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STACK Issue 118 (Aug'14)
 Music Features
  : :  Springsteen Seals Australian Triumph
 Springsteen Seals Australian Triumph 

Springsteen Seals Australian Triumph
Bruce Springsteen has pulled off the most critically acclaimed one-two punch in Australian live music history with a sold out return tour that trumped the rave reviews of his last visit, only 11 months on from those shows.

Commencing with shows in Perth – a city he missed on his 2013 sojourn –
his Australian gigs were notable for a myriad of reasons. Typically, shows
went for at least three hours – Adelaide stretched to three and a half – and were
peppered with Australian covers and other tips of the hat to being back in Australia. Early in the tour, he opened with AC/DC’s Highway to Hell (with Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder in tow in Melbourne), he played INXS's Don't Change in Sydney, and opened his weekend shows with The Easybeats' Friday on my Mind. The Saints' classic Just Like Fire Would also appeared in several sets, as it was recorded by Springsteen for his latest studio collection, High Hopes.

While Springsteen – who is now 65 years old and performs with the stamina of a man half his age – was the undoubted star, the attraction of the The E Street Band, still one of the most finely honed rock'n'roll ensembles playing today, remains undiminished. With the long time core of Max Weinberg (drums), Gary Tallent (bass) and Roy Bittan (piano/keys) still fuelling the engine, Springsteen is abetted by the phenomenal Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) on guitar, along with long-time E-Street stalwarts Nils Lofgren and Miami Steve Van Zandt, whose acting commitments on the show Lilyhammer left him free to tour this year. There's also a full horn section, featuring the late Clarence Clemons' nephew Jake on saxaphone. They are remarkable musicians: in Melbourne, a sign request (of which Springsteen will typically play three a night) saw the band forced to play the obscure Joel Blon with no preparation. Told the key, then lead off by Springsteen, they didn't drop a note – the mark of true professionals.

This tour also held rewards for the long time fan. Springsteen played the Born in the USA and Born to Run albums in their entirety at this Melbourne shows, while Sydney got all of Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Those four millionaire Englishmen who call themselves The Greatest Rock'n'Roll band in the world–The Rolling Stones- will have their work cut out when they arrive later this year.

STACK's Essential Guide to Bruce Springsteen