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Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
"We pile out to collude in exotic cigarettes along the fairy-lit Lagan and argue whether this was really the best gig ever-ever. Maybe."
Eamonn McCann, 18 Jan 2008
I first saw the man maybe 30 years ago. Truly hasn’t changed a bit. Or else for the better. Really.
Five songs in it’s, “To him that threw you away, you ain’t nothing but gone/Our gypsy biker’s coming home.” Voice huskied, band focused, no messing, crowd silent, a beautiful rage against the machinery of death.
He drenches the lyrics in compassion. The E Street Band – honking harmonica, parping horns, swirling keyboards, surging guitars, saxophone soaring then swooping to re-enmesh in the mix – generates a perfect storm of seamless sound to lift your head off and allow the buzz in your brain to breathe.
Naturally, the ’07 album dominates the set, interspersed with representative richness from down all the years, so as to compare and contrast and confirm that the present stands straight alongside anything previous.
The presentation is deftly structured, from escapist (‘Girls In Their Summer Clothes’), to the elusive (‘Devil’s Arcade’), then the ominous (‘Your Own Worst Enemy’). What’s in common is all are redemption songs.
We pile out to collude in exotic cigarettes along the fairy-lit Lagan and argue whether this was really the best gig ever-ever. Maybe.
Cleansed in a way we haven’t felt since we believed in confession. Wholly communion at the Odyssey, Belfast. Magic? A miracle.
We dashed for the car, just because we felt pell-mell, hit the M2, headed for the Sperrins, Glenshane Pass and home. “Tramps like us,” breathed the Cork blond, “born to run.”
Born again. I’m truly desperate for tickets for the RDS.