2003-03-22, Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia

The Rising Tour
War
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Notes

Appr. 3 hours, 20 minutes. Longest on the tour this far.
Several times during the show the power in the building is lost.
"Born in the USA" is done? solo acoustic.
"Rosalita" is a tour premiere.

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
1511
David Howitt wrote: All the reviews of Bruce's concert of March 22 have been almost totally focussed on the quality of the sound. Here's a viewpoint on the performance from someone who was close enough to the front to enjoy good sound.

Admittedly there were 4 power failures, but these only served to build a bond between band and audience. He opened with a solo 12-string acoustic version of Born in the USA followed by the Edwin Starr classic War (what is it good for?) with full band when the first power outage occurred. To see the look on Springsteen s face change from frustration to joy when he heard the 30,000 audience spontaneously respond to the failure by continuing to chant the chorus until the power came back on was priceless.

Although newer material from The Rising and crowd faves from Born in the USA dominated, Bruce dug deep into his back catalogue pulling out classics such as Darkness on the Edge of Town, Out in the Street, Backstreets and of course Born to Run which would ve blown the roof off the SCG if it had one. His harmonica playing on The Promised Land thrilled.

Of course the E-Street Band offered more than able support. Clarence Clemons superb sax playing was highlighted on powerful anthems like Thunder Road and Badlands, guitarist Nils Lofgren played a beautiful extended intro to Counting on a Miracle, and Roy Bittan got to shine on Ramrod.

Bruce thanked the audience for helping them get through the sound problems in the first hour of the show and seemed determined to make it up to us by playing on for an incredible 3 hours and 20 minutes without a break! The man s energy level is amazing and he can still manage a knee slide or two across the stage and climb a speaker stack.

His final treat for us was to bring out the rarely played Rosalita, which had the arena jumping. The audience wouldn t let him go and after a quick band consultation they ripped into an all out jam on Darlington County to complete a truly memorable evening.

Greg Baker wrote: Wow! I saw Springsteen last time he was in Sydney on the Tom Joad tour, but last night was the first time I've seen him with the band.

Nothing can prepare you for the sheer energy, showmanship and optimism of a full blast concert. Not even ten years of listening to bootleg CDs of classic concerts.

The sound was a bit dodgy and failed four times, but each time the band improvised like a group that's played together for thirty years. After the troubles, Bruce laughed and joked. And he certainly put in an extra effort to more than make up for the problems.

So, the actual show.... Where do I start? The Born in the USA / War opening ripped through the night. Most of The Rising album was played, and with passion. A good mix of rocking tracks from Darkness and The River and Born in the USA. Throw in Backstreets and this fan nearly passed out.

I've waited years to hear Thunder Road live and last night it happened. Words can't describe. This was the highlight for me and the end of the first part of the show.

There were no pauses before the first encore. Bobby Jean, Ramrod, Born to Run...all played with unbelievable adrenalin. Bruce slowed the band and took to piano for My City of Ruins, then dedicated Land of Hope and Dreams to those in Iraq.

Then into the final phase...Dancing in the Dark and the stadium erupted, Glory Days and then Rosalita (!!!!!!!!!).

And finally, with the crowd exhausted, the show ends with Darlington County and Bruce saying he'll never forget Sydney.

Nor will the Sydney-folk at the show forget him and his band.

Diego Gonzalez wrote: Man what a show. I saw the band back in '85 when I was only 17and have always told everybody who would listen, that it was the greatest rock n roll show ever. Eighteen years, a wife and three kids later and the legend was only reinforced last night. 3hrs 20min of pure energy, fun and the best music to hit these shores in 18yrs.

Paul E. wrote: Techno glitches that would have caused other bands to crumble seemingly drove Bruce and the E Streeters to new heights. I saw them 5 times in 1985 in Sydney and this concert was everything and more - with Little Stevie by his side, Bruce seemed to genuinely enjoy himself. The band was tight and by the end of the show, the crowd was wearier than the Boss who undoubtedly would have done more but for the noise restrictions (which he'd already breached by playing on 'til 11.30PM). Highlights - Rosalita, Born to Run, Thunder Road and Mary's Place, but they were all brilliant.

