Liisa's Show Review:
Bruce Springsteen at Stockholm Olympic Stadium, Thursday June 4th 2009

2009 Liisa Sarakontu, lsarakon@gmail.com

Bruce and ESB are on the road again, but should I be happy with just one show in Finland? Definitely no, and so I have got to try to get at least one ticket to Stockholm as well. Or two. Wait, there is a third show too, and as I fly over there anyway, let's do all three shows. Otherwise I'd be pissed afterwards just like last year, when I saw just the 1st show in Gothenburg.

So, off to the airport early Thursday morning and hey, that's Ramrod from our Finnish fan forum who is sitting next to me. We chat happily all the way and when landing Arlanda, I spot Bruce's airplane in the middle of the field. Poor Ramrod, it isn't too easy to sit by the window when someone like me tries to jump over him while still wearing seat belts, pointing with her finger and shouting!

The hotel turns out to be quite a dump, but what you can expect when it was so cheap? Never mind, off to the stadium to get a line number for tonight. It's about 8:30 am when I'm there, it is raining and I'm number 320. Okay, not bad as that'll guarantee me a decent place in the pit quite close to the stage. Ramrod turns up little later and he gets number 332. Next roll call at 9 am and then at 11 am, so we have a little brunch and get back to the line. After next roll call we have lunch.

Afternoon goes on and we stay mostly in the line. We manage to meet some other Finns, and many people are easy to recognize due to our blue and black fan forum t-shirts. The line is very international. The girls in front of me speak German, and there's an Italian family behind me, both parents and all kids have Outlaw Pete hats. Swedes, Norwegians, Finns and Danes can be found in front of and behind these folks. There's a very nice pair of older English ladies too and I talk a lot with them. When I tell that I would marry my daughter to Jay, they tell that their granddaughters would be more suitable for that than their daughters. Did I mention that it is still raining and it is quite cold?

Soundcheck! At Tampere there was none as the band arrived so late, but now they are playing Who'll Stop The Rain - hey wow! All the line joins the chorus as we try to keep warm. They do also My Lucky Day. Not possible to sit in the line, we have to stand as the ground is so wet.

Finally we get our red wristbands and get in. As the entrance is on Soozie's side, I go to Clarence's side as I know I will get closer to the stage there and I'm in third line now. No sitting in the pit either due to damp ground, although I really have to rest my legs somehow and finally I sit for about half an hour although everybody else is standing. And the rain keeps falling.

A-ha, now the crew has finally fixed the leaking stage roof and start climbing to the lights and taking the instruments out. The young tech guy who was slow and might have screwed something with lights at Tampere is made to wipe the floors now and he tries to dry the stage. There's really quite a lot water on it, and more keeps coming down. Luckily I have my leather jacket and raincoat, so I'm not actually cold unlike most others.

Now, now there's Nils! And an accordion! He's playing some traditional Swedish tune which I don't know while the rest of the band take their places. Then they are ready and start with Who'll Stop The Rain, YES! I love this, I've always wanted to hear ESB do a CCR cover and I have wanted to see a show on a rainy day so that they might play just this one. The rain doesn't stop anyway, but the show is on! After Badlands we get My Lucky Day, which wasn't played at Tampere. Oh, I'm happy because I've thought that this would work nicely live. And just like I have though Bruce and Steve are sharing the mic.

Then the setlist goes on much like it did at Tampere (Prove It All Night, Outlaw Pete, Out In The Street, Working On A Dream, Seeds, Johnny 99, The Ghost of Tom Joad) but that doesn't matter, I wanted to hear all those songs for another time. Outlaw Pete is a good live song and the audience just loves it, black hat and all. Johnny 99 is still as rocking, this is a real dance tune and I have enough room to actually dance, just like at Tampere. No pressure on this side of the pit. This is my 5th show ever, and now I really feel that I could dance to some of these songs instead of just standing and staring at Bruce all the time. Does that mean that I've seen too many shows? Nah, can't be. I just enjoy moving to the music. GA is the way to go for me, I'll leave the seats to other folks.

Raise Your Hand means that we take our signs out and I've brought my Pink Cadillac drawing here too. I've managed to protect it from the rain (yes, it is still coming down) with a disposable raincoat but still Bruce isn't interested in it. He sure saw it, as he picked another request (River, I think) just next to me and so I put my pink cardboard down and decide not to take it with me tomorrow any more.

