Bruce Springsteen down under – Sydney 20 March 2013

It’s only his third concert tour to Australia, and I missed the first two.  So we went on 20 March.  Summary:  the most accomplished stage performer I have ever seen, but the music was too loud, too brassy and hard to understand.

I guess most of us knew the music anyway.  I sure did.

A three and a half hour concert without a break, with enough energy to power a small city for a year.  How does he do it?  What was more amazing was his audience interaction:  Springsteen almost never lost eye contact with his audience, and we loved him for it.  Highlights:

When he strolled through the crowd while singing (I can’t remember the song, but the event was riveting), and then perched himself on a ledge in the middle of the audience, while audience members held him up.  He then crowd-surfed over the mosh pit back to the stage, held aloft of hundreds of fans.  I was rapt, and just about everyone else was too.

When he brought the little kid on stage with him to sing.

When he chose audience members’ signs identifying songs to sing.

When – near the end – he danced with a female fan whose flip chart he had read out during the concert.

We sat near the back (see photo) but relatively close and he did not ignore us.  He came to the edge of the stage and pointed:  each of us thought/knew he was pointing at us individually, and we waved back.

Bruce Springsteen3 20March2013

What a shame:  Springsteen is the champion of the American working class, a supporter of Barack Obama and New Jersey, where he grew up and still lives.  Almost none of this found its way into the Homebush Bay arena.  He was awfully far from home, but it would have been nice to feel that connection.

Most ironic moment:  Near the end, during what surely were the encores (although it was a bit hard to tell), when he asked, “Are you tired yet?”

Freakiest moment:  When the lights came up and I realised that there were about six men and women perched in the rigging about 20 meters above the stage, pointing spot lights and strapped into little seats.  When did they get there?  How would they get down?  Were they ever scared?

The most memorable concert I have been at, and I am a 30 year fan.

Bruce Springsteen Sydney - 20 March 2013

Bruce Springsteen Sydney – 20 March 2013

Bruce Springsteen2 20March2013


2 Responses to Bruce Springsteen down under – Sydney 20 March 2013

  1. Chris Larkin says:

    Hi Don. Yep – what you said. Finally got my wife and 2 daughters to come with me to see Bruce in Sydney on 20th March – fabulous show; incredible performer. And great music – I think: as you say, the mix obscured the music, and that was a disappointment for me. During songs that have formed the soundtrack to my life, I found myself straining to hear individual guitars, Roy’s piano lines, even Bruce’s vocals at times, through the general booming roar that punched a hole clear through the centre of my chest and shattered my spine on the way out. That being said, we had a great time. At one stage I thought Bruce was going to say something specific about community and political involvement when he said, “you’ve got to tell Australians to get up off their asses” (and my politically aware 19-year-old daughter sitting next to me screamed “YES!!!”). A great night.

    • donperlgut says:

      And in reply to Chris: I am glad it was not just we who found the sound so disconcertingly loud. Friends who attended the Monday 18 March concert in Sydney and sat in a totally different place did not have the experiece! Despite the issues, impressive all around.

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