Bruce Springsteen live at Hard Rock Calling
- By Greg Rose -
- Jul 17, 2012
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played a three hour 15 minute set, joined onstage by Tom Morello, John Fogerty and Paul McCartney, and the punters all left angry? No.
The furore over the admittedly stupid decision to shut down The Boss while he was jamming out Beatles classics with Macca has been ridiculously overblown. A quick glace at bruce's recent setlists shows he has been closing on 'Twist and Shout' for weeks, and was intending to here. Yes, it would have been nice to hear one more song, but the 29 songs Springsteen did perform were pretty special.
Most of the crowd left jubilant at a set that included more crowd-pleasers than Bruce usually fits into his gigs, and more surprises too. The first of the day came hours earlier, when he joined Creedence Clearwater Revival legend John Fogerty onstage to perform classic rock cornerstone...'Rockin' All Over The World'. Two of the finest US songwriters ever, and they choose to play a song written by Fogerty but obliterated into parody by a million Status Quo performances. It was downright weird.
Fogerty more than made up for it with his hit heavy set though, with the sun even making an appearance for his weather-trilogy of 'Who'll Stop The Rain', 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain' and 'Bad Moon Rising'. His guitar playing was immaculate, but he somewhat growled his way through standards like 'Fortunate Son' and 'Proud Mary'. Nevertheless, his band kept up admirably and 'Lodi' was worth the early entrance alone.
Soon it was Boss Time, set up touchingly with a piano-led stripped-back roll through 'Thunder Road'. Bruce's aptitude for subtlety is often overlooked, but this was spine-tingling. Later 'The River' and 'The Ghost of Tom Joad' were equally striking. The only problem was the much-maligned low decibel levels, especially for those at the back of Hyde Park.
As for the bombast? There was no short supply, from the extended brass section to unique interactions, including playing a crowd-sourced rarity and inviting a youngster onstage to bawl 'Waiting On A Sunny Day' as the clouds rolled past.
Tom Morello, who plays on Springsteen's latest 'Wrecking Ball' album, was a regular to the stage, adding his distinctive sound to the solid set up. There's a freshness to the set with the new material, despite its mixed quality. With such an immense back catalogue though, there's always a monster track around the corner.
This was especially true on the home straight, as 'Born In The USA', 'Born To Run', 'Glory Days' and 'Dancing In The Dark' were reeled off. So ingrained have these songs become, it is easy to forget how fun they are to hear in the flesh. There was still time for Macca's cameo, when everyone had almost as much fun as the guys onstage. If all gigs were this disastrous, the live music industry would be in fine fettle.
Read our review of Hard Rock Calling day one with Soundgarden