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Bruce Springsteen has sold 120 million albums and won 20 Grammys.

Yet during his three-hour plus set last night at the Queen Elizabeth Park in east London (the renamed Olympic Park), not once do you ever get the feeling that this is a multimillionaire on stage. What you do get is an honest, rousing rock show by one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greats. 

Last year in the UK, the Boss had a bumpy ride, what with his superstar jam with Sir Paul McCartney suffering the ignominy of having the power turned off before the end due to strict curfews. This year, the organisers behind that Hard Rock Calling event have relocated their weekend of rock gods to the QE Park in Stratford and it’s louder and had a stage time that ran up until 10.50pm. Somewhat surprisingly though, Springsteen was done and dusted by 10.15pm, but even so, this was at the end of a career-spanning show packed with surprises and classics aplenty. 

Of the global stadium rock stars he is undoubtedly one of the biggest, and he knows his game. Sure, the show has its cheesy moments – grabbing a kid out of the crowd and sitting her on his shoulders while she belted out the chorus to Waitin’ On A Sunny Day before yelling ‘Come On E Street Band!” – but it is carried off with such exuberance it’s impossible not to be carried away by it all. He’s been playing some of these songs for 35 years but never once does he seem jaded or disinterested. 

It’s grandstanding and impassioned. The biggest intimate show you’ll see all summer with Springsteen’s biggest strength being his ability to connect with a large audience. 

“We had a special night at Wembley a couple of weeks back,” he said at one point during the set, before explaining they'd played Born To Run in its entirety earlier on the tour [and Darkness On The Edge Of Town at Wembley]. 

“So tonight we’re going to Born In The USA,” he continued before the E Street band played the 1984 record from start to finish, from its opening and misunderstood titular anti-war song ...USA to closing My Hometown, with his 89-year old mum invited out on stage to dance along to Dancing In The Dark

A couple of cuts from his 9/11 reflecting The Rising album follow swiftly out before a truly epic Jungleland and a raucous Born To Run with a solo acoustic My Lucky Day, from 2009’s Working On A Dream, closing the show. It’s an understated ending to an epic show, that illustrates clearly why he is still, and always will be, The Boss. 




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Review: Hard Rock Calling 2013: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, June 30, 2013
Digital Mag

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