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Friday, 27 July 2012

Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball Tour 50 Shows So Far

The show in Bergen, Norway on the 24th July was show number 50 on The Wrecking Ball Tour and there are just three shows left on the European Leg of the Tour: 27-28th Gothenburg, Sweden and the 31st in Helsinki, Finland. After a two week break they will be back in action starting at Boston's Fenway Park on the 14-15th August and then a further 12 dates taking them into September where they finish the tour with a three night stand at the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey on the 19th through to the 22nd.

Not long after the tour began I posted a blog 'What Have We Learnt So Far? and it's interesting to revisit that for a moment to see what progress has been made apart from more miles on the clock and more shows.

My first point had been the attention given to the 'Wrecking Ball' album itself and that has not diminished at all as the tour has progressed, yes some numbers have been dropped here and there but others have been added. At the 49th show Bruce played an Acoustic version of 'This Depression' and the following evening in Bergen it was performed by the band. That night he also chose to premiere 'You've Got It' with the preface that it was a song about physics! For the 50th show 8 songs from the latest album were played.

Secondly I mentioned that Bruce likes to throw in a few surprises, and that has continued throughout the tour:
New Jersey 4th April: 'The Ties That Bind', 'Candy's Room', 'Johnny 99', 'Racing in the Streets' and 'Ramrod' all debut.
MSG NYC 6th April: tour debuts for 'Murder Incorporated', 'Lion's Den' and during the encore a surprise playing of 'Kitty's Back'.
MSG 9th April: 'Spirit in the Night' and 'Backstreets'.
Auburn Hills 12th April: 'Incident on 57th Street'
Buffalo 13th April: 'Rendezvous', 'Mountain of Love' and 'Point Blank'.
Albany 16th April: an acoustic 'Janey Don't You Lose Heart'.
Los Angeles 26th April: 'Something in the Night' and 'California Sun'.
Los Angeles 27th April: A pre-gig acoustic performance of 'For You', and in the set debuts for 'No Surrender' and 'Bobby Jean'.
New Orleans 29th April: revisits 'The Seeger Sessions' and plays 'Something You Got' with Dr John.
Newark 2nd May: Last night of the first USA leg of the Tour has a song that Bruce had last performed in 1973 and the first time he had ever played it with the band - 'Bishop Danced'. Also in the set were 'It's Hard to be a Saint in the City' and a fine rendition of 'The Weight' in tribute to Levon Helm who had passed away.

The European Leg of the Tour would throw up a whole of surprises - world premieres, special guests, solo performances and some mighty long sets!
Seville 13th May: 'I'm Goin' Down'.
Canary Islands 15th May: 'The River' and 'Born in the USA' tour debut.
Barcelona 17th May: 'You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)'. A real suprise was 'Prove It All Night' with it's beautiful 1978 Intro!
Frankfurt 25th May: Longest show of the tour so far at 3hrs 20mins crowned off with a brilliant encore set that included two tour debuts from 'The River' - 'Cadillac Ranch'/'Sherry Darling'.
Cologne 27th May: For the first time since 1977 not a single song from The Darkness era is played!
PinkPop Festival 28th May: '96 Tears' (with Garland Jeffreys).
Berlin 30th May: 'Save My Love' tour and European debut.
San Siro, Milan 7th June: 3hrs and 40mins! The final 32mins of the set are just breathtaking!
Florence 10th June: 'Be True' and 'Burning Love' debut in the pouring rain.
Trieste 11th June: 29 song set includes 'Rosalita' and Elliot Murphy on 'Born to Run'.
Madrid 17th June: The longest show ever at 3hrs and 48mins! Southside Johnny guests on 'Talk to Me' and 'Twist and Shout' and there is a world premiere of 'Spanish Eyes' from 'The Promise' album.
Montpellier 19th June: Tour debut for 'Growin' Up' and 'Fire' (which has three false starts!).
Manchester 22nd June: 'Prove It All Night (with 1978 Intro)'
Paris 4th July: '4th July, Asbury Park (Sandy)' and 'Independence Day (solo piano)'.
Zurich 9th July: 'Don't Look Back' opens the show (first time in 12 years that it has been played live), someone brings a sign for 'Working on a Dream' and a beautiful stripped down to just the piano version of 'If I Should Fall Behind'.
Prague 11th July: First time in Prague for the E Street Band and Bruce kicks off the set with an acoustic rendition of  'The Ghost of Tom Joad'. Also in the set is the tour debut of 'This Hard Land'.
Vienna 12th July: The set is just short of 3hrs 40mins and contains three tour debuts: 'Loose Ends', 'Empty Sky' and a wonderful solo performance on the piano by Bruce of 'Tougher Than The Rest'.
London Hyde Park 14th July: Day starts for Bruce with him joining John Fogerty on stage during his set for a rousing 'Rocking All Over the World'. 'Thunder Road' on just piano opens the show. Tom Morello joins the band for a couple of numbers and John Fogerty returns the favour by guesting on 'The Promised Land' and there's a sign request for 'Take 'em As They Come' (not played since 2003 in Copenhagen). The  whole show ends with the power being shut off but not before Bruce is joined on stage by Sir Paul McCartney for 'I Saw Her Standing There/Twist and Shout'.
Dublin 17th July: After the controversy of being shut down in London Bruce and Steve bring some great humour to the show's opening. And later in the show when they have passed the curfew (again!) the fun and games continued on 'American Land'. 'I Fought the Law', 'I'm A Rocker' and 'My Hometown' are all tour debuts.
Dublin 18th July: Bruce radically changes the set and 16 songs appear that were not played on the first night. An Acoustic 'This Hard Land' opens the show. 'Wrecking Ball' is the ninth song in the set!
Oslo 21st July: 2nd longest show in history - 3hrs and 47mins! Set includes Tour debut of The Promise track 'Ain't Good Enough For You' and 'Streets of Fire'. Almost every show has closed with 'Tenth Avenue Freeze Out' and a few with 'American Land', tonight Bruce throws a spanner in the works and ends it with 'Night'!
Bergen 23rd July: 'This Depression' gets it's first ever outing as Bruce performs it alone on the acoustic guitar. Seven songs from 'Born in the USA' are featured in the set!
Bergen 24th July: 8 songs from 'Wrecking Ball' are played including a full band version of 'This Depression' and another world exclusive peformance with 'You've Got It'. Also there's an outing for 'Red Headed Woman' and 'Proud Mary', 'My Lucky Day' and show opener 'Long Walk Home'.

They still look like they are having lots of fun playing on stage every night, the band is getting tighter. Jake Clemons seems to be growing in confidence with every show.

And of course they are still not forgetting Clarence.

This weekends shows in Gothenberg hopefully will add even more highlights to the live history of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and as I said at the start with only three shows left in Europe I wonder what surprises are in store?
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