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Bruce Springsteen Live Experience (Sept 2003)

In June I had the pleasure of seeing Bruce Springsteen Live in Florence...
an experience that can't be defined enough well: MAGICAL really doesn't explain how it was...
Then Mikael too was capable of going to his gig in Stockholm, alongside his best friend Lasse, and for his BDay practically in July...
Since he's way better writer than me, read here something about this untelleable experience.
Micke is capable to make you get some of how it is, with his superb writing. Enjoy :)

Bruce and Clemens
bruceandclemensrocking.jpg
Rocking Out In Stockholm

Months ago my friend Lasse and his girlfriend decided to go to see Bruce
Springsteen when he would come to Sweden this Midsummer. Mostly it was his
girlfriend though as Lasse is not interested in music at all
practically...It was later decided that her parents would come too as her
mother is a big fan too.
So the months passed and two weeks before the concert I get an SMS from
Lasse saying 'You want to go see Bruce if we get an extra ticket?'
Obviously I called him up straight and said yes.
The situation was that Karolina's, his girlfriend, parents are farmers and
during this period the sheep, they have lots, are having their babies..  And
the father might need to be there to supervise if something goes wrong or
not. But it wasn't sure when they were due. So my chances of him saying no
and I would go instead of him was 50/50.
Then on three days before the gig I called Lasse and asked and Karolina said
that it was most surely that the father would come. So my chances had
dropped to..20/80.
On Midsummer's Eve, the day before the happening, my father was driving me
to the party at Lasse's house. He asked me how the 'Bruce Situation' was
going and I said that it was probably gone by now unless they have a ticket
waiting when I would arrive at the party as a suprise. But I didn't believe
that at all and said it as a joke. I arrived and the party had started and
of course the situation was the same as earlier; no ticket. After five
minutes the phone rang. Karolina answered. The rest of us were in the living
room so I couldn't hear anything. After two minutes she walked into the room
with a massive smile saying 'You still want to go see Bruce?' and looked at
me.

Ullevi Stadium
theullevistadium.jpg

You can guess what I said and all the rest. ;) The day after we were on our
way and I was happy as a child during Christmas.
Sometimes you can have a big luck.

So at around 12.45 on Saturday Lasse came and picked me up in his
girlfriend's mother's car. She and her mother was of course with him as they
are the ones that got the tickets. ;) (Karolina stood from 6 in the morning
outside the booth in Vasteras a cold November morning last year getting the
tickets.)
It took around 4 hours to drive, with a 20 minute stop for an ice cream in
the middle. The weather was changing pretty much every half an hour. From
sun to rain and back again to sun. Normal Swedish weather that is. When it
was like 20 minutes left to Gothenburg it was a hell storm with rain flowing
down on us and we all had a bit of a scared look on us of that it would rain
in Gothenburg. But when we got closer we saw the sky with a line through it.
On the side closest to us it was the darkness but then just like someone had
drawn a line with a pencil in the sky, the other side was totally blue. It
was powerful to see.
So we got the the hotel and the weather was a perfect summer afternoon with
sun. We checked in and went out to eat something. After that, it was around
6, we went towards the stadium. And of course it was thousands of people
walking the same way as us. Or sitting in parks and green places waiting to
go later on. As we had seats we weren't in such a rush. But we got there an
hour before the start, 7 o'clock. The seats were very good. Better than I
had expected. If you imagine the stage to the left of us and the seats on
the longside, we were in the middle but at the bottom. Only three rows
before us. It was perfect for seats really. Could have been closer to the
left but also way, way worse. So I was very pleased.
One of the lines of stairs was on the left of us and on our row it was only
three seats next to us before the stairs. I was the one sitting at the far
left. So three seats beside me only before the stairs. And those were empty
a very long time. But of course three persons came just before Bruce
started. Around their late 50's I would guess they were. Two men and a
woman. The man next to me went berserk during most of the concert. Had to
keep an eye on him sometimes so he didn't smash my head with his clappings
and sort of 'dancing'. But it was okay. Nice to see older people rocking it
out too ;)
A little history moment for you now. In 1985 Springsteen was playing with
the same band in the same stadium, also two nights in a row. And this was
really on the top of his career. Or well, at least one of the tops. Around
65000 people each night. These two nights are definitely the two most
legendary concerts on Swedish ground by any artist. When the second night
was over the stadium people noticed big cracks in the stadium's foundations.
Very serious cracks. After research they came to the conclusion that due to
all the people jumping at the same time plus the loud music the ground had
moved so much that the stadium was moving too and therefor causing the
concrete to crack. Researchers did a counting and came to the conclusion
that if the last song would have lasted ONLY two and half minute more the
stadium would have cracked completely. 2 and a half minute away from
complete disaster. Now, that is surely an historical concert eh? But mostly
it is still remembered cos it was such a massive musical pary and event. The
stadium closed for any musical events for over 10 years after that. It has
been open now for some years to music but until Springsteen came again last
weekend no one was allowed to play two nights in a row. But last year it was
decided that the stadium would surely stand for two nights again.
Also, Sweden and Springsteen has always had a big connection. Apart from
England he played here first back in 1975 and he has said several times that
during the concert here in 75 was when he finally lost his nervousness of
playing in Europe. And from then on there's been a special connection. Also
due to that his guitar player Nils Lofgren has a swedish father. And
Clarence Clemons, the saxophon player, has a swedish ex-wife and kid over
here. But mostly cos, it seems, there are some very big fanataical fans. And
alot of them. ;)
Anyway...I needed to say this due to what will happen later on. I'll go on
now ;)

