On leaving Wembley Stadium on Sunday night I was struck by this irony – you can clearly see The Fountain Studios on the way down the escalators of Club Wembley – home to BGT and that graveyard of British Pop, The X Factor.
Many of the acts who win these shows are forgotten in less time than the 3 HR 20 min set delivered relentlessly by The Boss and the incredibly brilliant E Street Band.
Bruce Springsteen, in his mid 60’s as are many of the band, displayed more energy than acts I’ve seen 40 years his junior – there were no gaps in the 33 song list – no gaps at all.
At around 6.20 he simply walked on stage alone – no fanfare – no self-indulgent “intro” as favoured by the likes of Muse – and sat at the piano to sing Does This Bus Stop On 82nd Street? This was followed by The E Street band joining him on stage and the party really started.
Springsteen has a formula – it works – he turns a potential soulless Stadium show into an intimate gig – he connects with his audience – he’s up and down and round the “catwalk” stages away from the main stage – he doesn’t stand still – he managed to get a young girl up on stage, she was about 12, she sang, and a man dressed as Courtney Cox with a ginger beard.
His fan base is the most mixed aged I’ve seen at any gig – 1000’s of teens and 20 somethings mixing with middle-aged folk like me.
The sold out stadium responded to the on stage relentless energy right up to the very steep seats on level 5 the joint was jumping – literally.
The songs kept coming and coming – Johnny 99, Wrecking Ball, Hungry Heart and an outstanding American Skin (41 Shots) – The E Street band displaying supreme musicianship and doing it for the love of doing it.
Born to Run and Dancing in the Dark had the Stadium in hysteria by the encores and you were left thinking this is one very, very big party – there was even a rendition of Shout, made famous by Lulu.
The Boss finished as he started – on his own on stage and when he left it he and his incredible band had given the “new” Wembley a show which will define it – much the same as Freddie Mercury did in 1986 with Queen.
Bruce Springsteen – The River Tour – Wembley Stadium London review, 5th of June, 2016
Image credit https://twitter.com/alexvtunzelmann