After Frankfurt, everyone takes a high speed train to Köln (Cologne), just about an hour away. Yes, when I say "everyone" I really mean everyone that counts, aka over 90 % of all the Finnish fans now in Germany and of everyone else I saw in the previous pit line. Again, a quick checking in the hotel and then to the stadium which is situated several kilometers outside the city, and now I have number 80 on my hand. This time I do have a FOS (pit) ticket, so now I really have a reason to keep up with the roll calls.
After another Finn meeting (this time 26 people from our fan forum, this is our 2nd biggest meeting before a show and like 5th biggest meeting ever) and lots of local Kölsch beer back to the stadium for the midnight roll call, and due to a very slow tram ride, we don't get too many hours of sleep before morning roll calls start - but hey, we didn't exactly get here to SLEEP! Sleeping is highly overrated, just like seeing anything but the outside of a local stadium or having windows in a hotel room. Besides, a person can survive for days with just pretzels, local sausages and beer. As long as there is enough beer. Mmm, German beer...
Sunday morning and noon are spent mainly outside the stadium. Ah, lovely green grass, lovely big trees giving us shade, beer and sausage stands and some porta potties close enough. Good Finnish friends around me, plus some nice Germans and Dutch we just met. Is there a better way to spend one's day but to lie on grass on a warm (but not too hot) and sunny day and listen to the very best live band in the world there is doing a sound check? That's a proper way to do some waitin' on a sunny day!
Later during the afternoon we 500 numbered ones are fenced, given wrist bands and kept in order, but we still can go to potty or get something to eat. Our buddies still in the city (watching car racing on tv, d'oh) send text messages to us and ask if we could tell them when the gates will open, and we entertain us by making up the most stupid and annoying answers we can ("oh, the gates are just being build, they can't be opened yet" and "we'll text you after the gates are opened").
Finally, around 5 o'clock, us numbered ones are walked (yes, really walking and no running!) on order (yes, really in order, even here in Germany!) to the pit, and oh, a where's good place for me, uh, HERE! At the end of the 2nd catwalk at Steve's side - although this is not a proper catwalk like it is at bigger stadiums, but just some kind of a ledge which doesn't even go all the way to the fence. But I have my back to the fence now, I'm as close as I can get to, this is good. Uh, a man with a kid arrives close to me, do I want to see this show so close to such a young kid? Oh wait, that's a super cute kid, and seems to be prepared to sing. A perfect Bruce magnet, this looks promising!
After some sitting, waiting and chatting with Dutch, Swiss and Italian fans around me (I somehow managed to lose all the other Finns), there is an early pit rush and we have to stand up. But already after about 5th set list change, everything is ready for th show and then suddenly the walk in music is on, and then, No Surrender!
Right, this sounds good, a new opener and one of the songs I really wished to hear today! Then we get a lovely version of Two Hearts before the normal pair of We Take Care Of Our Own and Wrecking Ball. During the latter, I salute with my water bottle during the line "So raise up your glasses and let me hear your voices call" like I did already in Frankfurt. I can afford this, as I have THREE full water bottles (with caps) as there was absolutely no security check at the gate.
The Ties That Bind is a request, and it seems that Bruce is now doing a totally different show from what we heard in Frankfurt two days ago. Then it is time for Death To My Hometown and My City Of Ruins. Oh how beautiful and numerous these hands are on the screens during "with these hands"! Mine are up too, naturally.
The preach in the beginning of Spirit In The Night was rehearsed at least twice during the sound check, and now it goes more smoothly than last time, and it is also different from last time. Soon, very soon Bruce is coming here, perhaps close enough for me to touch him again! The song starts and here he comes, does he lay on hands like he did yesterday? He just eyes our group of fans and probably decides that there are too much girls and not enough strong boys here, and so he just first leans over some fans little right to me and then turns his back to the audience and leans back. Just where I stand. Just against my hands. Oh, his shoulder blades are so wet and sweaty, and there he is just singing and leaning on our hands. Oh, (pat pat) his middle back is also so sweaty. Uh, should I dare, uh huh he is just there, and I'm just behind him... (pat pat) sheesh, his butt is so damn tight and sweaty too, I hope no-one saw this! (Luckily only after the show I heard that everyone and their grandma saw all that from the big screen. Aw hell, isn't he supposed to be a responsible adult and understand not to shove his arse too close to crazy fan girls with naughty hands?)
Uh huh, Spirit continues and Bruce goes to the other side of the stage to charm other folks but I'm like wasted right now (just remember to breath, please) but luckily I see the Finnish girl trio Laukku, JG and Kristin on the screen in the front line somewhere on the other half of the stage and their hungry eyes and gaping mouths show that they do really feel the spirit tonight, too! I shout to everybody around me that look, my buddies are there! Bruce goes on singing to folks here and there and lying on other folks. That was one Spirit, sheesh!
