Liisa's Show Review:
Bruce Springsteen at Stockholm Olympic Stadium, Sunday June 7th 2009

2009 Liisa Sarakontu, lsarakon@gmail.com

Saturday was a free day for us fans and for the band. In the late afternoon we had a meeting of Finnish fans: 28 of us were gathered together, and many more didn't come to that meeting. After a beer or two some of us get the brilliant idea to get our pit line numbers already in the evening! So we go to the stadium and there are LOTS of people in the forest behind it. Now I'm number 202.

And then we got another brilliant idea and went to have more beer in the Grand Hotel, where ESB is staying. (Beer was expensive. Saw Clarence and Steven. Didn't even try to get close to them. Was not thrown out from there. Bathroom had marble floor and golden door knobs. Yeah, I know that we were idiots.)

Next roll call is at 11 pm, and most of my friends doesn't bother to go back there. They decide to have more beer instead, and come back to line only at noon or so next day. My buddy Ooke and I do both 11 pm and 1 am roll calls, and I manage to sleep few hours in my bed before 6 am roll call. We stay in the forest after that because we march in line to the stadium gates little before 7 am and now we are again back where the line will stay for this day.

Morten from Denmark is in the line again, and he doesn't have any place where to put his luggage for this day as he doesn't have a hotel room. So I take them to my room and we decide to meet after the show so he can come to my hotel and pick them up. Poor Morten has gotten a bad cold for sleeping outdoors.

Now I've walked to the hotel and back so many times that my legs are already very tired, and after 9 am roll call I don't bother to go back there to try get little sleep. I just spread a newspaper on the pavement, put another over my face and sleep right there. I wake up only when some of my Finnish friends (Laukku and Elina) ask me to go eat some pizza before next roll call at 12.

This day is quite warm (or at least not chilly), no rain and the sun shows up every now and then. A good day to spend in the line. There is an election today in Sweden, and many advertisements for politicians are torn down and turned into request plates. Numerous advertisements for music festivals and other shows get the same treatment, and my thick ink pen gets lots of action as most people don't have suitable pens in the line. It helped to finish two Italian requests and at least one Swedish one, and I also write Fun, Fun, Fun (or actually "She'll have Fun, Fun, Fun - and I'll have fun too") on a small piece of paper.

Many people have copies of Expressen and Aftonbladet, the two Swedish evening papers, and as they have Bruce articles, we read them and swap them with each others. I solve some sudokus too. Some time during the day the front part of the line is driven into pens of just 18 people to prevent any rush when the security gates open. We were the "Neil Young pen" due to the big show ad just over our part of the line. Luckily we were still able to leave the pen, if we wanted.

Lots of people have missed the roll calls during the night, so that there are dozens of people who have been crossed over from the line list. Some try to re-enter the line during the day, but most of them agree to go to the end of the line and get a new number. Right behind me in the line is Chris from UK, who is 209 but all the numbers 203-208 are now missing. My friend Ooke is in the line nearly 50 numbers ahead of me, but now there are just 20-30 people between us two.

Soundcheck: Boom Boom, yes right! What is this one - oh, Fade Away! Beautiful, and they also practise a rap to go with it with some drumbeats. Then something which I at first think might be When A Man Loves A Woman, but it is Back In Your Arms Again. Oh, heavenly! Curtis and Cindy can shine in that. Then they do again Surprise, Surprise which was soundchecked but not played on Friday.

Finally we get our pink wristbands and now I have 4 different bands on my arm as I didn't want to take the previous ones away yet. Security check goes nicely and in we go. Hmm, I could easily get exactly the same spot at catwalk where I was on Friday, but I'll think I prefer fence this time. Oh, Ooke is there in front of Soozie and I join him. We see some Finns go close to middle catwalk and some stand a few lines behind Ooke and me.

At first we sit down and decide that it would be nice to sit until the show starts. But no, there is a weird rush at 6:30 PM and people really run to the stage. We all have to stand up quickly to avoid getting trampled. So we have to wait on our poor feet until the show starts, no other options any more. Well, at least the weather is nice although it isn't that warm.

Starting time! Nils is there again with his accordion, and somebody just behind me raises a plate saying in Swedish that everybody should sing along. We foreigners don't know the words, but we join anyway. First it looks like Clarence is not going to enter the stage at all as Bruce comes alone, but he finally comes from another end of the stage (via elevator, I guess) and slowly goes to his place and then it is No Surrender, yes right! The big screen behind the band goes alive and there is a collection of band photos from early 1970's to Magic tour, how lovely! I just stare at them with tears in my eyes.

Badlands is followed by Night, My Lucky Day and Outlaw Pete. Nice start, the audience is naturally very excited and takes part so actively. Then a mark to Jay, some heavy drum beats and Bruce shouts "Can you feel the spirit tonight?" Oh no, they are doing Spirit In The Night and I'm not at the catwalks! (Hey c'mon, you're an adult woman and you touched Bruce already on Friday. Just enjoy the show now, idjit.)

Bruce leans to his mic stand, screams and falls down his back to the stand so that all his picks fly here and there. Then he just sits and stares for a while, Looks scary, but luckily I know that he has done this same in some shows last year, it is just acting and he's not fainting or anything. Finally het gets slowly up (was that acting? or is he still stiff from that fall on Thursday?) and starts to sing. He comes to the catwalk, kneels there, touches people and let them touch him. Nearly like last summer.

After Spirit we get the normal trio of Working On A Dream (look at all those hands in the air!), Seeds and Johnny 99. No room to dance it properly but the whole 2nd line sways from side to side in unison, shoulders pressed to each others. We sway in such a broad arc that I hope that nobody falls down. Kinda cool feeling! Tonight we also manage to start the train thing well before Bruce calls for it, whoo-whoo!

