Bruce Springsteen – Hampden Park, Glasgow, 18/06/13

Bruce Springsteen, Hampden 2013It was all a bit of a whirlwind. At lunchtime on Monday I wasn’t going to the gig. Fast forward to 7.27 on Tuesday and I was there as the Boss took to the stage. Three and a half hours later I was still there as he left triumphant, having given the crowd what must’ve been pretty close to, for the majority, the gig of their lives.

It’s a pretty simple format that Bruce has come up with. There are no gimmicks, no extravagant light shows or anything, he just writes cracking songs and performs them as if his life depends on it. What I found here was that it doesn’t matter that you’re in a crowd of 45,000 in a massive stadium.

His magic is that he performs in a way that you feel you’re as close as you can get, in a small, intimate club, and the band are there purely for you. I’ve never seen anyone make an audience feel as much part of the show as he does.

The show kicked off, in glorious sunshine, with ‘We Take Care of Our Own’ the rousing opener from latest album Wrecking Ball. From there it was straight into ‘The Ties That Bind’ and ‘Jole Blon’ before the band really got going with ‘It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City’.

In the build-up to the gig all the talk was that Bruce had played full albums as part of his set. We were all wondering if we would get Born to Run, Born in the USA or Darkness on the Edge of Town. Well after a cracking version of ‘No Surrender’ we knew one album we wouldn’t be getting. More from the excellent Wrecking Ball album were mixed in alongside the likes of ‘Spirit in the Night’ from the band’s debut album.

As it turned out, we weren’t to get an album tonight, but anyone who was there would surely be lying if they claimed to feel cheated. The first 2 hours of the show were immense, but really it was the last hour that, unbelievably, got even better and just blew me away. The last hour started with ‘The Rising’ and then onto a phenomenal version of ‘Badlands’ and ‘Land of Hope & Dreams’ before the band left the stage for the briefest of moments.

Once back for the encore we were hit with Bruce’s famous 1,2,3,4 and into ‘Born to Run’ and then the feel-good ‘Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)’. He followed this up with ‘Dancing in the Dark’, getting a couple of lucky audience members up to take the Courtney Cox role from the video. After this we had a simply epic version of ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze Out’ where we got introduced to the band – and a moment of sadness here too as the famous line about the big man joining the band was accompanied by a montage of Clarence ‘Big Man’ Clemons, who had passed 2 years to the day before, and Danny Federici.

The party continued, however, with Bruce’ now ubiquitous covers of ‘Twist & Shout’ and ‘Shout’ – with just a hint of ‘La Bamba’ – all delivered in frenetic style. But, after a mammoth 3 hour 20 minute, 29 song set, the best was yet to come. The band left the stage to the Boss and he hypnotised us with an acoustic version of the magnificent ‘Thunder Road’, just the man, his acoustic guitar and his harmonica. It was simply stunning and the perfect way to round off a fantastic sunny evening on the south side of Glasgow.

Graeme Campbell

2 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen – Hampden Park, Glasgow, 18/06/13

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