Then back to the more normal show routine. E Street Shuffle, another strong and thoughts-raising Jack Of All Trades, and then, oh, that's Atlantic City, something I've really expected to hear, yes! Somebody comes from the backstage to the side of the stage during this song, isn't that Jon Landau? Another "lifer" for me!
Now that is one familiar riff, that's Darlington County - but why does Bruce look like that, and why does that riff now change a little? No, these are not the Darligntion lyrics, what on earth is this, oh dang, Honky Tonk Women! Oh, how the audience is singing now! Just a snippet and then back to Darlington County which is always fun, but with that Rolling Stone hit it is even funnier! No need to see Rolling Stones ever (like I haven't seen), as Bruce can do all their hits and probably better that they themselves can do these days :-)
This is followed by She's The One, another funny summer song, then Workin' On The Highway and Shackled And Drawn just like in Frankfurt. Now it is time for Waitin' on a Sunny Day, let us make room for that Dutch guy and his cute kid so that they both can get to the rail. According to what I've seen from the screen, there are not that many other kids and this is by far the cutest of them all. I guess we'll get another close to Bruce moment soon! Oh, that kid lost a shoe while the man raised him on his shoulders, can he sing with one shoe? This moment my mommy instinct somehow managed to overdrive my Bruce fangirl instinct, and I picked up the shoe, put it back on his tiny foot and tied his shoe laces. All the time singing along, naturally, and looking over my shoulder to see if Bruce is coming here.
Now it is time to pick a kid, and sure, Bruce is bee-lining just here! The shoe is now tightly back, the kid is ready, we all are ready and uh huh, Bruce is again so close! But then those dang Italians next to me decide that this is the perfect moment to shove their stupid request plates between Bruce and the kid, and instead of drooling over Bruce, I end up trying to keep those plates back so that Bruce can pick the kid safely. The kid doesn't turn up to be the best singer in the world, but he anyway does his part and oh, how Bruce is beaming and loving this! Just look at his face! I don't exactly love Waitin', but I just LOVE this moment!
Bruce hands the kid back and again my hard elbows are needed to keep those Italians and their requests back so that Bruce can hand the kid back. Everybody around us high-fives after this! Except these Italians, but who cares... Sheesh, that was the best Waitin' ever!
Hey, what now, why are Cindy, Curtis and Jake coming to the front row, that can only mean Apollo Medley! YES YES YES! The Way You Do The Things You Do, and 634-5789. We all dance! Yes, that's your number, Bruce, and now I'll call you! Bruce doesn't crowd surf here, but he walks to every catwalk and again lets people touch him (me too, again! Eek, I'll never wash my hands after this show!)
The River is again as beautiful as always. Then it is The Rising, and then probably Lonesome Day... no, instead of that it is Radio Nowhere, another "I'd really love to hear that one once more" song! This calls for jumping up and down, definitely, instead of just raising hands. Now it is time for We Are Alive, and then (was it a request?) we do hear Land Of Hope and Dreams. Then there is that sax solo. That was Clarence's last solo, and now Jake does it so beautifully. Now I finally get it that there is no Clarence any more. Really. Totally flood gates open.
I'm still wiping my eyes and trying to gather myself, when Bruce counts in a familiar way and once again it is Born In The USA. Ah, time to keep my fist up and jump, jump, jump. Then Born To Run, and the Dutch guy and me put arms around each others and sing. I don't know him, he doesn't know me but you know, it is okay because tramps like us do stuff like this.
I bet there's at least one more hit song coming up, and sure, now we all sing the first verse of Hungry Heart. Time for end songs? No, Bruce now launches a really rocking Seven Nights To Rock and we can all dance and sing! So fun! Then Dancing In The Dark (again jump, jump, jump, my legs seem to be working still) and 10th Ave - no, still one more request, American Land! Hey, I don't mind, it is a fun song and again I will jump, jump, jump. In the end we get the full "You've just seen the heart-stopping, pants-dropping etc. legendary E Street Band!" unlike in Frankfurt, yes! And only after that Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out and the end of the show.
Again well over 3 hours, although a little shorter than in Frankfurt. 29 songs, as Honky Tonk Women doesn't count as full song and Apollo Medley counts just as one song. No lifers for me, but still 12 different songs from Frankfurt! How many acts this big can change their set lists like this from one show to next?
Now I just have to wait for like 6 weeks or so before my next show, which will be in Prague.
23. Born In The USA
24. Born To Run
25. Hungry Heart
26. Seven Nights To Rock
27. Dancing In The Dark
28. American Land (request)
29. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
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