2006-11-14, Hallem FM Arena, Sheffield, England

Seeger Sessions Tour
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Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
Pete wrote: What a show! We saw Bruce and his band in Manchester back in spring. That concert was good but this was even better. The musicians are all much more confident and the overall sound is tighter. Bruce, of course, was his usual self. Does he ever give an under par performance? I've never seen one and I've seen quite a few over the years. Long may it continue.
There were too many highlights to mention after 24 songs over two and a half hours. I particularly enjoyed Youngstown as Bruce gave a mention to Sheffield and its declining steel industry before delivering a grest version of what can be an underrated song. Bring Them Home was touching. We had a couple standing nearby whose son was still out in Iraq and you could almost feel the significance of the words to them.
Some of the livelier songs saw Bruce at his showman best.Open All Night was frenetic and Pay Me My Money Down had everyone singing along merrily. I absolutely loved the Pogues-like American Land. Bruce and the band seemed to feel the same!
We were stood close to the front this time and it was great to see Bruce at such close quarters and to watch how he communicates with his band. This man is a genius!
All in all another brilliant bit of ' Magic in the night '.As usual after one of Springsteen's shows I now have an adrenaline hangover but have the consolation of another happy addition to my musical memory bank.

Andrew wrote: This was to be the thirteenth time i saw bruce since Roundhay park leeds in 1985.I had been to birmingham and wembley on sunday.I live close to sheffield so i was hoping this was going to be another good show.I arrived early at 7.45 am and was fourth in line general admission.We self organised the line,effectively doing securities job for them.Due to the persistancy and vigilance of those at the front of the line we did get into the venue safely and fairly.I managed to get centre front first time ever,a great position.The folk version of Blinded is brilliant in my opinion.Other highlights were open all night,youngstown,and bring em home.I was unable to concentrate on the second part of the show,due to a teenage girl who decided her place was in between first and second row!,head on my right elbow!.Her father who had been constantly jabbing me in the back,claimed there was room for everyone!.What i was hoping to be a great night,at my local venue,was spoiled by a selfish,inconsiderate family,who were also local to the venue.At the two previous shows,i had stood with swedish,spanish,italian and american fans ,no problems.Thirteenth bruce show?,unlucky for me!.

twofacesuk (jim) wrote: bruce took to the stage around 8.30pm and blew me away from the sart. the highlight was froggy went a courtin as he did it for my son (liam) who was asleep by the end of the show, and when he made the audience go quiet at the end (he said the little guy was sleeping) it brought a lump to my throat. amazing.

Keith wrote: Forty years ago, and forty miles away, a popular folk singer plugged in an electric guitar, embraced rock and roll and was called Judas. Tonight a popular rock and roller embraced folk music and emerged triumphant.

?Thank you for taking a chance on me? said Bruce Springsteen before sending the ecstatic sell out crowd home singing Froggie Went A-Courtin?

Ironically the opening song, Blinded By The Light, came from his debut album when he was hailed as the latest ?new Dylan?. As with most of his own songs performed tonight it had little in common with the version on the record beyond its lyrics. Backed by a sixteen piece band, including a four piece horn section, almost every song was treated to a glorious wall of sound unlike anything normally heard by the rock and roll audience. As early as the second song we experienced the bizarre phenomenon of a rock audience cheering a banjo solo.

The show featured a generous helping of Springsteen originals, all reworked for the new band. None worked better than The River, transformed into a wonderful mix of folk and gospel. If there were such a thing as an Irish spiritual, this is what it would sound like. Acknowledging Sheffield?s role as a steel city the Tom Joad song Youngstown received its tour premiere, sung as a duet with guitarist Frank Bruno.

The standing crowd on the arena floor was in good voice throughout, especially on the songs Erie Canal and Oklahoma Home. During the latter Bruce manfully carried on, just managing to avoid laughing as a lone voice shouted ?blown away? at the wrong point.

Introducing another song from his debut album, Growing Up, Bruce apologised for the absence of his wife Patti who was at home with their three teenage children. ?Those kids just won?t behave? he explained, ?We must have gone wrong somewhere?.

During the singalong finale to the main set, Pay Me My Money Down, Bruce turned to the stands and announced it was the ?moment of truth, time to separate those Sheffield asses from those Sheffield seats.? Everyone complied, seats and asses remaining separated for the remainder of the show.

