Bruce Springsteen - Principality Stadium, Cardiff 5/5/24


So 35 years, 10 months and 17 days since I last saw Springsteen in concert and I'm in enemy territory, waiting for the man. Enemy territory because I'm in the England Rugby First XV club and tonight I'm high up in The Gods at the magnificent stadium of the Welsh Rugby team. 

Firstly some admin - what's with the lack of food at this place ? It's a 6.45 kick off (he was late tho), gates open at 4, and this is The Boss so he will go on till chucking out time at 10pm.. so there are a number of Hungry Hearts knocking about desperate for food and all was we could find was an overpriced burger, a lousy hotdog and a slice of Pizza.  " Ask about our Gluten Free Options" it said.. so I did, which is how come Sunday Dinner comprised of Strongbow and Pringles.    Anyway..back to the show...

No support,  emails had said start at 6.45 but at 7pm.. on walks the band followed by Bruce, which if you hadn't witnessed him live on stage before would be a shock, because it sounds like he's being booed by tens of thousands..but of course it's "Brooooooooooooce" you hear.

1,2,3,4 and we are off on a journey that lesser bands would falter at after about an hour.   

An hour? The 74 year old Springsteen is barely warmed up after an hour.. he hasn't even spoken to the audience yet, just magnificent song after magnificent song. It is said that he can turn the setlist around in an instant as the band are so damn good. And he appears to do that twice.. Once with Better Days being requested and then later with the truly fantastic, 50 year old song "If I was the Priest" that had never been played on stage before apparently. 

The River, an emotional Last Man Standing, Back Streets, Wrecking Ball, Thunder Road all come and go in an instant and it's finished. Two and a bit hours and you think "yeah you've earned that, go put your feet up Bruce". ..AHH but no.  That familiar snare hit and organ intro to Born In The USA gets the entire stadium on its feet and we are into what seems like a second gig... Born To Run, Bobby Jean, Dancing In The Dark.. these are not slow, "I'm a bit knackered let's cruise to the end" numbers here... Twist and Shout ends the set on an almost spiritual high.. then he's back, to perform "See You In My Dreams" solo acoustic.   Truly staggering - the man is a machine. 

Let's not forget the E-Street Band too, the core of which are all a similar age and never missed a beat. I've been to hundreds of gigs and this is the tightest, most accomplished set of musicians I've ever seen from the key band members, to the backing singers and horn section to Clarence Clemons nephew Jake on sax. Simply amazing.

The full setlist..

1. So Young and in Love 
2. Lonesome Day
3. No Surrender
4. Prove It All Night
5. Darlington County 
6. Ghosts
7. Better Days
8. The Promised Land
9. Spirit in the Night
10. Hungry Heart
11. If Was the Priest
12. My City of Ruins
13. Nightshift
14. The River
15. Last Man Standing
16. Backstreets
17. Because the Night
18. She's the One
19. Wrecking Ball
20. The Rising
21. Badlands
22. Thunder Road
23. Born in the U.S.A. 
24. Born to Run
25. Bobby Jean
26. Dancing in the Dark
27. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out 
28. Twist and Shout
Encore 2:
29. See You in My Dreams

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