Liisa's Show Review:
Bruce Springsteen at Ratina Stadium, Tampere Finland, Tuesday June 2nd 2009

© 2009 Liisa Sarakontu, lsarakon@gmail.com

A Bruce show in Finland again, YES! But not in Helsinki this time but in Tampere, huh? Thatís not that far away, but there seems to be no public transport after the show back home (I live close to Helsinki) so that means I have to drive there. I donít like to do this long road trips alone, but it is quite easy to find people who are willing to ride with me.

I heard that the line had started already on Sunday evening, but Iím quite sure that if Iím there early Tuesday morning, I will still get a queue number which is under 100. Monday evening I heard that there were already 74 people, but Iím still going to wait for the morning before I start my car because Iíve promised to meet Merja at 5:00 in Helsinki and then we head north.

We arrive at Tampere around 7:00, manage to find a free and legal place to park the car about 1 km from the stadium and and then to Ratina! There canít be that many people at this time of the morning, right? But there are, and my number is 180. Well, that guarantees me a good place in the pit anyway although now I have to forget the front line. Merja doesnít yet get her number, as she canít be there for the 9:00 roll call as she has other things to do that morning.

Hmm, letís see if I can find anybody else that I know - hey, that one girl with number 171 is wearing a black Finnish fan forum t-shirt (I have the blue version on) and she is staring at me as I have my Pink Cadillac request plate and she has one too. We tell our names and sure, Johanna and I have been reading each others Bruce related postings and other stuff for years and so it is now time for us to be show buddies for today. We find other people we know from the line, as many other are wearing similar shirts. You can see the shirt here in both colors.

Most of the folks in the line were naturally Finns, but there were also quite many Norwegians, Italians, Russians and some Swedes and Irish. Probably other nationalities were present too.

Folks arriving around noon got numbers between 500 and 600 and after that no more numbers were given out. There were roll calls at 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00 more and more people were arriving. We numbered folks were free to come and go between roll calls up to 14:30, and after that it was recommended that we stay close to the line as the wristbands might be given out even before 15:00.

The security checks start around 16:00 and although the line is in very good order before that, the local security guys donít care about a stupid number system controlled by stupid fans (unlike in Helsinki last summer) and after getting wrist bands, we are not in order any more and the security tells us to stay put and not check any numbers any more. Well, we got some parts of the line back in order anyway and I find my show buddy Johanna again.

We have been waiting for a soundcheck for a while and now is the last possible time for it, but nope, no soundcheck today. This is probably a bad sign, perhaps there will be no new songs tonight for this tour?

Then the doors open and we are in! I walked (no running allowed, like normally, and most people didnít even try to run) to the further side of the stage and as all good places next to the catwalks were taken, I chose a spot at the front railing between Clarence and Nils, and just one person between me and the fence. Johanna managed to get a spot beside me, and now we had about 2 hours to wait. We sat most of the time, chatted with people sitting close to us and tried to guess which songs would be played. We had both followed earlier setlists closely, so we know mostly what to expect.

Road crew does their job on the stage, the setlist guy is there at least three times with a new list every time and Kevin Buell gets applauded when he shows up. Now the monkey men (the tech crew talking care of the overhead lights) start climbing up, and we all cheer and clap. Several of them smile, wave to us or bow. Bruce doesnít use a warm up band or any other act, so they kind of fill that place! There is some delay with them, but finally they are all in their places and all the instruments are tested.

And then about 15 minutes after the official starting time a long-haired cute kid jumps behind the drums, thatís Jay Weinberg! Oh, thereís Steven as well and in a moment the rest of the band arrives on stage too. Last ones are Bruce and Clarence, who has clearly problems to walk even when using a cane and with Bruce helping him. And Badlands starts the show, like expected. Woo-oo-oo-OO-o!

Radio Nowhere is the second song tonight, my very favourite from the Magic and then we get Prove It All Night. A nice start, three rocking and well known songs to make even the Finnish audience wake up. Outlaw Pete follows with wild west images shown on the back of the stage and Bruce wears that black outlaw hat in the end (isnít it so that good cowboys always have a white hat, and outlaws have a black hat?) All the front of the pit know the lyrics like we should. Can you hear us now, Bruce like our fan shirts say?

Out In The Street is among my favourite songs nowadays, as it was so well suited to my life last summer and I love to hear it again tonight. Now Hungry Heart, which is followed by Working On A Dream with that building a house rap. That house has that sexual healing and all the other stuff like the river had last summer and so it is ok with me. Then comes Seeds and Johnny 99. They are followed by The Ghost Of Tom Joad, which resembles the version with Tom Morello. I had really waited to hear all these last four ones, and from earlier setlist I naturally knew that they all would most likely be played.

And now, now we get Raise Your Hand and all plates, papers, cardboards, sheets, clothes and whatever go quickly up and everybody hopes that their requests would be gathered! There Bruce runs up and down and takes at least 20 requests including Racing In The Street and From Small Things and oh no, he doesnít even look at Johannaís and my Pink Caddies. Well, I hang mine to my belt again and save it for the next show in Stockholm and just raise my hands and keep on enjoying the show.

Then to the request part. Which ones he has chosen? Just his own songs, or will there be any covers? There were requests at least for My Sharona and Heartbreak Hotel, but they were probably not collected. Ah, Cover Me is the first one. Not among my favourites, but it is good to hear it anyway. Then we get Because The Night, thatís so good because that is one song I really, really love!

And whatís the third one? Bruce is down on his knees suffling through cardboards and papers and canít find something, he throws them around and checks them all again - and then finally picks up a bent, sad-looking little cardboard saying Thunder Road - and Iíve got tears in my eyes. My very favourite Bruce song, and this is the first time I ever hear it live. In Finland. I seriously do love Bruce.

