There’s one thing seeing an absolute rock legend (Bruce Springsteen) on stage at an outside venue like Hyde Park – but when he plays a three hour set made up of 29 songs – and then
brings out a friend and former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney – it’s fair to say your mind has officially been blown.
That’s how 60,000 people felt on Saturday night when they attended Hard Rock Calling Festival. Yes, it was rainy and muddy (the weather is not our friend right now) – but frankly, not even the downpours could put a dampener on what Bruce had to offer. With a sea of hands wiggling in the air, his trademark wave - it wasn’t hard to see that some of the biggest Springsteen followers had made the schlep down to London for this big night. There were fans from all over Europe; the world even – including one lucky fella who, having followed Bruce across Europe on his most recent tour – finally managed to get his idol to break the set list and sing the beautiful track, Take ‘Em As They Come.
“Tonight, my friend, this is your lucky night,” Bruce announced, having picked up the banner from the excited man-fan himself. “It’s a completely obscure track I wrote for (the album) The River
when I needed some rock songs.”
Tom Morello from Rage Against The machine and John Forgerty joined The Boss on stage too.
More splendid hits later and Bruce pulled out the big guns. Born In The USA
still sounds as powerful as it did when my parents blared it out of their old Hi-Hi system.
But this was live and quite a sight – in a sublime London park, in the rain, listening to one of the world’s most-respected musical artists. Even at 62, there’s no doubt he still sounded amazing. At that moment, I thought, this show couldn’t get any better…
Actually, it could. Because Sir Paul McCartney joined him on stage for the encore.
“I’ve waited 50 years for this,” announced Bruce.
I Saw Her Standing There
and Twist and Shout
had the crowd going wild until organisers finally decided enough was enough, Bruce had broken his curfew (he’d been told he had a 10.15pm finish, it was now gone 10.30pm) and the sound had to be shut down.
It was pretty harsh seeing two of the world’s greatest musicians unable to thank their crowd; unable express how they felt up on that stage and properly end their incredible, incredible show. We were all disappointed.
Bruce’s guitarist Steven Van Zandt tweeted, "One of the great gigs ever in my opinion. But seriously, when did England become a police state?
“We break curfews in every country but only English cops needs to 'punish us' by not letting us leave until the entire crowd goes. Is there just too much fun in the world? We would have been off by 11 if we'd done one more. On a Saturday night! Who were we disturbing?"
A good question. But it really didn’t ruin the night.
In fact, it was one of the greatest sets I’ve ever seen. And for that, we have to thank Bruce & his E-Street band and Hard Rock Calling
. Can next year’s line-up top this? We’ll just have to wait and see…