30 March 2013 (gig)
02 April 2013
Bruce Springsteen demonstrated just why he's known as the “Boss” by commanding the audience’s attention for almost three hours at Hanging Rock.
The concert was held at the Hanging Rock Reserve, which is 75 kilometres out of Melbourne. Although Springsteen hit the stage at 7.00pm, concert goers started arriving at the venue from 12.30pm, many setting up chairs and picnic blankets in the car park, and lining up their beers. The atmosphere was akin to that of a festival. Considering the copious amounts of alcohol that were consumed throughout the day, the crowd were well-behaved.
Opening for the Boss were the Rubens followed by Jimmy Barnes, whom later in the evening joined Springsteen on stage to perform “Tougher Than The Rest”.
“Badlands” opened the “Wrecking Ball” tour to an ecstatic crowd. Almost every arm at the reserve was up in the air as they sang along to the chorus. As Springsteen performed “Glory Days” and “The Rising”, The Rock, standing at 105 metres, made for a memorable backdrop.
Springsteen, 63, has incredible stage presence and energy. So much so that he crowd surfed as he sang “Hungry Heart” without missing a beat. Springsteen constantly ventured into the crowd, interacting with his adoring fans as women grabbed at his legs and butt throughout the night. Watching Springsteen on stage took me back to my teenage years when I saw his iconic “Born in the USA” album cover in “Seventeen” magazine for the very first time. Springsteen, today, still looks as amazing in tight jeans as he did in 1984 and his sweet smile was contagious.
As the evening wore on, The Boss periodically selected several of the many signs that were held up by fans and took them onto the stage, including one which read “Johnny 99”. Not to disappoint the fans, Springsteen obligingly performed the song alongside The E Street band, whom have essentially been performing together for four decades.
Seeing Springsteen play the harmonica to the beautiful ballad “The River” was a tender moment and one I had been waiting years to see. The haunting lyrics always evoke incredible emotions and this night was no exception. Songs that sent the crowd into a frenzy were “Born to Run” and “Dancing in the Dark”, where Springsteen brought women onto the stage to jive with him.
The final song was a heart-warming tribute to Springsteen’s late saxophone player Clarence Clemons, who was affectionately known as the Big Man. As the music played, Springsteen paused for a moment as old video footage of Clemons and The Boss rolled in the background.
The only thing I would have altered was part of the set list as notable favorites such as “Born in the USA” and “Streets of Philadelphia” were surprisingly missing. However, Springsteen and The E Street Band more than made up for it with a stellar performance by all.