Not long ago I wrote a Beginner’s Guide To ‘Doing’ Bruce Springsteen live
. I warned that when the concerts ended, I might face an urgent need to buy more tickets and try to prevent the Bruce Blues for as long as possible. It’s really hard to control myself when that feeling starts creeping up on me. In Belfast
, I started getting restless that I only had one more date left, which was Leeds
. I then decided that there was no choice but to head to Kilkenny to see the European finale of the Wrecking Ball tour
I managed to get tickets, and with the help of Bruce Bud @BossAddict
I got sorted with accommodation in Kilkenny too. So I spent a small fortune on my flights (in fact it probably would have been more economical to fly to Rio) and I headed back to Ireland. It’s a strange thing to be excited about something but anxious at the same time, knowing how you’ll feel afterwards.
Before the ‘Kilkenny Weekender’ I’d seen six Springsteen shows this year, which is actually a pretty poor effort compared to a lot of fans. I’ve spent time writing about the concerts, talking about songs that have made me happy and sad, moments from each song that have stuck in my mind. But in the midst of the Bruce Blues, it’s a struggle to do this post in detail for the Kilkenny concerts. Call me dramatic, but it actually makes my heart ache. My throat feels scratchy. My chest feels tight. I can’t breathe.
Two weeks later, I’ve just about mustered up the strength to talk about it a little bit though.
|Dave, Brendan, Cathan and Al – pals of @BossAddict on tour in Kilkenny
So the weekend in Kilkenny was a party with 60,000 Springsteen loving friends. Bruce, the life and soul of the party, ‘the hostess with the mostess’, had us entertained all weekend. Together with some Bruce Buds I’ve met along the way, we chilled at the back of the pit, middle and centre, where you can go to town with your pointing and jumping whilst enjoying perfect sound and an uninterrupted view.
On night one we were treated to a full Born In The USA. And you know what? It was a treat. I’ve heard people huff and puff about hearing this album live, but for a lot of people it’s the guilty pleasure. Like a fast food burger, you know there’s better burgers with higher quality ingredients out there, but it doesn’t make you enjoy it any less. It hits the spot. It still tastes good. So Bruce indulged us with the full Born In The USA album and we danced and threw our arms up, and threw them down, and I saw some strange moves but all in all it suited the atmosphere on the night perfectly.
‘Drive All Night’ with Glen Hasard
was a particularly special moment for me later in the set, a beautiful rendition and quite overwhelming to see Glen getting the chance to perform which one of his musical idols. ‘This Little Light Of Mine’ started and ended the party, before a night cap of ‘Thunder Road’.
The next day, the Sunday, I spent the day feeling a quite melancholy. Even a burger didn’t cheer me up. This was to be my last show of the year and honestly, I was dreading it. But I put on a brave face and I headed back to our central pit meeting point.
Picking up from the night before, within seconds of ‘This Little Light Of Mine’ I was happy again, transported to a joyful place where I was celebrating a successful tour with Bruce and the band and thousands of other fans.
With Bruce acknowledging he had “debts to pay” we got to hear ‘Wild Billy’s Circus Story’ – a sign Bruce remarked he had seen at several dates (he reeled off all of the shows the fan had been to) and admitted that a few times he’d given the fan false hope by taking the sign and then deciding not to play it. So the patient fan had made his sign again, the exact same sign every show, and this time Bruce played it. The camera focused on the couple who had waited so long to hear their song and I can imagine how they must have felt having it played for them after all this time. How much that song meant to them. How happy we were for them too.
The night continued as a celebration, and although I wasn’t expecting an album show again, hearing ‘Born To Run’ in full, the album that introduced me to Springsteen’s music, was the perfect way for me to end my own little tour. From ‘Born To Run’ to ‘Backstreets’ to ‘Jungleland’, I couldn’t fault a single thing and I knew everyone around me felt the same. Everyone was smiling and so thrilled to be part of this euphoric atmosphere – a bubble of happy people in the world, sharing adoration for a band that will always tie us together.
Towards the end of the set it started to dawn on me again that this was the end of the road. Leaving the stage, Bruce made a very special thank you to the fans, which will apply to us all in one way or another. He thanked the…
When Bruce tells us “we’ll be seeing you” I don’t know when that will be. But I do know this – Springsteen Season could not have been any better, so I must not feel sad. During the two years of the Wrecking Ball tour I have made new friends, seen incredible places, eaten fantastic food and most of all been thankful of everyone’s positivity, help and encouragement.
There’s been moments that I will never forget, spent with people I’ll still be talking about in years to come. When I’m sat in an arm chair, burger in lap, boring my grandchildren about “that summer of 2013 I spent watching Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band” I’ll have some happy times to recall. I will not let our Bruce loving bubble burst!