It was little past 6 pm on the day before the show when I arrived at Synot Tip Arena (east from the center of Prague, rather easy to reach by tram), and I got #97 on my right hand. Not bad, as with a number below 100 you normally get to the front line, if you just want to. Then to my hotel (yes, naturally you have to get a number first and check in to the hotel only then, first things first) and the rest of the evening our group of Finns had beer, roll calls, pizza and roll calls. Uh, and still some more beer.
Next morning part of my precious number had magically moved to my LEFT hand, and the rest of it was all over my pillow, but luckily the line keepers had their inks ready and everyone's number got drawn again. Us smaller numbers spent most of the day outside the arena. Normally such a pit line crowd in Europe consists mostly of local people, but this Czech line was incredibly international: There were Brits, Germans, Dutch, Italians, Russians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Americans, Polish, Danes and probably many more. This was about 100th show for that one American man, but the very first one for this Czech girl and that Ukrainian boy. It was so fun to chat with all these people!
The day was hot and the sun was still high when the gates were opened at 4 pm. The sun finally went below the walls only an hour or so before Bruce started. The security check was rather slow but that didn't matter to us who were there in time - but it looked like too many people arrived only closer to 7 pm and it seemed to take ages to get inside at that time, like we heard on phone (one of Raimo's buddies was there queueing to get to the seats).
We all had been standing more than an hour due to a stupid early stage rush before the show started. Now, that's finally their walk in music, no wait, that's Bruce himself playing an acoustic guitar! What is this, a local tune or what, oh fucking shit this really is solo acoustic Ghost of Tom Joad! We had again played the "what will be the starting song" game but nobody would have ever been able to guess this! Enter the band, and Badlands! Then Prove it All Night with a killer solo in the middle and a longish outro, oh boy what a start for this show! Ain't I glad that I'm alive and here witnessing this! This is already much better than either of the German shows I saw!
Now back to your regular program: We Take Care of Our Own, Wrecking Ball, Death to My Hometown, My City of Ruins (I still love those audience hands during "with these hands") and Spirit in the Night. During Spirit, Jake came to the middle catwalk and sat there with Bruce playing sax. Ah, beautiful, I loved that! Also during Spirit Bruce came to our catwalk (the one on Steve's side) and kneeled there to sing to a pretty girl. I managed to pat his legs a little, but he was closer to the boys (Kartsa & Raimo K) left to me and they took care of most of the touching. Before the show they had scolded me for always trying to be close (too close), that I should concentrate more of the music and not groping, but now, look at your own hands boys! Later they explained me that they had just admired Bruce's sturdy studded shoes, but uh, gentlemen, last time I checked, his shoes were much lower that that...
People had quite a lot of request plates in the audience, especially close to the catwalks, and Bruce really starts to pay attention to them now. I have naturally my old Pink Cadillac plate with me (this is its 4th show), but again, Bruce isn't interested in it. But at least he now touched it: during Spirit, he shortly stood on it as I kept it mainly on the catwalk and not held it up except for very short times. Now Bruce grabs a plate, what it is, oh, Candy's Room! Then straight into She's The One, and so there won't be E Street Shuffle this night.
Still another plate, that's Blowin' in the Wind! Is he really going to do THAT? Well, he could, but it should be solo acoustic. But no, Bruce just shows it to the audience and says that "That's the other guy!" Well yes, but you know, the other guy doesn't exactly take requests... He is ready to start a song, and Kevin brings his harmonica rack, but Bruce goes back to the catwalk and gets another request plate - This Hard Land! The theme song of our Finnish fan community, the very same song which is printed on the t shirt I'm wearing right now! Our song! We even went through some of its lyrics before this show. YES! I'm showing my shirt front to the Germans right to me and Brits behind me and explaining all this to them during the intro!
Jack of All Trades follows, and then Atlantic City and Because The Night. Yes, I hadn't heard that latter yet this year and like I had told the boys, it was high on my wish list as I really like it. And what a solo by Nils during it! Then Bruce goes to the catwalk to get yet another request, and now we really hit the jackpot: My Love Will Not Let You Down! Oh good heavens.
During Working on the Highway a pretty girl joins Cindy and Curtis to sing backgrounds. Is she Olivia Tallent, Garry's daughter? That same girl was taking photos from the side of the stage before show. And with a new hat choice, Bruce proves that pink is the new black. Shackled and Drawn, I love it when Garry gets to do the background vocals during this song while Steve steps away from his mic.
Now we are Waiting on a Sunny Day. Can't help it, this is actually a fun song to sing along. The River seems to have an even longer falsetto part in the end than normally, his voice sure is in a good shape as he can do those pure sounds so long! The Rising and all the hands are up again, and a beautiful Land of Hope and Dreams ends the main set.
Like normally, the band doesn't leave the stage and when the clapping starts to turn into Badlands' woo-oo-oo-oh-o, they start Thunder Road and then its time for the tears once again. It doesn't matter how many times I hear this, it seems to have the same effect to me nearly every time. Born in the USA follows. Hmm, that wasn't a good intro although the song itself is strong. I think its start hasn't worked for some reason too well during this tour, although it was about perfect on 2008 tour. But Born to Run after it is perfect and that's what matters!
Bobby Jean was yet another request (although, like with all other requests during this show, it looked like Bruce was going to play it anyway but then just went and picked a suitable plate from the audience). Seven Nights to Rock makes even the rest of the audience to stand up, and in the end of it Bruce really tortures his guitar. How many strings did he break? He doesn't bother to get a new guitar with intact strings but goes straight into Dancing in the Dark. After it they did that "Bruce fainting and Steve pouring water on him" schtick, and now Roy pounds the intro of Tenth Avenue Freeze Out from his piano. Bruce jumps on the piano, tears his shirt open, throws the vest and shirt away (with some help from Roy, those wet sleeves do stick to skin) and stands there in his thin wet white undershirt, and wow, that's a body you can proudly show to an audience!. A total "just for Jersey girls" moment! The show ends with Twist and Shout, with all horns in the front line with the rest of the band. This is fun!
Oh, what a show! After it it we still continue with a high-fiving, hand-shaking, hugging and beer mug raising session with all the Finns we can find (plus some Danes, Germans and Russians too, Russians know how to hug!) and list all the highlights of this show together before leaving the arena and going back to our hotels by tram or by walking, promising to see each others again further up on the road. It is just two weeks to Gothenburg shows, and then the end of the European leg in Helsinki! Remember, that last one isn't yet fully sold out, and as there's a Southside gig in Helsinki the day after that, who knows what will happen...
1. Ghost of Tom Joad (solo acoustic)
3. Prove it all Night
4. We Take Care of Our Own
5. Wrecking Ball
6. Death to my Hometown
7. My City of Ruins
8. Spirit in the Night
9. Candy's Room (request)
10. She's The One
11. This Hard Land (request)
12. Jack of All Trades
13. Atlantic City
14. Because The Night
15. My Love Will Not Let You Down (request)
16. Working on the Highway (Olivia T. (?) doing background vocals)
17. Shackled and Drawn
18. Waiting on a Sunny Day
19. The River
20. The Rising
21. Land of Hope and Dreams
22. Thunder Road
23. Born in the USA
24. Born To Run
25. Bobby Jean (request)
26. Seven Nights To Rock
27. Dancing in the Dark
28. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
29. Twist and Shout
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