It was sunny when the GA line was walked into the building a little before 6pm, and the sun was still setting in the distance when we came back out around 11pm. HK Areena holds 11k and was, admittedly, the catalyst for my Scandinavian journey. When the show was announced and we learned the size of the venue, once I figured out where Turku was, exactly, my interest was piqued and it wasn’t long before we’d worked out the trip that would include all of the Stockholm shows and get us over to Finland for these two indoor arena shows. Indoor arena? In Europe? I’d sell everything I owned if Bruce did an arena tour of Europe.
Night two is, well, night two, but even I didn’t expect that powerhouse of an opener. “My Love Will Not Let You Down” is always, you know, shots fired, a statement of intent, but to follow it with “Leap of Faith” and “Better Days,” and then yank “I’m A Rocker” out of the crowd on a whim – I needed a break by the time we got to “We Take Care of Our Own” and “Wrecking Ball.” I wasn’t here for the 92/93 tour, I never got to SEE those songs. I was seriously losing my mind and grinning ear to ear and do not even mind that two people in front of me, a couple has chosen “Better Days” as the song to start making out to. Have at it, my friends. Right now I do not care. I am singing every word as loudly and with as much feeling as I can muster while having the out of body experience that I am not in my car pretending that I am seeing “Better Days” live, I AM STANDING IN FRONT OF THE STAGE WHERE IT IS BEING PLAYED RIGHT NOW. HOLY FUCK.
As I walked into the pit in Friends Arena, I noticed a group sitting in the first row off the floor with a large sheet emblazoned BOOM BOOM. You can’t think Stockholm without thinking of the Hello World broadcast and I can’t think of that broadcast without thinking of that John Lee Hooker cover. An ambitious request, perhaps, but we are in Sweden. Even my father (whose tastes run as far as 1010 WINS) knows about Springsteen in Sweden and the broken stadium. There are Reasons you would go to Sweden to see Bruce, and now I am here to see it for myself.
Bleecker Bob’s closed today, and like the end of CBGB’s, I find myself lamenting the end of a place I hadn’t been to in years. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need or want the Village to be turned into more of an NYU-blanded mall than it already is, and I genuinely miss the days that I could wander the streets and find odd mom and pop shops who carried interesting things.
But I always had a conflicted relationship with Bleecker Bob’s.
Tonight at WORD in Brooklyn, Marc Dolan and I take our Twitter debate to real life. There will be readings and discussions and video and trivia (with prizes courtesy Backstreets Magazine) and cold beer at a reasonable price (courtesy Sixpoint).
C’mon down! It’s a short walk from the G train and parking is actually manageable in the neighborhood. Facebook RSVP is encouraged but not required.
I have not been certain at all about this reconstituted Soundgarden, so uncertain that despite my great love for that band and their music I did not leap through hoops or get on planes to go see them. I missed all the gigs last summer because I was on the road anyway and so when they turned up back in NYC, I decided it was time. I heard all the whispers of separate tour buses and less than cohesive energy between the lead singer and the rest of the band, and it was just time that to go, to find out for myself.
I WASN’T THERE, regrettably (sort of), I deliberately chose to sit this circuit out (and why is a much longer and very different post). But friends were there (many, many friends were there, from all over the world) and my best friend Sharon’s husband was kind enough to send me video clips of the moment, and I watched the (illegal) clip from the PPV multiple times last night because IT IS A MOMENT.
I am generally not a fan of festivals, mega-concerts, or gimmicky guest appearances. I try to stay away from these things. However, the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief was a confluence of too many artists I cared about for me to avoid it, and we were lucky with tickets.
I thought the show was going to open with one of those numbers where Bruce walks onstage solo with an acoustic guitar, and was later perplexed when only Max, Roy and Bruce walked onstage – only to be followed a few moments later by the rest of the band. The perplexity did not end when the band kicked into a mostly-acoustic version of “Surprise, Surprise,” for reasons that still escape me: did they drive through Surprise, Arizona? Did someone meet up with Bruce at the hotel and make a request? Was this Stevie’s fault? It wasn’t exactly how I thought Bruce would kick off what I hoped would be a barn-burner of a last US show of the Wrecking Ball tour.
Walking onto the floor and seeing the Rust Never Sleeps set at the other end of the Barclays Center was this combination of disbelief and deja vu. I never got to see the Rust Never Sleeps tour; by the time I read about it in Rolling Stone it was long gone, and I used to sit in front of my stereo with the records and bemoan that I had missed what had to have been one of the most amazing things ever.