Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Beginner's Guide to 'Doing' Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live

With the Australian leg of the Wrecking Ball tour over, it's a matter of days before Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band arrive in Europe for the next set of dates. I've been waiting for this since I saw the band get rudely cut off mid-song in London last year. I'm counting down the hours and beside myself with excitement. It's all very distracting for me.

Some people seem a little bemused when I express my love for Bruce and the band, but I know that there are people out there who've been intrigued enough to do a quick You Tube search, or even better - buy a ticket. With this in mind I decided to put together a short guide for those people who will be seeing Bruce and the band in concert for the first time this year. After years of practice, I've just about got this process mastered, and I am here to share the wisdom.

Step One: Start Saving
I hope that even if you're a beginner to Bruce you'll have at least one ticket to see the band this year...if you haven't - get it sorted! Now I'm not usually an overly reckless person, but when it comes to the E Street Band I do tend to lose all sense of rationality.  As a newcomer to Bruce, you should be prepared that this could well happen to you too. Bruce and the band have some sort of external control over my bank balance and each time a new concert date is released I seem to go into a frenzy of ticket purchasing. Friends and family look on bewildered. So far this year I've ended up with tickets to five concerts and I know after my last date (Leeds in July) I'll go into panic and scour Twitter, Gumtree, forums to find more tickets to more shows (Rio in Brazil I hope). Like a tube of Pringles, once you've seen Bruce Springsteen perform live, you'll never be able to stop. My advice: start saving.

Ticket frenzy

Step Two: Get Tech Savvy
Buying tickets to a Bruce concert is a stressful experience and if you're similar to me and freeze at the words 'computer', 'URL' and 'download' you have much to learn, and quickly. Website crashes, 'error on the pagina' (when buying a ticket for a concert abroad), and a load of obsessive Bruce fans in the same position makes guaranteeing yourself tickets hard work. You need to be able to navigate these websites seamlessly, from laptop, iPhone, iPad, whatever you can access... Get tech savvy, and increase your chances of securing tickets by using multiple 'platforms' (eh?!)

I'm ready

Step Three: Make A Sign (A Small One)
Hurrah you've successfully purchased a ticket and have a concert or five to look forward to. But what is the one song you are longing to hear live? With over 15 albums of material, everyone has their favourite, from the niche mellow tunes to the toe tapping classics. You want Bruce to play your song right? Well make a sign. But PLEASE, be considerate! I didn't queue for hours for you to hold up a massive sign right in front of me, blocking my view of Bruce when he comes near. Making a sign that is too large is only going to result in bad Bruce vibes. Make it small, foldaway and waterproof, but visible for opportune moments.

In hindsight this sign is too big. But I really wanted to hear Backstreets.

This sign is a better size

Step Four: Rope In Some Friends And Start Queuing

If you want to be near the front at a Bruce concert you need to make the commitment to start early. The Italian fans are the most hard core I've experienced, even turning up bleary eyed at 5.30am in Florence I was 1000th in the queue to get in place for a concert that started more than 14 hours later. With hours of waiting, you'll definitely meet fellow Bruce Buds in the line but sometimes people just aren't feeling that jolly...yes I'm referring to Manchester 2012. Cold, wet windy, pouring rain. You never know when you'll be faced with conditions like this, so rope in some friends for company, dress like a granny on a stormy day, and commit to the fact that you will be buying the drinks afterwards.

Good friends

Biddies (see British definition not American)

Step Five: Stop Queuing And Lose Your Inhibitions
It's 3pm and you've been let into the ground but there's still some time to go. Your limbs will be aching and your mouth dry: don't drink, you'll loose your spot. On the plus side, you may get treated to a very rare acoustic session from Bruce before the show. Either that or you might be at a date where you'll see some other musical talents before hand, like the crowd pleasing and very charismatic Tom Morello, or the snore inducing Lady Antebellum (both at Hard Rock Calling 2012). If there isn't this option, wait it out and make conversation with your new pals until 'E Street O'Clock' when the band stride out. But how will they open?? A stripped back version of Thunder Road? A fist pumping, foot stomping Badlands? There'll be tears, there'll be laughter....ensure you have your dance moves mastered 80s Bruce style. Stamp your feet, whoop for joy, lose your inhibitions and enjoy the best four hours of live music you'll ever see.

Close up

Step Six: Suffer The Bruce Blues
Every high has a low and after hours of hanging on every note, the band play their final song and wave goodbye until the next time. You might accept that you've had a good run and leave it at that, or like a woman possessed (me) you'll do anything you can to buy another ticket to another date. But it all needs to end somewhere and the inevitable Bruce Blues will hit you, the panic of the unknown - will you see the band together again? Just don't let those Brucey Blues get you down! Revel in the memories and share your experiences - there's always another Bruce Bud out there who will listen (I know I will).

See ya

Step Seven: Wait...Wait...Wait....Do It All Again
It may seem like hard work, but once you've gone through this process you'll realise there's no going back...There will be another tour, you just have to wait for it. Listen to the music. Listen to new versions, listen to old, listen to every single version of your favourite song. Eat lots of burgers while you wait....


...and get ready to do it all again.



Welcome to the E Street Nation!!



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