He showed Sydney last night that he truly is The Boss. Hmm...is there a flight to Brisbane that I can hop on for Wednesday's show??

Dean wrote: Maybe it's because Americans aren't used to playing at cricket grounds? But then again the same can be said for the English cricket team.

But as the the show opened with Born in the USA then War, I thought the sound was dreadful, very tinny and bouncing back, then for the first time that night the power went off. I sat there feeling misearable.

It was nearly 18 years since I last saw Springsteen, back in 1985 at Roundhay Park, Leeds, before that 1981 at the NEC. A lot has changed since then I now live in Sydney for a start.

I thought this is a mistake coming back to see him after all these years, has the guy lost it? Well after 3 hours and 30 minutes the answer is a resounding NO! The guy is brilliant, a genius, I didn't want him to go off to stage and neither did Bruce.

Rosalita and Thunder Road were an added bonus.

3 times I have seen him, not many I know but each time it has been at differant stages in my life and each time a different partner has accompanied me!

Bruce you still have it.

Peter Hickey wrote: I just wished to forward my thoughts from one of the greatest nights in my life.
As an Aussie, we have waited long & hard for Bruce to bring the band down here. Well the wait was worth it. Thursday night I got to the front of the stage for most of the gig in Melbourne. Unfortunately with current events in Iraq, the band & the crowd were understandably subdued. That's not to say we didn't love the show, it was all & more than I expected. But it didn't have the joyous vibe I was hoping for.
Luckily I went to Sydney last night.
In Australian colloquialism "The show was a balltearer." Apart from the four power outages that interrupted four separate songs. When the lighting, sound & screens all died at these points, Max belted the skins as hard as he could, Bruce and the rest of the band led the crowd in clapping along to whatever the song was, (War, Rising, Waiting & Worlds Apart) and a very enthusiastic Sydney crowd sang at the top of their voices until power could be restored, usually after a couple of minutes. Bruce joked about the problem but after the third drop out it was clear he was getting a bit peeved. The band seemed to really enjoy the night, & Bruce worked much harder on his voice than he had in Melbourne (where he had worked his fingers off on the guitar).
The crowds patience with the nuisance power was more than rewarded. We got 3 and a half hours and something I never even dreamed I'd get to see. Rosie was played as the fifth song in the second encore. Bruce started by saying this is a song we don't play very often so they might be a bit rusty. Rusty it was not. The joy that the crowd felt was mirrored by the band as they belted out the showstopper of all showstoppers. Clarence was enormous on the sax. If that was not enough, the band didn't seem to want to leave, neither did the crowd. Bruce offered up one last song, saying the band hadn't been down here since the early eighties so we should probably play something from that era. And a rollicking version of Darlington County concluded the night of my life. Now I'm off to the last 2 Aussie shows in Brisbane later this week. I doubt they could top Sydney, May my hope bring you hope.

Colin Jones wrote: The most disappointing concert experience of my life.

The technical problems that beset this show ensured that it never gained any momentum until the band hit the stage for the encores.
The SCG was 3/4 full at most also contributing to a lack of energy or excitement throughout the night. The sound was shocking, like listening to The River album playing through $2 speakers wrapped inside a blanket.

There were some people in the front section that appeared to be having a good time. As for the middle-outer ring of punters, the only time I saw any movement was when the beer needed a refill or when they'd decided that enough was enough and headed off home. One of the few rock concerts when you actually needed to stay to the end in order to beat the rush to the carpark.

In the midst of early days of the Iraq invasion, Springsteen opened with the moving and passionate acoustic Born In The USA, followed by War. The show was set to be a memorable one, perhaps making the ultimate show-stopping technical problems a greater frustration.

As for the tour premiere of Rosalita? I was already in the carpark and to be perfecly honest, didn't feel like I was missing very much.

As for Bruce, well he was obviously embarassed but just seem to laugh it off. Sorry would have been a nice gesture.

The promoter blamed Springsteen management who blamed the promoter who blamed....Less than 6 months after this tour finished, the promoter (a long time Australian promoter of international acts) virtually went bust. Springsteen's name was mentioned in dispatches to the shareholders...from start to finish and beyond this tour was a mess.


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