It’s Springsteen time again
140,000 Irish music fans can’t be wrong. As Bruce Springsteen limbers up for his five-date Irish tour this month, fanboy Jim Carroll looks at his enduring appeal
“My job is to blow into town and tell everybody to keep going and then blow on out again,” is how Springsteen put it a few years ago and he has long stayed true to that vocation.
Musically, Springsteen’s back catalogue has weathered the years remarkably well. While the crowd naturally respond best to the songs from the glory years, Springsteen is a master when it comes to weaving newer material and lesser-known tracks from his 17 albums into sets and making it all gel .
It’s a trick acts such as U2 might want to take a look at. Of late, tracks such as Death to My Hometown and Land Of Hope & Glory from recent albums have assumed the heft, excitement and momentum of the greatest hits around them.
What’s also interesting is how that classic sound of his has come back into vogue in recent years, as newer acts get happy and take their cues from Springsteen. There was always an unspoken whiff of Springsteen from rock’s newer voices, but acts such as Arcade Fire, The Killers and The National are now quick to talk up their fondness for the man and his music. It has given another lease of life to those passionate songs about dreamers in dead-end towns, cars screaming towards the horizon and the other side of the American dream.
Every time Springsteen plays live, there’s something new. On the current European tour, for example, he has been playing the Born to Run, Darkness On the Edge Of Town and Born In the USA albums in full on some dates. While he’s done that before back in the States at the end of the “Working On A Dream” tour in 2009, it’s a new addition to shows over here.
Irish audiences already excited at seeing him in new locations will be hoping for similar surprises over the next few weeks – and hoping they’re there on the nights of those full album shows. It would be awesome, for instance, to hear Darkness . . . in Limerick and Born to Run at the last show in Kilkenny. Here’s hoping.
Bruce Springsteen plays Limerick’s Thomond Park (July 16th), Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh (July 18th), Belfast’s Kings Hall Arena (July 20th) and Kilkenny’s Nowlan Park (27th and 28th). All shows are sold out.
There will be a Banter discussion on Bruce Springsteen’s Irish appeal at the Kinsale Arts Festival, Co Cork tomorrow, July 13th. kinsaleartsfestival.com. Springsteen & I will be screened in Irish cinemas on July 22nd. springsteenandi.com.