out with summer songs, and in this way, it all reminded me a bit of Fenway 2 — “Sherry Darlin’” (during which my sister and I shared a laugh about our “no talking rule” imposed after many hours in a rental car, on the wrong side of the road), “Wild Thing” and “Frankie” were all summer songs, according to Bruce. “Adam Raised a Cain” was the “opposite of a summer song” or something like that.
Changes from the last show I saw (birthday show in NJ…) were the shortened video sequence during 10th Avenue Freeze-Out, and the addition of “You’ve just seen the heart-stopping, pants-dropping … E Street Band”, followed, at some point, by him just being a prisoner of rock and roll. I loved seeing all that again. Also, “Shout” was just perfect and fun. The hands in the air for this song and almost every other one was a sight to behold, and I’m sure my sister was getting tired of me pointing out swaying arms, etc. But it was amazing to see, more obvious, perhaps since it was daylight for much of the show.
A couple of other memorable moments were Nils playing his guitar with his teeth, and Bruce playing Roy’s piano with his nose. The horns, of course, and as always, were great. Beginning and ending the show with “This Little Light of Mine” was perfect. Bruce’s energy was amazing and unflagging. He looked great, sounded even greater, and presented us with a setlist much like Fenway 2, including “Prove It All Night” with Roy’s 1978 piano intro. A win/win night for everyone.
I was trying to note differences between this show and others I’ve seen in the States. For me, personally, it was the first show that began with a picnic of Irish cheese and sausage on the banks of the River Lee. But audience-wise, as I mentioned, I’ve never seen so many happy people. I wasn’t in the pit, so I can’t comment on the whole queuing system, or how things were down there. But everything seemed very civilized around us, despite the huge quantities of Heinken going by.
I guess it’s hard to look at a show in Cork as representative of European shows, since he’s never played Cork before, but if by European crowds being “different,” you mean happy, enthusiastic, polite and energetic, then I guess these people were different. And vive la difference, as it was a memorable night.