So, at exactly 8.24 Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band went out on
stage to a massive crowd of 57000 cheering fans.
It wasn't the feeling of when I first saw Oasis walk onstage, of course, but
it was a very pleasant sight and a very pure happiness inside me seeing them
walk on. Also, Clarence was wearing a Midsommarkrans (Midsummer flower hat),
which is specific for our celebration of Midsummer. You make a
round..thing...of flowers that you have over your head. Anyway, that was a
very nice idea. Crowdpleasing for sure ;)
After Melania's concert with them in Florence I was very anticipating it and
even more due to the way I got the ticket. And I knew he had mostly opened
with an acoustic Born In The USA. Indian style as Mel described it and she
had praised it alot so I was very keen in hearing it. But 'sadly' the band
kicked in with The Rising immediately. But to be honest, due to the way that
the day was, the crowd was and how the band and Bruce was it was the right
thing to do that night. Let the party start straight away. And it sure did.
On the cd the Rising is very inspiring but live...wow. Adrenaline filled is
the best way I can describe it. Starting off so big but just kept on
building anyway. The middle 8 in that song is something out of this world
live. It transcended into Lonesome Day which went into The Ties That Bind
which went into My Love Will Not Let You Down which went into The Darkness
On The Edge Of Town. Yup, that's right. They never stopped playing for over
half an hour. Just keeping on playing a new song one after another. It was
very, very impressive to see. No catching of breath from Bruce at all until
the end of the fifth song. You really can't tell this guy is soon 54. Well,
I guess you can say he is 54 soon but a very, very young and athletic 54
year old ;). What struck me almost instantly is how tight the band are. They
are ten people onstage but they play like one. And when they all go into
different directions sometimes they still know exactly every other persons
part in the music. So with that skill, or what to call it, they can really
fool around during the songs too. It's really fantastic to see and hear.
Back to Darkness On The Edge Of Town. When that song started it was the
first massive shiver I got. It is one of my favourite songs and the response
it recieved was fantastic. And it was so..just hard to describe it. Just
think of a religious meeting in the south of USA with a black priest
screaming out his sayings as I think we all have seen at least in the
movies. Well, transform that into a silent spiritual piece of rock music,
and you have Darkness On The Edge Of Town. As I said, I felt that shiver
through my back very vividly. And Bruce sang it majestically. The part which
describes so well the feelings of a town that eats you up, when he sang
that, no, screamt that, I was in music heaven again. And I knew I had missed
it since last time. 'Tonight I'll be on that hill cos I can't stop. I'll be
on that hill with everything I got.' That specific line, when I finally
heard it live, well, music don't get bigger than that. It just don't.
After that he talked the usually artist talk like 'It's great to see you
all' and 'It's great to be back in Sweden'. You know, the usual stuff most
say. But he said it in Swedish and he said other stuff too alongside the
usual stuff. I mean, he really talked. And with a great pronounciation too.
I was impressed. :)
'Det ar trevligt att se att stadion ar lagad.' for example. Which is 'It is
nice to see that the stadium is fixed'. Which I found quite funny. ;)
So after that emotion filled moment of Darkness On The Edge Of Town he
calmed things down with his wife Patti and sang a beautiful version of Empty
Sky. Very touching how both voices lingered around eachother throughout the
song. And kept on with You're Missing which was even more beautiful. A
little tear was not far away in that moment.
Then, boom!

