When it was clear that Bruce and E Street Band were coming to Europe once more, I thought that I should try to see at least 2 shows, and 3 would be nice. But somehow I got little carried away and ended up with tickets to 5 shows. This one in Frankfurt was my last one on this tour.
Although most of the Finns with a Frankfurt ticket had also ticket to Munich show and so were in Germany already one day earlier, there are about half a dozen of other Bruce fans on the same flight with me. And again I can't keep my cool in the plane when we flew just over the Frankfurt Arena when preparing to land, and I shout to the guys sitting several lines in front of me to look down, we are all going right there tonight!
All the others go to get their luggage and to check in their hotels while I head straight to the Arena. I have little clue how pit line works here, and some nice Germans point me to a gate where I find a group of people and a list with names and numbers. I get number 87. Hmm, that shouldn't be possible as it is already 10 AM on the morning of a sold out show for 40 000 spectators but as it is so hot and I'm so hungry, I don't pay any attention to that weird number and just take the next train to the city center to grab some food and try to find a cheap cap to protect me from getting heat stroke.
During the next roll calls I find my Finnish mates and also some people I have met in earlier shows (hi Vittorio! and hi to all the others whose names I can't remember!) and eventually we find out that there are actually THREE separate pit lines at three gates, and most people are lining at the gate (E3) which is closest to main parking lots. And our gate (E5) is either opened first, or at the same time as other gates, or 10 minutes after them, or not at all. We get new info every fifteen minutes, and probably at least half of the people in our line leave it to go to the main line. Some Finns get really hot and keep on cursing this sauerkraut eating country and their inability to organize such a simple thing as a numbered pit line. Anyway, all Finns decide to stay here as we are sure that the gate is opened anyway, and even if it is opened little later than the main gate, we'll get to the pit. After all, our gate is closest to the stage end of the arena and there's a door right in front of us.
After some hot and humid hours later the security is in their places at our gate too, the beer sellers are present and we get the remnants of our line ready for the security check (which was, uh, rather non-existing and you could have taken about anything inside). Finally, the gates open (several minutes after other gates) and then we RUN! I knew already that in Germany you run from the gate to the pit (running is strictly forbidden in Finland and Sweden), and we all sprint the 200 meters to the closest part of the arena - just to see that this arena door is closed and we have to run all the looong way to the other side of this huge arena building to get in.
Uh huh, it is so hot, and uh, I might carry some extra kilos and I haven't done anything which even closely resembles running for ages. Huh huh, how far still to go, oh still around that next fuckin' corner (pant pant). C'mon, I paid for a fuckin' SHOW (pant pant) and not for "Getting fit with fuckin' Bru-huh-huh-ce" (pant pant). Crap, I'm outta air, I gotta walk now - oh shit, they look like they are getting ready to close the pit, I have to be able to run this last 100 meters and not die oh shee-huh-huh-esh! In the pit I stumble into a beer seller and although I normally never buy beer in a show, now I really, really need a tall cool one!
I go through the dense crowd in the middle of the pit to the further side (Soozie's side) and like I hoped, there is still plenty of room just a couple of meters from the stage fence. I join some Finns and sit down trying to get my breath back and to stop sweating like I had just been in a sauna. Well, this is about as close to the stage I would have gotten if I had been in the right pit line and the number system would have worked, I'm with good friends now and I have beer so everything is actually ok. Let's wait for the show to start!
I had studied to Munich setlist, so it was no surprise that Nils again gets to the stage first and starts playing a German tune with his accordion. The rest of the band come along and get ready to start, although for Clarence that takes some time. And now Badlands starts the show, yes! They sound good, and it is nice to see Max again behind those drums.
Next song, uh I know this intro, this is Adam Raised a Cain! Guys, you just made this show special for me. This really was something I wanted to hear. And then to, wait a minute what is this, oh The Ties That Bind, so cool! My Lucky Day goes nicely here with its fast tempo and Steven is again sharing the mic with Bruce. Bruce seems to be moving better than in the last Stockholm shows, good.
Outlaw Pete starts with a long intro, which is again partially Shadows' Apache. My German pit buddy has heard just the album version of Outlaw Pete and so he doesn't recognize the song during intro although I try to shout its name to his ear. Then Hungry Heart. Well, why not? Bruce probably thought that this audience needs an easier singalong right now, just like at Tampere. Working On A Dream doesn't make people to raise their hands. The audience really takes part and sings along, but the coreography aka hand waving is far from what it was in Sweden. Is it just this heat, or is the audience here so different?
Seeds and Johnny 99, I really love the way these two songs are done on this tour and I certainly don't mind hearing them for 5th time. Dancing time! And once again sorry guys around me, I need some room right now. Steve again gets to shine in his solo but he doesn't manage to end this song at the same time as the rest of the band. But never mind, Bruce just takes another round with it and with the next try everyone knows when to stop.
