19th of July, Stadio Olimpico, Roma

21 07 2009

So here’s the concert review now. I feel like I have already told so many people how much I loved the concert, but to honor the boss this post needs to be written. Because of the swimming world championships in the stadium next door the beginning of the concert had been postponed to 22.00 hrs, quite late when you expect a regular concert to last 3 hours, but anyway, Roman authorities seemed to think this would be a good idea. When I arrived at 20.00 the ground floor area was already filling up.

Stadio Olimpico before the concert

Stadio Olimpico before the concert

At 22.30 the concert then finally started. The video below captures these first minutes and the big enthusiastic welcome that the crowd was giving to the boss and the band.

Even though all the way through “Badlands” the audience was already really participating and singing along, the boss went on the first of his numerous running trips around the stage and asked the crowd shouting into the microphone “Is there anybody alive out there?” Oh yes, there is! What makes his shows so special for me is the almost extreme degree of participation by the audience. I mean, on what other concerts do you find thousands of people singing along not only the words of some of the best known songs, but almost all songs and even certain guitar or saxophone solo melodies?! So a big part of the magic is certainly the community of fans. But I will get back to that thought later.

The music was solid quality big band Rock, I am tempted to say “as always” with the E Street Band. The main impression one gets is just a wall of sound, with just few points of individual particular performance. To give an example what I mean: you have an organ/keyboard player (Charles Giordano, replacing the 2008 deceased Danny Federici) and a piano (“The professor” Roy Bittan”), you have up to 4 people playing some guitar: Bruce’s wife Patty, Nils Lofgren, Steve Van Zandt and the boss himself. So given that plus average stadium acoustics: how are you going to distinguish who’s playing what? The answer is: it does not matter, because that is not the point of a Springsteen concert. However I really enjoyed some of the guitar playing of Lofgren, especially the somewhat futuristic solo he played on the otherwise plain 80ies tune “The promised land” while spinning around his own axis like a dervish…

But coming back to understanding the magic of the show: during the 2,5 hours I was there waiting for the show to begin and contemplating both some of the past shows I had seen and the fact it was a Sunday, the thought occurred to me that in a way an evening with Bruce and the E Street Band has things in common with a religious service. And during the concert I found more arguments to support my theory:
(1) As already mentioned, it is a celebration of life or to honor life one could say. Speaking about “is there anybody alive out there”, which is also part of the lyrics of “Radio Nowhere” or also in the starting song Badlands the line “For the ones who had a notion an emotion deep inside, that it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive” or the energy coming from “No surrender”.
(2) The way he interacts with the people, also physically, walking on those stage parts that extend into the audience, touching and being touched, holding, shaking hands. It’s the blessing in the church of Rock’n’Roll.
(3) His special attention to the children that were there, taking a little girl and a little boy on the stage, making them sing into his microphone and lovingly appreciating everything they do, no matter how much out of tune… 🙂
(4) And special probably to this Rome show: having his mother and his also 80+ year old aunt dancing with him and the band onstage during one of the last songs – a uniting of generations in the one spirit of life, transmitted via the sound of Rock. It was very impressive to me.

There might be more things worth mentioning about this show and maybe I have already waited a bit too long before starting to write all of this down. But what I do remember vividly is the feeling of walking out that concert area at 1.30 a.m., after 3 hours of singing and dancing, before that 2 hours standing and waiting and still feeling energized in an incredible way. So it just remains to say: Thank You!




3 responses

1 08 2009

Hey he had a bandwrist like me!

3 08 2009

..is there no prize for “the most stupid WordPress comment” – 2009 edition?

9 08 2009

Oh yes, sorry I forgot!
…and the “Fat Max” for the weirdest comment during the MBA blogging period goes to: IL FIORENTINO!!

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