brucepattistevesinging.jpg

Waitin' On A Sunny Day kicked in. Obviously a massive song live as it is a
massive song on record but live, you get high for sure. But it wasn't as
crowd pleasing as I thought. Yes, all loved it, but it wasn't the singalong
I expected. Probably cos alot of people were emotioned still from the two
ballads. I think so. But it slowly fell off and went into the party it is.
And from this moment it was just increasing. I have honestly never seen such
a crowd. Oasis at Wembley was actually just half of how it was that night.
Which I think for at least Baz, tells you something.. :)
Then the big suprise. Working On The Highway! This hillbilly silly song that
I had not a single thought of that he would play, he did. And it is such a
fun song to sing to. I have always loved it on the record and from live
versions I have heard from the 80's. But he did it there and then. In
Gothenburg in 2003. And it was great! And all the bandmembers took different
instruments and started playing. Like the accordion and that..washing board
thing. It was just so much fun to see. Cos you could really tell they were
having fun. And to see such a fantastic band playing such fantastic music
and having so fantastically much fun, then you can only surrender to the
music and the band. :)
No Surrender was next and another suprise to me and as much as a suprise
Working On The Highway was, as much did No Surrender rock the stadium. And
so massive to hear the lines of:
'We busted out of class had to get away from those fools. We learned more
from a three minute record than we ever learned in school. Tonight I hear
the neighborhood drummer sound, I can feel my heart begin to pound. You say
you're tired and you just want to close your eyes and follow your dreams
down.'
Things got slowed down again with World's Apart, which seems not many people
fancy that much. But I have always loved it and it was very beautiful on
Saturday night too. Different, but beautiful. It transcended into the
biggest singalong in the night so far. Badlands. To see over 110000 arms in
the air waving side to side in PERFECT harmony is impressive to say the
least. I got my second massive shiver in that song ;) And even though the
song is from 1975 it sounded so vital. I could say this about most of the
songs really. The key word to the concert is vital. When I first got the
feeling that maybe, maybe I will see Bruce I noticed that alot of people
really see it as a nostaliga thing. That there are just 40, 50 something
persons going and so on. But it is so far from the truth. Nostaliga is
Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. Not Bruce Springsteen. Simple as that.
Dadrock is so far away from Springsteen that you can come. I am sad so many
people don't think so. In that crowd though, we were 14 year olds to 60 year
olds.
And I think from that moment on, somewhere in the middle of Badlands the
ghost of Rock took over Bruce and the band. And the crowd for sure. The
party and the singing and excitment just built from there. Built, built and
built.
Out In The Street was a lovely singalong song and then came the over 20
minute long Mary's Place. Which no words can tell how it is, you just have
to be there to experience. Also the band presentation was fantastic.
Things got slowed down with the River and Into the Fire and Thunder Road
after that. Now I did say the party was just building and building and even
though the three songs are slow the party went on anyway. It was 57000
people singing with the band still. It was a party that had to rest for a
while. ;) Especially the River was so beautiful. And again so vital. That
two seconds of the start with his harmonica, when you heard it coming out
across the stadium my third massive shiver came running alongside it ;)
Thunder Road I have never really gotten into that much even though I notice
most list it as their favourite. But on Saturday it was amazing and very
touching. And that last line in that song, well you just can't do anyhting
but surrender to it. 'It's a town full of losers. And I'm pulling out of
here to win.'
Has a sentence in a song ever sounded so meaningful and perfect?
Into The Fire is probably the song that was the 'worst' in the concert. It
seemed to slightly drag on, but personally, again, I really enjoy it on the
record. I think what made it drag a bit was that the party was so powerful
that it felt a bit out of place, especially since you could really tell that
some in the crowd really didn't care about the song. I would much have
prefered Nothing Man or Paradise though. That would have been much better.
But this is just looking for a needle in a heighstack as it goes. Don't let
this little thing get the impression that it was something even slightly
boring with this concert. Cos it sure wasn't.
After Thunder Road they went off for like a minute or two. Like all bands
and artists do ;)
And then they kicked into Bobby Jean and it again built up the mood of the
crowd and the band. Now you could really start to feel the stadium moving.
And it really moved when Ramrod was the next song. A 15 minute rock and roll
confetti of sounds. And that piano solo at the end was fantastic! After this
you really are looking at the stage thinking to yourself that they can't