What is this song Bruce starts now? Oh, The River! This is the song I needed most after hearing Thunder Road at Tampere, and now it is on the setlist. So beautiful, so sad. My cheeks are totally wet and especially the ending is so heavenly with that perfect falsetto part. This is so good, oh this is so good. Never mind the previous shows after which I promised to die happily, only NOW I can do that!

Jay keeps on drumming and Bruce starts to collect request now. My Fun, Fun, Fun isn't taken but never mind, I'm sure we get some really cool ones tonight. And yep, the first one is Mony Mony! Not a big surprise on this tour as it has been already played a couple of times, but it is so funny and rocking! Audience is shouting and all hands are in the air. Trapped has also been played earlier, but not in Europe. Good, good! And then that Fade Away, which was rehearsed in the soundcheck. Bruce does some parts of it on his knees and he tells a story with it. The old storytelling Bruce is back. And I got tears again running down my cheeks.

Now Bruce picks up still a fourth request. That's not a plate, it is big packet wrapped in red tape and on one side it says Surprise, Surprise in big letters. They really perform it today, way to go! It's so fun and in the end Nils, Steven and Soozie sing sing so perfectly their "Let your love shine down" parts. I'm so happy that I heard this song, too.

Then we get Waiting On A Sunny Day (could our line really sway even in wider arc than in Johnny 99? Oh yes, no problems at all) and The Promised Land. A roadie takes a mic stand to the center catwalk, and Bruce performs Working On A Highway while standing there. Then again Jay's speciality, a really rocking Radio Nowhere. Jay, I totally forgive you for not being able to play E Street Shuffle yet! Lonesome Day, The Rising and Born To Run end the main set, and the audience really put all their effort to make that last one as loud as possible.

Encore starts. No Hard Times (I would have liked to hear it still one more time) but Thunder Road, and again the audience does sing so strongly. Then the next song is Jungleland, oh this can't be happening. Big Man starts his long solo part and if I was crying earlier, now I'm totally loosing it and bawling without any control. (Dang, it is even hard to write this as my eyes get moist again.) And I'm not the only one. the Italian man next to me is wiping his eyes and patting the shoulder of a young Swedish guy, who is also crying his eyes out and smiling at the same time. Big Man looks so fragile. How many more Junglelands he still has in him after this? (And who cares about that River anymore, THIS was the song to die for!)

Back to our scheduled program after this nearly too emotional break. Land Of Hope And Dreams sounds better than earlier and we wipe our eyes still during it. During American Land Jay's sister Amy is again on the stage playing accordion. The show isn't stopping yet, because this is time for Ramrod! Yes, we needed to have some fun now. Many heads in the pit (including mine) actually turn to look at them non-visible Stockholm lights (not just "city lights" tonight) when Bruce points them to Steve. Our line has gotten loose enough for dancing and ramrodding - sorry guys next and behind me, I know that I ruined so many of your photos by pushing you or waving my hands in front of your cameras, but you know I am not that good in controlling myself during a show like this.

Dancing In The Dark means jumping up and down very hard tonight, and for some reason my legs have no problem to do that right now. They'll tell me later that this isn't a good idea, but now they just obey me. And then, Bruce shows us one request saying "Stadium Breaker" and another saying "Break Stadiums, Not Asses" and the band goes into Twist And Shout - with Samba La Bamba inserted tonight. Yes, fine! Luckily this ancient Olympic Stadium is so low and so strong that it doesn't break down. But this is the way to end a show, at least here in Sweden.

Outside I try to find Morten and people ask me about my numerous wristbands. Oh, there's Morten! I hug him because of that Jungleland (he has that very bad flu, but now I don't care if I get it too) and we go to my hotel to get his bag. We walk very slowly as both of us have hurting legs. After Morten gets his bag I go to bed but Merja and I still lie there for a while awake and talk about the show.

Next morning we go early to the airport, which is a good choice as we run into so many Finns there and really could share our experiences from these four days and three shows (or just one or two shows for some people). I am back home 5:15 pm Finnish time.

Set list

Intro: Idas Sommarvisa
1. No Surrender
2. Badlands
3. Night
4. My Lucky Day
5. Outlaw Pete
6. Spirit In The Night
7. Working On A Dream
8. Seeds
9. Johnny 99
10. The River
11. Mony Mony
12. Trapped
13. Fade Away
14. Surprise, Surprise
15. Waiting On A Sunny Day
16. The Promised Land
17. Working On The Highway
18. Radio Nowhere
19. Lonesome Day
20. The Rising
21. Born To Run

22. Thunder Road
23. Jungleland
24. Land Of Hope And Dreams
25. American Land
26. Ramrod
27. Dancing In The Dark
28. Twist And Shout/Samba La Bamba

A very good show, about the same level as Friday show. This show had these ossom highlights The River, Fade Away and Jungleland, but especially after that last one there were no high rises any more and the Twist And Shout ending was even slightly lazy this night. Friday didn't have such highlights, but the intensity of the show built up all the way until that super fun Detroit Medley.

I really think it was a very good idea to get tickets to all three Stockholm shows. It was physically hard so soon after Tampere, but I managed to do it without problems even in my age and with all this extra weight I'm carrying. Some of it is missing now, as I had only one dinner during these 6 days (Tuesday to Sunday) and spent so much time either dancing wildly or walking between hotel, stadium and the city center. Actually my I had to raise my pants several times during that Sunday show as I didn't have a belt! "Loosing a couple of pounds with Bruce in six days" diet...

Luckily I have still Frankfurt show waiting for me after 4 weeks or so. See ya all there!

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