I came to Bruce Springsteen via my mum's Born in the USA album, then worked backwards collecting everything else he had done, preferring the stripped back, small town tales of thwarted dreams. My vinyl collection, including my Pink Cadillac picture disc, is gathering dust in the garage.
His UK dates unfortunately didn't include any Scottish venues, so on a Thursday morning we trekked down to Sunderland to see them play. All week the forecasters predicted torrential rain and on the road down it duly arrived, making us cancel plans to have a wee wander on Hadrian's Wall on the way there. We sat in The Town Wall pub in Newcastle watching the water cascade down the streets and onto the heads of a few miserable looking Japanese tourists. The middle aged men with stars and stripes bandannas on were already milling about the station as we headed off to Sunderland. Bizarrely I ended up standing alongside David Milliband at the Metro station platform, who is the MP for South Shields and seemed less awkward in the flesh than he does on TV, just a big drip really.
|The River. Fog on the Wear|
By the time we walked over the Wear the rain had changed to drizzle and fog, and it never got beyond that so we avoided the promised downpour. Anyway I can tick The Stadium of Light now off my list of football grounds to visit. I like that, as next time I see them on TV I can understand the context within the town around the ground and the scale of it. Still on my 'to see' list of footie teams though.
|"It's rainin' but there ain't a cloud in the sky. Must of been a tear from your eye"|
They played for over 3 hours and it flew past, the band were tight and impressive, he lead from the front throughout, no long instrumentals to go off for a lie down like Gary Glitter did when I saw him (that was a good few years ago, before that thing he did). He played all the big numbers with gusto, a crowd-pleasing performance. I would have preferred seeing him in Glasgow. Not only would getting home have been easier than the 90 minute wait at the Metro station and the 3 hour drive next day, but the crowd always seem more engaged and knowledgeable in my parochial opinion. There was raucous crowd singing round about us, but mainly with Scottish accents. Also I'd love to see Brucie ease off on the subtlety and give the people the characters in his songs are crushed by, both barrels when he's talking, as when he does it gets attention. First and foremost though he's a helluva songwriter, musician and performer. Special mention must go to Jake Clemons on saxophone. He has particularly big shoes to fill, but as the nephew of Clarence Clemons I am sure that he is aware of that more than anyone. The on screen and musical tributes to "the Big Man" were nice, but sadly completely over the heads of some of those I was standing near. So next time Brucie - play Glasgow.
The morning afterwards we headed home, successfully dodging the Olympic torch route. Newcastle I'm guessing is hosting some Olympic football as they, like Glasgow, have been blessed with a set of rings, which I spotted next morning when I was out for a wee run trying out some of the Great North Run route, which will be the reason for my next trip to Newcastle.My next dose of Springsteen will be at the Edinburgh Festival, as now that I'm home I've just ordered a ticket for self-confessed Brucie groupie Sarfraz Manzoor's show 'The Boss Rules'.
Good luck to those in Manchester if the rain we drove through on the way home is on its way to you tonight. We arrived home to a Glasgow thunderstorm in which lightening hit a tree outside our son's school and we had water "racing in the streets" so maybe Glasgow doesn't make the perfect venue after all.