For many years Andy Nathan was a non-believer of the Boss and his enduring influence in rock music. All that was to change, finally, on a summer’s night in June 2012…
Of the hundreds of bands I’ve been lucky to see, if pushed to pick the best live act it would have to be Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band.
Now ‘The Boss’ has a legion of diehard fans, but the odd thing is that I never really counted myself as one. For most of the eighties and nineties, despite my then favourite act Bon Jovi wearing their influences on their fellow New Jersey sleeves, the only evidence in my collection was taped copies of ‘Born In The USA’ and ‘Greatest Hits’. Even now, having grown to know and love his back catalogue, it still wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of a list of my favourite recorded artists.
My first live exposure was as recently as 2003 at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, and at the time was part of a conscious effort to see some of the all-time famous names of pop and rock just once before I died or they died, whichever was soonest.
In this case though I became hooked on the magic of an E Street Band concert. The incredible energy that Bruce and a bunch of fellow sixty-somethings bring. The generosity of spirit and human warmth that oozes from him which makes you feel part of a special collective. The band showing ensemble playing at its very best.
The bond between band and their audience, with fans holding up handmade request signs, and their ability to pick one of those songs and play at the drop of a hat. The different setlist every night. And most of all marathon sets known to stretch to three and a half hours and beyond.
… it was a night to reaffirm your belief in the human spirit and the power of rock n roll. (Andy Nathan, June 2012)
I could pick many highlights - a rare indoor show at the O2 soon after it opened, gigs in 2013 where he played the whole of ‘Born To Run; and ‘Born in the USA’ respectively, or a tour de force at Wembley in 2016, the most recent time the E Street Band toured.
However the Manchester gig in 2012 on the ‘Wrecking Ball’ tour will take some beating. The signs were not promising: it was a truly foul summer’s day, shrouded in gloom and torrential rain that even a scriptwriter would have rejected as too great a Manchester stereotype.
But inside the Etihad the atmosphere was memorable, helped by the rain miraculously clearing away. It was the first tour since the ‘big man’ Clarence Clemons passed away and was a moving requiem for him, plus the album’s anthemic new songs lent themselves perfectly to a new line-up with a brash horn section. As usual the setlist was varied and a remarkable atmosphere gradually developed. And the encore even included a rare rendition of the most cult Springsteen classic of all..
Gig review (Manchester Etihad Stadium, June 2012)
Photos: Steve Goudie
In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)
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