Entertainment Music

Monday 18 February 2019

Review: Bruce Springsteen at the RDS

Steve Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen restore power at last night's gig
Steve Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen restore power at last night's gig

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

Bruce Springsteen opened his first of two concerts in Dublin last night by making light of his weekend concert in London, which was brought to a halt for breaking a curfew.

Coming on stage at 7.25pm, he stood with guitarist Steve Van Zandt in front of a huge power switch and told the crowd of 35,000 in the RDS: "Before we were so rudely interrupted . . ."

It was fitting that his opening tune was 'Twist And Shout', the same Beatles song which he was performing with Paul McCartney when the plug was pulled at Hyde Park by the UK authorities.

There was more fun made with the incident by his choice of second song, the Bobby Fuller Four track made famous by The Clash, 'I Fought The Law', whose thrashing by the E Street Band prompted Springsteen to remark: "That will teach them".

It wasn't long before Dublin City Council chiefs were the next target. Springsteen and his band were fined an estimated €50,000 for breaching a curfew by 15 minutes at the RDS with their first concert and 19 minutes at their second gig in July 2009.

"We're not sure when the curfew is tonight. Do you really have curfews in Ireland?" he said of the 11pm cut-off point agreed between promoters and Dublin City Council Planning.

But curfews were forgotten as he began to hit his stride.

There are few performers aged 62 who give three-hour live performances into which they throw themselves both mentally and physically. But Springsteen live is the stuff of legend.

Maybe that's why, when other superstars are struggling to sell tickets, he continues to perform to sell-out crowds.

With his legs astride, he delivered hit after hit from a back catalogue stretching back four decades.

However, among the big choruses of rousing hits, 'Born in the USA', 'Glory Days' and 'Dancing in the Dark', there was room for material from his 2012 album 'Wrecking Ball', his first since the recession.

"We love Ireland and that's reflected in a lot of the music Bruce has been playing for the last 10 or 15 years -- its very rootsy and that's from Ireland," guitarist Van Zandt said.

And there was an Irish stomp to many of the songs Springsteen played -- appropriate given that his great-great grandmother was one Ann Geraghty, born in Rathowen village, Co Westmeath, in October 1836.

At the heart of the Springsteen engine, which has helped him sell 120 million records and collect more than 20 Grammies, is the E Street Band.

They took their first bow at 9.45pm as a giant white moon appeared on screens behind Springsteen.

He started to bring the show to a close with the last song on Wrecking Ball' -- 'We Are Alive', -- which moved from acoustic ballad to a foot-stomper.

'Born In The USA' had the house lights up and 35,000 hands punching the sky as they sang along and it was followed by 'Born To Run'.

At 10.15pm he was still on stage playing 'Rosalita'. "Curfew, curfew," shouted Bruce before raising a fan's banner that said: "Only the boss says when to pull the plug", to cheers.

'Dancing In The Dark' continued the greatest hits send-off to the night as he hoisted a fan out of the audience to dance with him on stage.

Springsteen's long-time saxophonist was remembered in an array of video clips for tribute 'Tenth Avenue Freeze Out'

In another send up of the Hyde Park concert, Springsteen wrestled with a man dressed as a London policeman over the on/off switch seen earlier in the show but the Boss kept to the curfew, ending at 10.46pm -- a total of three hours and 25 minutes on stage.

Tonight, Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band will do it all again.

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment

Back to top