2003-06-21, Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Sweden

The Rising Tour
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Notes

Appr. 3 hours.

"Working on the Highway" appears in Europe for the first time on the tour and so does "Twist and Shout". The latter is done in an attempt by Bruce to "break the stadium" the way he did in 1985 when his show caused the foundation of the stadium to shift.

After "Mary's Place" the crowd sings a Swedish birthday song for Nils Lofgren, who turns 52.

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
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Martin wrote: This was my first Bruce Springsteen show. I had a chance to see him in Stockholm in october 2002, but i skipped that and I was on fotball instead. Bruce was even better that i though he would be. The best songs was "Waitin' on a sunny day", "7 nights to rock" and "Twist and shout". Twist and shout was twenty minutes long and it was a great crowd and we sing along with Bruce. I haven't heard 7 nights to rock before, but after the show its my new favourite song. We buyed our tickets from the "black market" and we get tickets on row two, it was really good tickets.

I really hopes that Bruce is coming back to Sweden soon, and next time i want to go to the both concerts if he plays two.

Magnus Lauglo wrote: When the band came out, they were clearly excited. Clarence emerged wearing a midtsommar wreath of flowers in his hair. Bruce and the band clearly have many fond memories of Sweden, and throughout the show Bruce would frequently make jokes about breaking the stadium again. They went into The Rising to open up. I saw Clarence looking about himself in wonder during the first song. At both shows in Sweden, the crowd in front of the stage would bow to him in mock ?I am not worthy style? whenever he played a solo. After being slightly subdued in Oslo Steve was back to his old self, crouched over his guitar like some sort of Teenage Mutant Guitar Hero Turtle. Nils, who was celebrating his birthday was in great spirits all night. The crowd loved him, and would go on sing Happy Birthday to him in both English and Swedish at various points throughtout the show. Only Patti, who seemed to be preoccupied with something quite upsetting didn?t seem to be having a good time. She did loosen up later on, but she clearly wasn?t having her best day.

The first few songs saw the crowd up front more lively and pushy than they had been at any of the shows I had seen before. It would take a little longer for the people in the reserved sections to rise up, but rise up they would. The Ties That Bind replaced the setlisted Promised Land and the rest of the early part of the set resembled Oslo in song selection. I think Darkness sounded better in Oslo, but only by a fine margin.

You?re Missing returned to the set and seemed to work well enough in such a large stadium, but I was at the front, and couldn?t tell what it was like further back. The band and crowd were a little distracted during this song, and the next few, by someone in a paraglider or parachute who hovered high over the stadium for a while, buffeted back and forth in the wind before disappearing. Whoever was up there must have gotten one hell of a view, but was ultimately distracting and a safety hazard for those below.

After Waiting on a Sunny Day, Darlington County was setlisted, but Bruce grabbed a black acoustic guitar and went into an impromptu Working on the Highway, done in a similar way as it was on the last tour, except that at the end Suzi played a fun solo. It was loose, it was fun, it was completely unexpected. It was great, and the song deserves to be played some more over the course of the summer. It was followed by a muscular No Surrender, which I believe was also an audible.

Several songs later, as Bruce was preparing the audience for the introductions to the E Street Band, he surprised me by declaring ?Before you can have a house party, three conditions have got to be satisfied. Or perhaps four tonight!? Predictably, the music had to be righteous, twice in a row, and ?The Swedes have to get your Swedish asses out of your Swedish seats?, But then it came; ?And four, we gotta? break the stadium again!? It was a great moment and a sign of things to come in the encores.

We got the full band version of The River next, for the third night in a row. I would expect it to be played a lot for the rest of the summer. It worked well in the slot between Mary?s Place and Into the Fire, although some fans might have preferred a slightly older song in that spot. At this point, it is hard to see Bruce bring back a solo piano song to the show. He is playing massive stadiums every night now, and US crowds being what they are, I think it would be a mistake to try to pull out some of the solo piano songs that worked so well last year.

Thunder Road closed the main set after Into the Fire, instead of the setlisted no Surrender (which had been played already that night). The song sounds much better than it did on the last tour, probably because Bruce isn?t insisting on singing it slowly anymore. It also works better than the others songs I?ve now seen in this position (Promised Land and No Surrender) With Clarence sounding so good these days, it would be a shame if this song dropped out from the show now. Expect it to make regular appearances for the rest of the summer, even if it doesn?t come out every night.

The encores were loud and robust as usual, although the first encore set was quite standard. Lots of fans had expected Cadillac Ranch, because that would give Nils the opportunity to wear that massive foam cowboy hat on his birthday, and I had thought it might pop up in the encores, but this was not to be. They planned to play Where the Bands Are, but dropped the song, going instead into Bobby Jean. During Ramrod, a wreath of flowers was placed on Roy?s head as he played his solo, right before Bruce returned to his mike to demand; ?OK Mr and Mrs Sweden, what time is it??

If the first encore was a little disappointing, compared to Oslo, the second encore set did pack a little surprise, which many fans had been expecting for the second night. As Dancing in the Dark finished, and I thought the show was over, Bruce went up to the mike; ?One more for 1985!? It was of course, a rambunctious Twist and Shout. Along with Working on the Highway, this was the song that got the crowd at the foot of the stage going completely mental. It must have lasted at least 7 minutes, or more and demonstrated how much the second encore benefits from a little less predictability. The fans in the very front in Europe are predominantly the ones who camped out, and have been to lots of shows already. A surprise or two thrown into the last hour of the show is a nice little gift for the fans who have heard Ramrod, Born to Run, MCOR., LoHaD and DITD a bunch of times already. I caught up with Webmaestro Karsten and Glory Roads after the show. As with all the GL people I met in G.burg, I would have liked to have more time to chat.

The first show in Gothenburg was a strong show which had its moments of magnificence. The Swedish newspapers loved it, I didn?t get a chance to look properly, but I got the impression that the show got top grades in most, if not all the major newspapers. Certainly, the atmosphere before the show was unparalleled by anything I?ve seen (including the following night), but the band?s performance will rank just below Oslo in my memory. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it even more if I had been more physically comfortable. It was a very hot day, there was a lot of pushing throughout the show, and in the second row, you don?t have the benefit of the barrier that you do if you are in the very front. If Bruce could bring a stadium this size to life, it is clear that the problem with stadium shows is not inherently the size of the venue so much as the people sitting far away from the stage. The US summer tour will see shows at stadiums this size or bigger every single night. Those shows don?t need to be an anticlimax, but only time will tell. At the Oslo show no alcohol was being sold inside the stadium. Perhaps this may be part of the answer of to how to deal with a huge crowd?

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