Springsteen Concert Reviews from the 1999 Tour

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Dublin, May 25, 1999
Set List Available
Posted on May 30, 1999 @ 2:00PM GMT


Just got back from Dublin.

Got to the RDS at around 4.20 and was about 200th in the queue. They let us in the stadium hour later but we werent allowed thru the gates onto the arena as the soundcheck had just started. As I have been to the RDS a few times before for concerts, myself and a couple of pals decided to go to an entrance that would be nearer the stage and would give us a chance to get down the front when the time came for us to be permitted onto the pitch. Unbelievably, we found an entrance that was unmanned and we just wandered onto the side of the pitch. Couldnt believe my luck as I turned round and with the band onstage belting through Prove It All Night I realised that apart from about 50 or so crew and security we more or less had the entire place to ourselves!!!. I didnt want to look too obtrusive but my excitement got the better of me and after dancing through the song, we burst into rapturous applause as it ended. Bruce looked over our way, waved and with that nervous laugh quipped "just doing my job!!" Of course, as I then decided that was enough of a cue to shout something like "give us another one, Bruce!" a couple of security guys came over and told that as it was a closed soundcheck we shouldnt be there so we had to leave the arena. Still, we were able to sneak back and standing discreetly behind a couple of pillars were able to watch the rest of the soundcheck on the video screen.

A couple of songs later, Bruce noticed that there was a construction site a few hundred yards away and the workmen had stopped what they were doing to watch or listen to the soundcheck. After playfully chastising them for downing tools, he told them he was going to do a song for them and started playing Working On The Building (a song which Elvis covered on his gospel album His Hand In Mine in 1960).Tthe band of course duly picked it up and played along, cant imagine they've ever even rehearsed this.

Soundcheck:
Red headed woman (with band)
Prove it all night (two takes)
My Love Will Not Let You Down
Working On The Building
Ghost Of Tom Joad
Born In The USA (instrumental..just a few bars..performed solo)

Having got a head start on the rest of the crowd, I sprinted to the very front and spent the entire 165 minutes of the show in the best spot in the audience - right under Bruces mike. My first (and unfortunately, unlike other tours only) show of this tour and it was simply incredible. The first Bruce show I ever saw was in London in 1981 and that will always be the most special one personally and musically (although the 1988 shows were pretty close). Just SEEING this band onstage together again after eleven years made it an occasion emotionally as moving as any other concert I've been to and the fact that I managed to get such a great place also helped - oh and the music? Damn, knew I'd forgotten something.

I must admit I did wonder whether it would be comparable to past tours musically and did question Bruce's reason for dioing this tour without a studio album to promote (plus the fact that he's hardly playing anything off TRACKS at all) - oh ye of little faith! What a night, what a man, what a voice, what a musician, what a performer ... WHAT A BAND!

Some very special moments - maybe one that will always remain was watching Bruce's mum enjoying the show so much from the side of the stage (Bruce even turned the spotlight on her (much to her surprise) during his ramble on Tenth Avenue Freeze Out). The pride in her face was something to behold and shes a heck of a good mover too by the way. She was fairly bopping to Darlington County, Working on the highway and Hungry Heart. Clarence's first sax solo in the show (thats when it REALLY hits you between the eyes that not only is it great to see Bruce on a stage again but on a stage with THE band) and the solo in Jungleland (my favourite song and one which I hadnt seen performed since 1981) which was, not for the only time in the show, a real lump-in-throat moment. Then there was that beautiful finale - following a killer Thunder Road, a quite moving performance of If I Should Fall Behind. A selection which, on just reading the setlists from earlier shows, I found to be a strange choice until I saw and heard the way in which it was played with Bruce's acoustic guitar backing in turn himself, Steve, Nils, Patti and Clarence as they each traded verses in a gorgeous reading of the song which served as a rededication of the band and which left the 30,000 crowd spellbound. The fabulous new song Land Of Hope and Dreams really cooked and was a wonderful closer. Release this one Bruce, please!

A couple of other oddities: I dont know if Red headed woman has been played yet on this tour, but he performed it a real hillybilly style full-band arrangement ("with Nils 'Tex' Lofgren on steel guitar"). Just think Hank Williams' Move It On Over and you're not far away from what it sounded like He dedicated it especially to Irish women: he joked about his Irish roots and (it was hard to decipher the surnames he quoted) asked if there were any of his relatives in the house. During the 15-minute long version of Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, where he introduced the band, he started singing a verse of Red headed Woman before introducing Patti who responded with a quite delightful verse of her own single As Long As I Can Be With You.

Describing the show and the special moments are easy enough, but there were some parts which simply cant be described in a way which can do them justice. Most of you have been there in the past and have surely felt the same, namely those little moments of interaction between Bruce and the audience and the band. Those little knowing looks that made it so obvious that these people are really enjoying being on a stage together again doing what they do better than anyone.

Written by Gary Galbraith