After a refreshingly brief pause, the six song encore opened with a rare outing of Pete Seeger?s anti war song Bring ?Em Home. Introducing When The saints Go Marching In he said that this song explained what the show was all about. The slowed down arrangement worked perfectly with band members Marc Anthony Thompson and Lisa Lowell each taking a verse. Before Froggie Went A-Courtin? sent the crowd away happy there was one final bar room blast from the band, a Spingsteen original written especially for this project, American Land. A case of ?Tonight Matthew, we?re going to be The Pogues.?

Pete Seeger allegedly threatened to cut the cables with an axe when Bob Dylan picked up an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival. Although this show was probably even louder, I?m sure he would have approved.

Kevin Turner wrote: What a great night! Went to the Manchester gig in May and I thought this was better. Might have been because we were standing up for this one.
The band didn't come on stage til 8.15 due to an accident on the M1 and stayed on stage until 11.00 with a one minute break. Lots of fun, energy and great great music. The horn section were superb. Highlight for me was the re-working of Atlantic City, the rendition of Youngstown for "Steel town" and American Land. The audience really appreciated the band and during "Pay me" everyone in the house was rocking. Great stuff Bruce. Thanks again.

Miichael Allison wrote: Very average show. Show started 45mins late - no explanation / apology! Music too loud and and undefined - a wall of noise with little clarity. Choice of songs was average although the "Sessions" tracks came out very well and who cares what his political opinions are? Wish he would keep them to himself he is an entertainer by definition - stick to it. Call me old fashioned Possum but why can't he keep his fruity language to the locker room. I can hear that sort of talk in any factory without paying ?50 for the privilege. Overall very disappointed and doubt I will check him out again.

Simon wrote: Blinkin' brilliant.

I've been a bit sour on the old boy of late I have to say. 'Devils and Dust' didn't do it for me, and I wasn't blown away by the Seeger CD - it's just not my particular taste in folk music unfortunately.

But, never underestimate the power of the live Bruce. This show was great, full of fun, passion and power. There was little talk, just lots of astonishing playing by an incredibly tight band.

The highlights for me though were the simply stunning reworkings of some of the old songs. 'The River' and 'Atlantic City' just took my breath away, probably worth the admission price on their own. 'You can look' wasn't far behind. A clean and uncluttered tour debut of 'Youngstown' worked nicely too.

Lark-about highlight: "Time to get your Sheffield arses off your Sheffield seats. This is your arse; this is your seat; separate 'em". Everyone duly did!

Bruce remains a staggeringly good performer (I think in the years between shows I forget just how good sometimes), and has amazing energy for a bloke not that far away from his sixties. He still looks like he loves every single second of the ritual: "I'm going to ask you that same dumbass question you've been asked at a 1000 rock and roll shows - do you feel allright?". We did.

Wonderful. Come back Bruce ...

Murray from Manchester wrote: What a thrill to go to a Bruce concert with my 26 year old son who had converted to Bruce about a year ago and is now as fantical as his dad.
He has gone back through the whole catalogue and has an Ipod full of the Boss.
I have seen Bruce many times and recalled stories to my son of the E Street band gigs-so many highlights in my my life of unforgettable nights.
Loved the Manchester Seeger show which I attended with my wife who stepped down this time for my son.
I was a little nervous that the gig was not going to live up to the hype my son had heard about for all these years.
Then WOW --Blinded by the light with the crowd roaring back BLINDED at each chorus and we were all systems go.No warming up for Bruce but as usual he goes straight for it-giving all and nothing less.
Band even better than Manchester,confidence sky high.
Highlights so hard to define so many but The River what an arrangement-what a buzz to hear my son sing with me "no wedding day smile, no walk down the isle , no flowers ,no wedding dress."--Magic.
More sing along Seeger then "Well they blew up the chicken ranch in Philly last night--even more Magic.
I could enthuse and enthuse about each song but hey whoever is reading this knows where I am coming from.
What a start what a middle and what an end even with Bruce and the band going a la Pogues.
Cant wait to go to the next tour with the E Street band whenever that may be.
Manchester United in Barcelona 1999 and Springsteen nights- memories memories memories that will never fade.


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