part 1. the waiting.
It is hot inside of Nowlan Park, and then it rains. And then it is hot again. If you are close you are standing on metal plating, which has no give. You sit, you stand, you sit again. People with wristbands but no magic marker tattoo on their hands try to encroach upon your territory; it creates your ‘tribe,’ it bonds you to people from the Netherlands and Greece and Switzerland and up the road in Belfast. At this point you are having conversations like “We sat next to each other in Stockholm…”
There are rules in my house about sign requests, that we don’t bring signs for cover songs, that we don’t bring signs that request items, that a sign should be for one song only, that it should be a size that will not block the people behind us. We have tried hard over the years to think of signs that will get picked or would get played or that Bruce would find amusing and therefore would get played.
This show was a bonus. We had already booked our trip to Spain and Paris, with some extra days after Stade de France to enjoy the city. Then HRC got added and there was no way we could be in Paris if Bruce was playing in London. Despite my advice to other people to consider carefully whether they want to stand in a field all day and despite my insisting I would never do this again (a big consideration as to why we skipped Nijmegen), we bought tickets and booked the first train on the Eurostar (which everyone started calling the ‘Bruce-star) Sunday morning.
There is not much I can actually say about this show. Tonight I wrote the News report for Backstreets, which is more detailed than the reports I usually file for Brucespringsteen.net and there isn’t much I left out of the Backstreets report.
It was a Saturday night in Paris on a BITUSA anniversary and what you got was what we got the third night in Stockholm, a show for the people in the back row and the people on the side and the people drinking beer.
Concert Review: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Estadio El Molinon, Gijon, Spain, 27 June 2013
Springsteen in Spain is hot and loud and smoky and bouncy and pretty much everything you know about from the Barcelona DVD. The fans started the queue on the Wednesday the week before the show, and by the time we arrived on Sunday night I was just happy to be under 200. (By comparison, I arrived at the Dublin queue at 4pm the day before the show and got number 163.)
First, there were the signs. There were just signs, but there were signs, at least one or two at shows, I think I saw as many as four or six at the recent Scandinavian run.
This is not new, this is not unusual, it’s not like the fine Springsteen fans of Europe just discovered the song. But there is a certain sense of urgency to hear it, whether people want to say it out loud, there is a thought that this might be the last chance to hear it.
There were discussions while we were in the queue. My learned colleague Mr. Radecki would explain that “Serenade” is a song that Bruce just can’t play off of a sign, it requires rehearsal. Well, so does MF “Wages of Sin” and that was clearly rehearsed within an inch of its life with no problem.
Then, people started to get creativ
We literally spent weeks if not months researching airfare deals for this summer’s excursions. Scandinavia came together because of a new budget carrier called AirBerlin, which flies from JFK to an assortment of European destinations via–you guessed it–Berlin. This was all fine, except for the part where we left an hour late, so we landed an hour late. This was even fine, because we were automatically rebooked onto a SAS flight, and I was so placid about this issue that I walked to the connecting flight singing the opening riff to “Zoo Station” until my companion realized what I was doing and rolled his eyes so hard they almost fell out of his head.
It was, quite honestly, all fine until we landed in Stockholm… only to see the dreaded See baggage agent regarding delayed baggage sign on the baggage carousel. This left us standing in our first European queue of the trip along with a handful of other AirBerlin casualties, texting our friends in the GA line that we would probably not be queuing tonight, as well as frantically emailing our AirBnB host that we were running a little later than we expected.