Springsteen Keeps The Wrecking Ball Rolling In Cork

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So, how do you top playing one of your biggest albums live start to finish two days before yet another landmark gig in your forty year career? Well if you’re Bruce Springsteen, you only play three tracks from said album yet still churn out one of the finest live shows of 2013.
Thomond was incredible, new venue, new energy, same old blistering display from a man who just adores his fans and what he does. The Train Of Losers, Winners, Whores and Gamblers then rolled in to Cork to do it all over again at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. In Limerick we got the Born To Run album in full and speculation was rife that we would get another whole album last night. Instead, we got more tracks from The River than I’ve heard before and a hodge podge through the back catalogue. Kicking off with This Little Light Of Mine once more, it was then well over half an hour before we heard a single song played at Thomond. This is why lunatics such as myself will flock to any and every gig this man plays.

Set highlights included a welcome “Sherry Darling”, “Price You Pay” for a fan who’d been carrying his sign “an awful long time”, an impromptu cover of The Troggs’ “Wild Thing” that Bruce seemed to absolutely relish in and a chilling solo rendition at the piano of “Real World” from the “Human Touch” album which he had tried out earlier in the day in his pre-set. Of course picking highlights from a Springsteen gig is a redundant exercise but the selection here should just go to show how much variety is on offer at these shows, the “Born In The USA” and “Born To Run” albums mostly omitted from proceedings.

It was the encore brought the true moment of the night however. Three women front an centre had been hauling a sign since Limerick reading “My Whole Family Wants To Dance With You”. Bruce obliged. Bringing all three women onstage he dished out guitars and provided himself with three compatriots for the “Hey baby!” outro and it was just a special, special moment. Same too for the mother in attendance with her daughter on her fiftieth birthday and got a dance with Bruce for her troubles, and the mad Welsh girl brought up to dance with Jake, who obliged whilst still playing the sax one handed! These were all great, one of The Boss finales of all time. But it wasn’t done yet.

I had been poking fun at my regular gig buddy Peter over him missing Thunder Road at the one gig he didn’t attend in 09. Thomond rectified that however and I was put in my place. But Cork just went one further. Band gone, crowds flocking, Bruce wasn’t done. Acoustic guitar back in hand, harmonica strapped on. Something special was coming. And there, a solitary dot on his sprawling stage, Springsteen serenaded us for the journey home with Thunder Road once more, this time in all its stripped down acoustic glory. Each and every person in the crowd was no longer part of the gathered masses, each and every one of us were getting our own personal performance of a truly great piece of music from a king of the art. Not that much unlike Mumford and Sons four days previous, the magic in the air that comes from a musician that can turn a stadium venue into as good as a sitting room is just too far above and beyond words.

Unfortunately I won’t be joining the Train for its trip to Belfast and Kilkenny, even I have a financial limits for The Boss, but you know what, I can live with it. I can hardly think of a better note to part on, until next time of course.

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