And now it should be time for request collecting, but why is Bruce taking a new guitar? And a harmonica? No, this is definitely not a request collecting tune, what on earth is it - holy shit, it is Factory! Wow, one of my very favourites! A tour premiere, I think. We just concentrate on listening to the hard life of a working man. Then another tune which clearly isn't a request collecting tune either - Something In The Night! Oh what a pair of songs! Now I got tears in my eyes, this is a good show.
Finally we hear the chords of the familiar Raise Your Hand, and Bruce collects handfuls of papers (yes, mostly papers this time and not stiff cardboards) and a big green swimming ring. Once again my Pink Cadillac request is ignored but I hope he managed to collect some good ones! Most of the ones I saw around me were for very common songs like Thunder Road, but there were nice ones too. Like "Devil's Arcade" sign with a George W. Bush photo with red horns in the middle of it.
First request song is I'm Goin' Down. We got that one too in Stockholm but it is a nice song anyway, I'm satisfied. Next request is Ramrod, and while playing it Bruce wears the green swimming ring. When he calls Steve to share the mic with him, he manages to bump Steven away from the mic with that ring. It looks hilarious and they laugh! They fool around still more with that ring before ending Ramrod and starting the third request song, which is Trapped. Now the audience is really taking part and even the hands are now in the air.
A strong and beautiful Because The Night follows the request part. Then we get two songs everyone could expect, Waitin' On A Sunny Day and The Promised Land. Bruce lets little kids sing in Sunny Day and again he manages to find some totally over cute ones who do know most of the lyrics but can't exactly keep the tempo. It is fun to see how the mighty E Street Band tries to follow the chorus in which that final "Sunny Day" can come in a totally random place and turn the volume and tempo immediately back to normal after that. Could someone please tell Evan, Jessica and Sam that their old man seriously needs some grandkids as soon as possible?
Point Blank! So beautiful, just like in Helsinki last year. And naturally some idiots have to shout "Rock'n'roll!" and "Cadillac Ranch!" immediately as Bruce starts a slow song, sheesh. Some people have no manners, or is it just the beer talking? Patti (not here tonight) is quickly mentioned before Kingdom of Days. Then we get the normal main set ending with Lonesome Day, The Rising and Born To Run. BTR sounds so good tonight, I think that the audience takes better part in it than in any of the other shows I've seen this summer. Besides, it is dark now! I've never seen an ESB band show when it is dark, and so now I can see how the use of stage lights can change the mood.
After BTR the band bows to the audience which shouts "E Street Band! E Street Band!" so loudly. They don't even bother to leave the stage but go straight to the encore, which starts with Hard Times. Good, I really waited to hear this one again as it wasn't played in all Stockholm shows. Then Bruce gets still another request paper which says "So many shows, no Jungleland" and the audience cheers as now they play it. Not as good version as in Stockholm, because Clarence hits some sour notes in the beginning of his solo and I think that Bruce's voice breaks in some of the moaning parts although he has sounded totally ok in all other songs tonight. After the song, Bruce hugs Clarence so lovingly and I have again tears in my eyes.
American Land, so we are nearing the end of this show. During the song I figure out that this is the very first time ever I heard it live with its original lyrics! All my other shows have been in Finland and Sweden, and there Bruce has always changed those "Germans" into "Finns" or "Swedes". No LOHAD tonight, but we get Bobby Jean, not a bad choice. Then Dancing In The Dark, which really makes people jump up and down and sing along.
After DitD it is easy to see that the show isn't ended yet, we get still another song. Bruce looks somewhere back in the audience, calls a cameraman to the stage and points something to him. Finally camera picks what Bruce was seeing: a huge sheet requesting Twist And Shout! My young German pit buddy goes totally wild: he tells that this hasn't been played ever before in Germany! [Well, in actually it has been played but not since 1993.] And again we get a combination of Twist And Shout + Samba La Bamba, including Bruce's and Steve's "is it a bird, is it a plane, no it is a twister!" while a long twister line was forming in the middle of the pit. What a fun way to end this show!
After the show I'm too tired to walk immediately to the train station and all my buddies have vanished somewhere, so I decide to take a watering break. I lean to a railing outside the arena, drink warm beer in this still hot, humid summer night, look at people walking by and listen to the crickets chirping wildly (we don't have these critters in Finland) and I go through the highlights of this show. Factory + Something In The Night, definitely. Adam Raised A Cain too. Born To Run tonight was something special, so intense with this audience. And also every song which made my German buddy (sorry, I never asked your name!) go wild because they were new to him were so good moments.
This was a very good show to end my 2009 ESB tour. Thank you Bruce and the E Street Band and all you numerous fellow fans I run into (uh, sometimes quite literally) during this wild summer! I love you all, take care and keep on rockin!!
24. Hard Times
26. American Land
27. Bobby Jean
28. Dancing In The Dark
29. Twist And Shout/Samba La Bamba
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