Bruce Springsteen sizzles at Hard Rock Calling Festival in Queen Elizabeth Park
Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band took to the stage at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday evening with a vigour that defied London’s lethargy-inducing temperatures. Springsteen was faced with an army of eager, sunburnt faces, resolute in their determination to vanquish the memory of last year’s washed-out headline set at a swamp-like Hyde Park that infamously climaxed in a pulled plug and a quote from Boris Johnson.
Amid the dust and dirt of a half-reconstructed Olympic Park, Springsteen extinguished any fears of repeated disappointment with a boisterous opening salvo of thigh slapping sing-along Shackled and Drawn, fan anthem Badlands and Prove It All Night – a highlight of his Wembley performance two weeks earlier. The band strutted around the stage with an air of magisterial defiance, taking audience requests and spitting them back with tempered aggression.
The London crowd two weeks ago swayed along to a complete performance of 1976’s Darkness on the Edge of Town. This time the Olympic Park was treated to a track by track reprise of Born in the USA: spectacular versions of Downbound Train and I’m on Fire were highlights of the set, and were followed by Springsteen inviting his 87-year-old mother to join him on stage in a nod to the Courtney Cox role in the video for Dancing in the Dark.
After polished executions of The Rising and Light of Day the E-Street band momentarily departed to vociferous applause. They returned moments later to lead the weary, swaying, 50-thousand-strong crowd in a heartfelt, hymnal rendition of Jungleland before launching into a breathless encore that included Born to Run and American Land.
Springsteen has always been a man with the charisma to exercise unique control over his audience, and during his three hours onstage he clinically plucked at his back catalogue to deliver a perfectly judged set that united the huge crowd in ceremony. His final offering was a spontaneous performance of My Lucky Day in place of his usual curtain closer Thunder Road. It captured the night’s sentiments perfectly – Macca and a pulled plug nothing but a distant memory.
For further information and future events visit Bruce Springsteen’s website here.
Watch the video for Dancing in the Dark here: