by / May 26th, 2008 /

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – RDS, Dublin

The Boss in Dublin

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – RDS, Dublin – 23rd May

Certain things go through your mind while standing at the back of the RDS at your first Bruce Springsteen gig. Is that really Danny Devito and Ben Stiller playing guitar? Why are these people in rugby shirts taking pictures of themselves instead of watching the gig? As for Bruce himself….erm…is that it? It’s hard to approach your virgin Springsteen show with any other expectation than it is going to be an experience of biblical proportions, well because that’s what everybody says. That’s a lot for a mere gig to live up to and, shifting from foot to foot surrounded by people in rugby shirts taking pictures of each other, you have to say that it falls short.

As a causal Springsteen observer, and one not massively taken with the new Magic album either, it all passes us by and is – so help us God – just a bit dull. As it turns out, such heresy proves to be the making of the night, that and deciding to actually try and get near the stage. Once close enough that the screens become an enhancement rather than a necessity and amongst more of the Springsteen faithful, it all begins to make sense. The man himself is amazing, spending as much time down amongst the front rows as he does working the sides and back of the stadium. In the hands of others, such actions may seemed forced and clichéd, but here it feels utterly natural. His voice is strong and forceful too and when he gives his only political speech of the night to preface ‘Livin’ In The Future’, passionate as hell.

And yes, the E Street Band are everything everyone says they are, the unsung hero Nils Lofgren quietly doing his thing while Steve Van Zandt mugs it up at every opportunity. ‘Mary’s Place’ is the moment that lifts the show, just as dusk begins to turn into night. The comparatively lightweight newie ‘Girls In Their Summer Clothes’ (Springsteen by numbers, let’s face it) keeps the party vibe flowing, before ‘The Rising’ and ‘Badlands’ fill the whole arena. To be fair, a show this size is never going to have the life changing intensity of the Point or, let’s be greedy, Vicar St but as an epic ‘Jungleland’ segues into a roaring ‘Born To Run’ even we, the ones who were doubting this just two hours ago, realise that this is probably as good as it can ever get and, yes, we have had our own personal epiphany. Mass is finished, go in peace.

Photo by

  • Mike

    Top gig! despite the rugger and the sound getting slightly lost at times, as a former bruce-atheist i was converted! hooray!

  • Of all the great armies of rock fans, few can match the devotion of Bruce Springsteen’s. For them it’s not just catching just one show-it’s about catching them all. Anyone who has experienced Springsteen in concert will testify that the bond between audience and artist transcends the usual adulation. Something magical, almost mystical happens. Some might describe it as spiritual-most definitely it is life affirming. It is in trying to nail this phenomenon that the beautiful hardbound For You has arrived.
    Edited by Lawrence Kirsch and replete with an amazing welter of outstanding photographs, it’s a mind-blowing collection of thoughts and stories from fans of every age and many nations, each explaining why Springsteen occupies such an important place in their hearts. Covering all four decades of Springsteen’s career it is possibly the ultimate fanzine for it is the fans who have made the journey and whose words tell us as much about them as they do about Springsteen. The warmth and humanity that flows from every page is truly moving and provides a beacon of hope from which we can all draw strength in these hard times. Not a book to be read at one sitting but rather to revisit and enjoy over time.

  • Robert O’Connor

    This was an amazing show. I spent the last six months dreading the thoughts of sitting through two hours of material from The Rising and Magic just to hear a few of Bruce’s amazing classics (also not bothering myself to go out and buy the albums in order to become familiar with them).

    From the moment Bruce and the E Street’s walked on stage they delivered some of the best music, showmanship and fun I’ve ever seen or had at a gig. I couldn’t believe how quickly each new song grew on me and you could hear tracks like ‘The Rising, Radio Nowhere, Livin in the Future, Devil’s Arcade, Mary’s Place and heaps more becoming instant classics. When The Boss did play classics such as Murder Incorporated, Dancing in the Dark, Glory Days, Born to Run and Badlands’ They didn’t stand out too much from the new material, in terms of delivery or excellence which is a true sign that Bruce Springsteen is as good a songwriter and showman as he ever was.

    In the days following the show I heard a few people complaining about the lack of hits and the complete absence of ‘Born in the USA’ . I have to say this didn’t bother me or the people I was with in the slightest. Bruce covered material from several classic albums he just avoided the hits which any true fans (not including myself, I was strictly a best of before this gig) usually praise their bands for. As far as I’m concerned, the concert pushed me to go out and buy some albums I would have ignored if I hadn’t gone and I would have missed out on some of the best music that has been released this century.

    Looking forward to seeing him again in the near future.

  • kev hardiman

    Was in the R.D.S,Dublin last night 11/07/09 to see The Boss. Its my 2nd time and what a gig! The music is outstanding and i barely noticed the torrential rain pouring down. I wish i was going again tonight as i finally get what all the fuss is about.

  • In the works: THE LIGHT IN DARKNESS Lawrence Kirsch Communications, creator of the recent book For You, is working on a new book called The Light in Darkness, to focus specifically on the Darkness on the Edge of Town era. Like For You, the forthcoming book will feature concert photography and stories from fans. Kirsch tells Backstreets, “This tribute to Darkness will be something special: more passionate stories, breathtaking never-seen-before photos, and some discovered artwork and memorabilia gems that will be of great interest to fans no matter when they were introduced to Bruce’s music.”

  • jon

    great review of born to run i found here,