Five months late, I've just about pulled myself together enough to write about seeing Bruce in Florence. My third concert of the Wrecking Ball tour, it was always going to be one of my favourites and one that secretly I was most excited about - my love affair with Italy has gone on almost as long as my 'love affair' with Bruce.
Springsteen's fans who want to get into the pit are known for their hard cord nature, and the 5am arrival at the stadium after a restless night in a camp site had me feeling pretty rough. If there's one thing I've learnt about Springsteen's Italian fans, it's that they are super 'die hard' (in fact, Bruce even told them this at the end of the gig). At 5am there were 800 people in the queue before us - they really do LOVE The Boss.
13 hours is a long time to spend surrounded by people whose language you don't understand, so I passed my time spotting Bruce lookalikes - the Italian men aren't content with seeing Bruce, they have to look like him too. I counted 20 guys of all ages with the tiny Bruce beard and checky shirt, and about 200 (I lost count) dressed in the sleeveless denim jacket and bandanna 'Born In The USA' outfit (although I am guilty of one of these sleeveless jackets too. They are COOL!) At least I had some time to make some sign requests, this time I wanted to hear The River (as seen in my avatar and blog shot). Well, that's the first song I decided on before my pen ran out.
We waited from 5am to 8pm for Bruce and when we got lined up in the barriers at 10 am it got pretty cramped, hot and uncomfortable. Added to this was the fact that I could not drink any water (apologies for the over share but I hadn't arrived at 5am to then loose my spot half way through the concert for a loo break) and I also couldn't eat (eating makes your thirsty duh!)
Finally 3pm arrived and we were let into the stadium for more hours of waiting - we sat huddled in front of the stage just...waiting.... My hips seized up, my head throbbed, my mouth was dry, my bum was numb. It's funny how you can feel so awful, but when that piano started tinkling at 8.15pm and Bruce walked out onto the stage to greet the crowd and launch into Badlands, nothing mattered.
And so the hours flew by, as they always do, and I listened in awe to one of the best set lists I've seen (yes I realise I always say that). Backstreets (I've carried a Backstreets sign around for years), a Burning Love tour debut, The River (ah so special) and Working On The Highway...I was in my element.
When the first few notes of Spirit In The Night were played the crowd started to shake because everyone in the pit knows what this means, Bruce is going to get into the crowd. Or hold their hand at least...
And how can I forget the rain. THE RAIN - because I have never ever experienced rain like it. It started and it did not stop, and we got wetter and wetter and louder and louder and of course, Bruce was loving it, on his knees right in front of us.
If I concert can be 'special' this one really was. To be in one of my favourite cities in the world, surrounded by fans of such intensity and energy, in torrential rain, it all added to the incredible feel on the night. When Twist and Shout was played the atmosphere was electric, and I looked round to a sea of multi-coloured ponchos and umbrellas, partying in the rain.
With four hours up I said goodbye, until the next time, and took in the scene around me. Thousands of people, soaked to the bone, but with the biggest smiles I have ever seen. I couldn't have asked for anything more than that.
Check out amazing shots of the evening here.