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Bruce Springsteen - Hard Rock Calling - Saturday Gallery

Silence. There is actually silence in Hyde Park as Bruce Springsteen lulls us into the start of the extra long headline slot with a stripped down rendition of the very first song he played on British soil - ‘Thunder Road’. With just Roy Bittan’s sultry piano notes and the Boss’s emotive vocals, the sold-out audience falls into a hypnotic hush apart from a few mumblers, only breaking the silence half-way through to shout ‘THUNDER ROOOOOOAD!’ like some sort of lyrical tourettes, and to cheer the American icon when he air guitars to the line ‘Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk.’

Playing songs old and new from ‘The River’ to ‘Wrecking Ball’, Bruce’s show is almost like a show-off. It’s amazing how he can still be so genuinely nice, his ego should be the size of Jersey by now, but he still manages to connect with everyone. He even plays unplanned song ‘Take ‘Em As They Come’ just because a guy in the front row asked him to on a sign.

‘Born In The USA’, ‘Born To Run’, ‘Glory Days’ and ‘Dancing In The Dark’ (in which Bruce pulls the next Courtney Cox out the crowd to partake in some dancing...swoon), this is how the encore looked in that order. Surely Mr Springsteen must just shit classics because never tonight does one song become tedious, they are always jam packed with authentic emotion, crowd interaction and tight musicianship. On for over three hours and he never even plays ‘Jungleland’, ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’, ‘No Surrender’ or ‘Down’, that’s how deep the back catalogue is.

Through the night Bruce brings Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello and John Foggerty up for some collaboration love with songs like ‘Death To My Hometown’ and ‘The Promised Land’, but it’s at the end of the encore where the big guns come out. Paul McCartney joins the stage to play Beatles' favorites ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘Twist and Shout’ to a backdrop of fireworks and utter disbelief, bringing the three and a half hour set to a close.

Unfortunately, the show ends how it begun - with silence. The organisers decide to pull the plug on the show due to curfew restrictions, destroying the hope of another song and ruining the pairs thank you speech. When will this EVER happen again, really? The pair are getting on now, these hookups aren’t going to be a weekly occurrence.

Glastonbury’s Michael Eavis landed himself a £3,000 fine in 2009 for letting Springsteen run over a few minutes because he knew it’d be worth it, and most Glasto fans say that was the best year ever. Obviously rules are there for a reason, but come on, there should be some clause that stipulates some leniency whenever something magical like this happens.

Sure, this performance was legendary, but it was spoiled by a few music businessmen who forgot that the word music goes before business. Next year, Hard Rock, please man up.

Words by Jamie Carson
Photo by Andy Sturmey


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