Review: 2013 Wrecking Ball Tour: Bruce Springsteen Coventry, 20th June 2013

Fans become familiar with Bruce Springsteen‘s music in many different ways, but I have my dad to thank for introducing me to Bruce.
Before I came along, my dad was one of the lucky ones at Hammersmith in the 70s. At Wembley in 1981, when he was supposed to be taking it easy in a wheel chair due to a broken leg, instead he was dancing on a chair, waving his crutches in the air. It’s fair to say that with an avid fan like my dad, there was no way I wouldn’t catch the Springsteen bug.
Springsteen was always our driving music. Long journeys to the North East where my dad is from, Bruce was the soundtrack, Born To Run on repeat. So it seemed appropriate on Thursday to be driving to Coventry, to see our first concert Springsteen together. Back then the album could make me sing or sleep in the car, now it makes me whoop, jump, sing, dance, and when seen live, there’s a tear or two. 
Gone are the days of being squashed against the barrier in the pit, my dad now prefers a seat at the side where he can watch the whole band perform together. It was a good opportunity for me to see Springsteen with more ‘rational’ behaviour, as queuing in the rain for the pit seems to have become my norm (Wembley 2013, Florence 2012, etc etc…)
We took our seats and waited for the stadium to fill. We were a little excited.
The burgers at Ricoh Arena Coventry looked a little unappealing, so instead I went for a pie. 
After a couple of hours of waiting, it was Boss Time. When Bruce strode out with his acoustic guitar and harmonica there was a moment of shock when he started playing. I don’t think I could have asked for anything more to open than an acoustic The Ghost of Tom Joad – I’ve never seen it performed this way and it’s a moment I won’t ever forget. The band joined the stage and Long Walk Home got the standing crowd going (although the seated fans around me were more restrained) followed by My Love Will Not Let You Down, Two Hearts (not by favourite song but much better live) and Seeds. 
Trapped was a highlight for me in the early stages of the concert, and I felt lucky to see the debut of Long Time Coming. I’ll always love Wrecking Ball and Death To My Hometown, the songs which encouraged the crowd sitting around me to stand. Bruce had some great interaction with the pit fans during Hungry Heart, granting one guy a man hug after a sign request.
The River was next. It always has been and always will be one of my favourite songs – and it was a spine tingling performance on the night, a request from a nine year old boy with exceptional music taste.
Next the announcement of the full Born To Run album, dedicated to the late James Gandolfini. As the album that got me into Springsteen I felt so happy to have the opportunity to hear it live from start to finish. Some fans complain about hearing full albums in the middle of shows. Whilst I love not knowing what’s coming next with Springsteen, every album means something to someone, and this one means a lot to me, introducing me to Bruce all those years ago. Backstreets is the sign request I carried around from concert to concert in 2009, and Jungleland is a song I’ve never seen live. Whilst I never saw Clarence Clemons play it, I know that Jake Clemons would have made his uncle especially proud that night. 
Next we had Pay Me My Money Down, and I did my second hip in after the first at Wembley a few nights before. Shackled and Drawn for me will never get old, I love seeing the band come together for a dance. Waiting On A Sunny Day had the stadium singing (you just can’t help it can you) before Bruce reminded us “it’s alright” during Lonesome Day. I was relieved the setlist didn’t miss Badlands, played as song 24. As much as it works for an opener I love hearing it mid set too. 
As an encore, We Are Alive had us jigging in the stands before Born In The USA belted out, and a fond favourite of mine, Bobby Jean. A lucky lady was heaved out of the crowd for dance with Bruce during Dancing In The Dark, before Bruce told us Raise Your Hands.
American Land  ended the set with the band lined up across the front of the stage before walking down to the pit crowd. It couldn’t have been a better finishing song for us.
As we drove back to London that night, I thought to myself how despite the years, not much has changed. A few inches in height, some wrinkles, a centimetre or several around the waist. We always have been, and always will be, massive Bruce Springsteen fans. 
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in:

This post was written by Hannah BurgersAndBruce

  • I'm probably the same age as your Dad, give or take a couple of years. I first heard Clarence do that solo in the mid 70's; have yet to hear Jake do it {they weren't playing Jungleland early in the tour}.

    I have a decent collection of live concerts {some of which I've shared with you on Dropbox and there's always more just for the asking} and so I'm always listening to something live. But I must say that even now, nearly 40 years later, that solo still makes me sweat.

    Nice blog post. Maybe your best yet πŸ™‚

  • Another great review Hannah . I know what you mean about the playing of full albums removing some of the surprise of not knowing what's coming up, but would love to hear the whole of born in the USA or darkness when I see him. Still counting the days.

  • What a great account of the evening. I too probably have more in common with your dad than you but I danced for three hours at Coventry on the pitch and loved every minute. During the opening chords of Thunder Road I turned and watch the whole of the stands (shpuld that be seats now) singing aloud and I felt tears in my eyes. 40 years down the road and it still causes shivers but I thought it was just me. Jake is excellent but unfortunately, for me, he does not have his uncle's presence but then who can!

    • glad you were in the pit, I did look on feeling a bit jealous but I've had my fair share!

  • Fi

    Great review! I've been to one Bruce show and it was this one. I've been having MASSIVE withdrawal symptoms since – I really didn't expect this. We bought our tickets drunkenly, one Friday night during a music documentary on BBC4 – which Bruce must have been featured in – as a kind of 'we should go, get it ticked off the list' exercise. I didn't know what to expect and I was totally bowled over. I had forgotten how much I loved his music, I used to listen to it all the time (I was 16 when BitUSA came out, and I was into the back catalogue pretty quickly). When he did The River, I'd had it (there were tears, and more when he announced Born to Run, all the way through). Well, it definately won't be my last Bruce concert, and I suspect I'll desperately need to be in The Queue next time (but sadly not for this tour…if only I'd known!).

    • It's funny how it can start as a 'tick it off the list' and now look! glad you liked the review and hope there's many more concerts for you in the future!

  • Hi Hannah what a great review. I had tears in my eyes when he played Backstreets. In fact when he played the whole of BTR it took me back to when I borrowed the tape of it off my older brother, I was hooked, I was enraptured by every song. Badlands was so powerful I thought I was having a out of body experience. I thought Jake was immense for the whole concert.The whole night was very special, being as close to a hometown concert as it could be.

    Since I first saw him live in 88 on the first night at Villa Park he hasn't disappointed me once.

    On the subject of burgers, I had a really nice one at The Jug and Jester in Leamington Spa, my hometown.

    By the way your two signs for Backstreets and Talk to Me were very impressive.
    I wish I had taken one to Coventry…..maybe Stolen Car or Pretty Flamingo.

    Wishing you many more happy memories and stellar eats.

    • Thank you James. Backstreets on the night I'll never forget (especially after I lugged that sign around). Brilliant album, brilliant night. happy days.