What we are going to get now, this is interesting! I'm Goin' Down is the first one, cool! Not one of my favourites but a nice tune anyway. The request paper is so big and flexible that it doesn't stand on its own, and so Bruce calls someone to help to hold it up - and tell that this little smiling boy is Clarence's son. And then they do Cadillac Ranch. Now my Caddy request plate kind of got a song as any Cadillac song would do for me, and I even take my cardboard up again for a little while and rock it to the music. Because The Night was already played at Tampere but never mind, it is a good song anyway and I love to hear it again. Hey, Bruce takes still another plate up and the band goes into Wild Thing. Groovy!

Waitin' On A Sunny Day is a happy singalong in this weather (no, the rain hasn't stopped) and The Promised Land always wakes up the part of the crowd which prefers older songs. Then a slow one, what is this? The Wrestler! Nice, I got to hear it too! Then Bruce gives her greetings to Patti and sings Kingdom of Days. 5 songs from the WOAD, I like that.

We have still Lonesome Day, The Rising and Born To Run before the encore, which starts with Hard Times like always. Then come Bobby Jean, Land Of Hope And Dreams and American Land just like on Tuesday - except that we have now THREE accordion players on the stage instead of the normal two, as Max's daughter Amy is here too and joins the band during this song.

In the latter part of American Land Bruce jumps to the lower part of the stage, slips and falls to his butt and then goes down all the way. And lies totally still on his back on the wet stage. Oh shit, the fall didn't look like he hit his head, but did he hurt himself badly or is he unconscious? Everybody just stares at him for a full second, and then Nils runs to him. But just as Nils reaches Bruce, he gets up smiling and continues American Land.

He seems to be moving ok, but that was still quite a fall. Was he just fooling when he was lying there, did he knock air out from his lungs or did he try to figure out how badly he was hurt? Or did he just think "Oh, crap, I hope that nobody saw that"? When the band returns to the upper stage from the catwalk, Bruce doesn't manage to do the last jump at the first try and Curtis is there immediately giving his hand. But Bruce waves him away and jumps up on his own with another try. Anyway, I guess that that fall might hurt some.

After American Land Clarence, Steve and Bruce fool again in the middle of the stage arguing if they can do another one or should end the show there. The normal arguments include stuff like it's late, it's dark and it's sleeping time, and now Bruce has new arguments to add: he has busted his ass and broken his hip. Anyway they continue with Glory Days and then the Swedes get their very own favourite: Twist And Shout and then the show is over.

I watch the band leave the stage and the tech guys start to tear stuff down. I turn my back to the stage and after I've walked a few steps, a small thing lands just beside me. What's that - oh, it's a guitar pick! Who dropped it? Nobody else notices it, so I pick it up. A white one with a blue dot in its middle and rough parts for getting a good grip. It is quite big and very thick, could this be a bass pick? Next day experts tell me that it is Bruce's pick, and the roadies normally throw the unused ones to the crowd after the show. Now I have one, cool!

My legs are totally busted due to standing nearly nonstop since morning, and when I walk in the rain back to my hotel, I don't do much better than Clarence. My arms don't seem to raise too high anymore either. How on earth I'm gonna stand tomorrow and wave? I write some notes down before hitting the hay and I decide to try to get up early tomorrow to get another good number for the next show. Good night, let's see what tomorrow will give us.

Set list

Intro: Idas Sommarvisa
1. Who'll Stop The Rain?
2. Badlands
3. My Lucky Day
4. Prove It All Night
5. Outlaw Pete
6. Out In The Street
7. Working On A Dream
8. Seeds
9. Johnny 99
10. The Ghost Of Tom Joad
11. Raise Your Hand
12. I'm Goin' Down
13. Cadillac Ranch
14. Because The Night
15. Wild Thing
16. Waitin' On A Sunny Day
17. The Promised Land
18. The Wrestler
19. Kingdom of Days
20. Lonesome Day
21. The Rising
22. Born To Run

23. Hard Times
24. Bobby Jean
25. Land of Hope and Dreams
26. American Land
27. Glory Days
28. Twist and Shout
29. Dancing In The Dark

29 songs. Better show than at Tampere, I think, but not a perfect show and certainly not even close to Helsinki 2008. Basic setlist was the same, but I heard 7 tunes which were not played at Tampere, including 2 more songs from WOAD. No huge surprises like that The Dark End of the Street this time, but a nice setlist anyway. Show highlights to me were all the singalongs, as Swedes sing so nicely, strong Seeds and rocking Johnny 99.

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