In charge: The Boss rocks Limerick on opening night of Irish tour
THOMOND Park has seen its fair share of rocking nights in Munster red - but none like this as Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band played the biggest concert ever to take place in the venue.
THE Boss and the E-Street Band thumped out an exhilarating mid-summer vibe as 40,000-plus fans savoured rock music at its very best.
On an evening when his set included iconic album ‘Born to Run’ in its entirety, Bruce Springteen hit all the right notes with the local fans.
A rendition of ‘Glory Days’ was dedicated to Limerick hurling fans, following the county’s triumph in the Munster final at the weekend, sending the crowd into raptures.
And ‘My Hometown’ was dedicated to local jockey JT McNamara, who was seriously injured in a fall earlier this year. Trainer Enda Bolger, a big fan of Springsteen, once named a horse after his song Fiftysevenchannels, which McNamara rode.
The omens for an unforgettable evening were there from early on.
Nearly two hours before he was officially due to appear on stage, the Great One emerged from backstage to treat a small crowd of about 400 to a 20-minute impromptu gig.
Many fans had defied the sizzling summer temperatures from early on to make sure they landed a choice place in a queue which gradually began to snake round the concert arena.
They joined the more unrestrained enthusiasts who had camped locally the previous few nights, determined that, come what may, they would get prime position to see their hero up close and personal. Springsteen, wearing a white V-neck t-shirt and jeans set the assembled throng into a frenzy once he hit the main stage.
“Good evening Limerick,” he cried.
“We're so glad to be here tonight and we are here to fill you up with the everlasting power of rockn'roll.”
“Are you ready?” Springsteen asked, as if he needed to.
“We engineered our honeymoon around Bruce,” explained Jonny and Katie Cantloy, from London.
Having got married in Rome last week, they were serenaded by Bruce in the Italian capital after requesting the title of Katie's favourite song. “He played ‘My Love Will Not Let You Down'. It's one of my favourite songs. It was the second song in Rome. It made my honeymoon,” Katie said.
Her new husband added: “It really made her honeymoon, when he looked into her eyes and sang to her. If she gets to dance on stage tonight, it could be the quickest divorce ever,” he joked.
The newlyweds got married in Suffolk, before flying to Rome for their wedding, returning to England for a friend's nuptials a few days ago, and then flying to Ireland for the Limerick concert.
Between them both they have seen Springsteen 19 times.
Springsteen fan, Gearoid Gillett (25) from Malahide, Dublin, and his girlfriend Laura Murray were also brought together through Springsteen's music.
“He's been a big part of our relationship,” quipped Gearoid.
Thomond Park stadium director John Cantwell said the concert had generated €10m for Limerick city.