Having seen Neil Young at the same venue nine days ago, it’s interesting for me to compare events. Bruce is playing 3 sell-out shows at the 15,000-seat Rod Laver Arena and two outdoor shows a little out of Melbourne. Neil played one show at Rod Laver, another at a smaller city venue and a winery event close by.
The crowd at both events were pretty much across all age groups and a hefty proportion of young fans present, but the Bruce crowd had a much less grungy look about them. Merchandise for Bruce was significantly higher – for example Bruce stubby holders were $20 compared with a bargain $15 for Neil.
Neil played an extensive set (see previous report) inwardly focused on the stage and Crazy Horse, playing (loudly) seemingly whatever took his fancy. Bruce on the other hand, really went for the big numbers, perhaps a reflection of the fact that he had not been in Melbourne since 2003 (a fact he pointed out apologetically himself). On this night, he included six songs from album titles and an encore including three massive hits.
The E Street Band numbered seventeen strong and were impeccable. Is drummer Max Weinberg the most important ingredient in this mixture (after Bruce of course)? It’s worth noting that there are so many songs that have Max’s trademark rolling powerhouse as the foundation – simply marvellous to behold. Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave) filled in for Steve Van Zandt (absent due to acting duties). At first he seemed a little out of place but that thought quickly evaporated. In fact his performance on “The Ghost Of Tom Joad” was for me the highlight of the night – maybe because it was a significant departure from previous versions and an unexpected treat.
The crowd were adoring. Bruce the showman was magnificent.
I thought for a moment that I was going to be able to touch him as he steamrolled by (see photo). If I could have shaken his hand, I would not have washed for who knows how long.
Out in the Street The River 1980
The Promised Land Darkness On The Edge Of Town 1978
Something in the Night Darkness On The Edge Of Town 1978
Wrecking Ball Wrecking Ball 2012
Death to My Hometown Wrecking Ball 2012
Hungry Heart The River 1980
Spirit in the Night Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ 1973
High Hopes Blood Brothers DVD (cover) 1996
The River The River 1980
Seeds Live 1975-851986
Johnny 99 Nebraska 1982
Prove It All Night Darkness On The Edge Of Town 1978
Pay Me My Money Down We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions 2006
Darlington County Born In The U.S.A. 1984
Shackled and Drawn Wrecking Ball 2012
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day The Rising 2002
The Rising The Rising 2002
The Ghost of Tom Joad The Ghost Of Tom Joad 1995
Badlands Darkness On The Edge Of Town 1978
Land of Hope and Dreams Wrecking Ball 2012
Born in the U.S.A. Born In The U.S.A. 1984
Born to Run Born To Run 1975
Dancing in the Dark Born In The U.S.A. 1984
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out Born To Run 1975