Now we are back in the scheduled program. Waitiní On A Sunny Day, oh itís fun to sing along! The Promised Land - well, it is good no matter how often you hear. Then Bruce goes to the center catwalk and picks up still another request cardboard which has a long song name, what on earth does it say? And why I donít recognize the song the band starts to play? Now I see the sign, and it is The Dark End Of The Street. Bruce first tells a long story about cheating and stuff, about him fooling around when he was younger and then fooling around again still more and only then starts to sing. Wow.

After it he kind of says that his fooling around days are over or something and dedicates Kingdom Of Days to Patti (who isnít in Finland tonight). Now we hear Lonesome Day and The Rising, then Born To Run and the main set is ended with 21 songs. But like always, the band is back in a moment for Hard Times. Oh boy, they sing it so beautifully with Cindy and Curtis and many people in the pit including Johanna and me join too in the chorus.

Bobby Jean! Never heard that one either, and I would have been disappointed if I hadnít gotten it during this tour. I always find funny the part about liking the same clothes, when we have last time seen Bruce in anything which resembles Stevenís typical colourful outfits? Land Of Hope And Dreams and American Land are a fitting pair. Gotta finally try to learn all the lyrics to the latter one for Stockholm shows.

All the band is still on the stage looking happy after American Land, and that means that at least one more song is going to follow. Clarence, Bruce and Steve fool around arguing if they should continue playing or not, and the next song turns out to be Glory Days with a fun What time it is - it is Boss time! interlude. Perhaps still one more song, because there are few minutes to the curfew at 10 PM? Sure, Bruce goes to the middle catwalk again and picks that one request which has been held high there for most of the show and again, only in Finland Santa Claus Comes To Town in the middle of summer! Somebody throws something soft-looking behind Clarence, Steve points it out and Nils picks up a red Santa hat and places it on Bruceís head!

The band is not going away even after this, and break the curfew by several minutes by playing Dancing In The Dark. Even if it isnít dark yet, the sun isnít down but its last rays still hit the highest tiers of south side of the stadium!

Thatís it. Now it is time to walk out from the stadium, say bye bye to Johanna and Merja (who managed to found us after the show) find the three guys who are going to ride with me back to Helsinki and try to figure out where I left the car. And when we head towards south, we see that most of the audience of 30,000 seem to be doing to same and so the traffic is quite chaotic until we finally get out of Tampere city.

Okay, this was a very good show but on my list it doesnít beat the Helsinki show last summer - I think that hardly anything can top it ever. Setlist was mostly what was expected but we got a couple of nice surprises like Thunder Road - now I can die happily. It was the real highlight of the evening for me, but that The Dark End Of The Road was a true gem too and I bet that most real fans (veterans of more shows than I am) will really appreciate that one.

The E Street Band was quite happy last night. Their work is nearly seamless even with Jay Weinberg. It was easy to notice that before several songs Bruce specially shouted the name to Jay and showed him when to start or stop. Steve too took care of him and literally conducted him during some songs like Santa and even showed him the right hits with his hands. But isnít that kid one eye candy? Jailbait to me for sure, but perhaps I could marry my daughter to him? It was fun to watch him play, and Bruce made sure that he was properly introduced to the audience. I bet that there were lots of folks present who had no clue that Max wasnít going to be on stage. (And also lots of folk who had no clue what is the name of any drummer of Bruceís band - and donít even care.) Somebody had a cardboard with a message to Jay (couldnít read it) and Bruce sent Jay to that person after the main set to greet him/her and to give his drum sticks.

Poor Clarence really walks bad but he was anyway standing for the most of the show and especially during the latter part of the show he was raising his hands, dancing and singing backgrounds. Somebody had a big red heart which said Play It, Big Man! and Bruce picked it during one of Clarenceís first sax solos and brought it to him. Curtis and Cindy helped him away from the stage, and they really moved slowly.

Nils has just had a huge hip operation? And said in an interview that he has to avoid extra jumping and stuff in order to make these new hips last more than 5 years? Dear Nils, you really think thay will last even close to that when you dance like a dervish? He anyway had a chair on the stage and sat down for few songs. I also think that his face looks older than in last summer.

Steven knows how to have fun on stage, oh I love him! He didnít get to shine with so many solos last night, but he got to sing duetto with Bruce many times, he grins and makes faces all the time and hey, he was even running on the stage at one time! Isnít that normally just Bruceís job? Gotta try to get a spot in front of him in one of the Stockholm shows.

And then Bruce. He really doesnít get old. Jumping, running, shouting, now being in this end of the stage and in a moment at the opposite end. He leads the band, conducts the audience and gives spotlight to different band members all the time. He slings guitar around his neck, bursts water out of his mouth, throws his acoustic guitar high (good catch, Kevin!) and takes contact with the audience. (Although not as, uh, intimate as during Magic tour.) He works so hard to make this show more than just any rock show - and he succeeds in it. Iím deeply grateful for this experience.

Set list

Start time 7:15 pm or so

1. Badlands
2. Radio Nowhere
3. Prove It All Night
4. Outlaw Pete
5. Out In The Street
6. Hungry Heart
7. Working On A Dream
8. Seeds
9. Johnny 99
10. The Ghost Of Tom Joad
11. Raise Your Hand
12. Cover Me
13. Because The Night
14. Thunder Road
15. Waitin' On A Sunny Day
16. The Promised Land
17. The Dark End Of The Street
18. Kingdom Of Days
19. Lonesome Day
20. The Rising
21. Born To Run

22. Hard Times
23. Bobby Jean
24. Land Of Hope And Dreams
25. American Land
26. Glory Days
27. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
28. Dancing In The Dark

End time 10:07 pm

28 songs, this far the longest setlist on WOAD tour.

Back to Liisa's Bruce Springsteen page