really make this stadium rock any harder than it is doing. But of course you
are wrong and you notice it straight away when Born To Run starts with it's
famous intro. If I during one point was scared that night, it was right
then. Cos the stadium was moving and as written above, we all know what
happened last time he was there playing ;). But it was a micro second of a
doubt as the party was too massive to think of anything else but singing
along and waving your hands. You could also see that Bruce was slowly but
steadily getting quite touched by the crowd. And he was getting crazier and
crazier too :)
I do feel I have to say some more about Born To Run. When music touches and
'rocks' as much as this song did on that Saturday, it is very hard to find
words to say anything about it though. I think we all have some songs that
did that for us sometimes so you can imagine it I am sure. But at that
moment, 5 minutes or how long it was, it was really out of this world. As I
heard someone say, 'Looking around and see all these 50 year olds screaming
their lungs out alongside Born To Run shouldn't be possible. This is a song
written about how you feel when you are 20 years old. That invincible
feeling. 50 year olds shouldn't be able to. That feeling should be gone. But
nevertheless the whole crowd is standing up with arms up in the air
screaming out 'Baby we were born to run'.'
I think that is what is so special about music. When all click together and
a timeless song is made. And I think that is especially why Springsteen is
so special. He was/is able to write songs that can be with you throghout
your life. From when you were feeling trapped in a little town in the middle
of nowhere, to when you are 50 years old and you have a family and a car and
a dog, you still feel that you can connect to that 'Baby we were born to
run.'
That is surely something very unique.
Seven Nights To Rock was next and just read the name of the song and you
understand what was going on.
Again, after a long, long rocking time the band went off again. And of
course, on again.
And slowed things down with a wonderful My City Of Ruins. Incredibly
touching. That is all I will say.
Land Of Hope And Dreams was next, a song I have never heard until Saturday.
And I will sure hear it again as it was a very good song. So, it was time
for Dancing In The Dark. Before the gig I had checked the setlists for the
European tour and on practically all concerts he had ended with that
specific song. So I thought to myself that it was closing in now then. The
last song.
Anyway, the stadium rocked hard again and all were jumping. On the standing
and on the seats. Fantastic and what a catchy song it is. At the end of the
song something special did happen. He looked at the other bandmembers, said
something to them and then changed guitar. For a second I couldn't really
get what he was doing, I mean, this was the last song. But he changed guitar
and said 'One more!' and laughed. And went on with 'This is for 1985. I
think this is the one that wrecked the stadium.' And Twist And Shout starts!
It was...unbeliveable. And maybe some of you think. 'Oh, that old song, is
that even a real song?' I really know some who have said that before. Well,
it sure is a real song and it sure is a rock song and it sure was as rocking
as anything by Prodigy that night. Unbeliveable. That's it. :) 20 minutes
and it started and it stopped and it started and it stopped and all were
crazy. The band, Bruce, the crowd and me. ;)
I have honestly never experienced anything quite like it. When I have read
reviews throughout the years about how special some concerts can be with
Bruce Springsteen I could only imagine what it could be like. When Twist And
Shout was over I realised I had never even been close to imagine it right.
:) That feeling, mood and atmosphere and is something I hope everyone will
once experience for sure.
And it was the perfect ending of a fantastic three hour concert. I will
surely never forget it.
As said before, it's not even close to Dadrock. This is as vital as any band
consisting of 20 year olds could produce. It's probably even more vital. And
for sure a hell of a lot tighter and bigger.
And to know that the day after he actually rocked even harder and that he
played Atlantic City (Oh the fate....) and the Detroit Medley and Hungry
Heart..and Twist And Shout twice! Then you know he is for sure a milestone
in music history. Still going strong. So see him when he comes next time. :)

by Mikael Kustmark

1. The Rising
2. Lonesome Day
3. The Ties that bind
4. My love will not let you down
5. Darkness on the edge of town
6. Empty sky
7. You're missing
8. Waitin' on a sunny day
9. Working on the highway
10. No surrender
11. World's apart
12. Badlands
13. Out in the street
14. Mary's place
15. The River
16. Into the fire
17. Thunder Road


18. Bobby Jean
19. Ramrod
20. Born to run
21. Seven nights to rock


22. My city of ruins
23. Land of hope and dreams
24. Dancing in the dark
25. Twist and shout

Pictures scanned from Mikael Kustmark, property of the photographer of
Scandinavian leading newspaper.
Amatorial Use, all rights reserved.

all in these pages is under copyright of the writers.
All opinions are personal, and speech of freedom protect us.
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Just think about it.