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#226 Bruce Springsteen @ Kilkenny Nowlan Park (July 27th 2013)

Support: Glen Hansard / Damien Dempsey / Josh Ritter

I have been going to gigs since 1989. In 2010 I began writing a book on live music, specifically the 226 gigs (so far) that I have attended myself. Maintaining this site can be time consuming yet I love doing it. It is my ‘labour of love’; my passion. Through the power of the Internet I get to talk to people with the same love of music. In the last three years I have written about some great gigs but as I sit here feeling exhausted, my body aching, head slightly fuzzy and my red sunburnt face already peeling, I have an odd sensation...I actually feel overcome, overwhelmed and not worthy.  The reason? Mr Springsteen.

Bruce Springsteen - Kilkenny Nowlan Park July 27th 2013

Of the 227 gigs, 8 of them have been Springsteen. For the ‘Wrecking Ball Weekender’ in Kilkenny I had left it late getting tickets for the first gig and as a result the entire town’s bed allocation was already sold out. I did consider sleeping in the car although the wife soon put paid to that idea pointing out that showers would be needed after 3 and a half hours of jumping up and down to Bruce (what she really meant was there was no way she was sleeping next to my stinking sweaty mess of a body. Thanks love). 'Luckily' a few days before the gig we managed to secure a pitch in a local campsite although the experience may well have put us both off camping ever again. More on that later.

You know the weekend is going to be a great one when a local man asked us whether we were going to the concert. Replying in the affirmative he went on to tell us how he didn’t like the idea of standing in a field looking at a man in the far distance. He did also tell me that the last gig he went to was Boney M in the late seventies. I decided that his opinion didn’t really matter.

There was good support for today’s gig in the shape of Josh Ritter, Damien Dempsey and Glen Hansard.Glen’s rendition of the Auld Triangle including backing vocals from Dempsey was a joy and his whole 60 minute set was hugely enjoyable helped in no small part by his beaming smile throughout.

You never, ever really know what to expect from a Springsteen gig although ThisLittle Light Of Mine has opened recent shows. We get the same here and  can see why as it is a great way to get the energy levels up right from the start. There is no big stage production with Springsteen. He doesn’t need it. With somewhere in the region of 17 / 18 musicians performing at any one time you know the sound is going to be great and there really is no need for fancy stages and pyrotechnics.

There is a freshness about the E Street and there is a genuine spontaneity on song selection. Sign requests Shake and Sweet Soul Music get the collective asses moving early on, Johnny 99 gets better every time I hear it, Wrecking Ball is becoming more and more epic, The River kills me every time and then we got what I was hoping for…the Born In The USA album played in full - ‘from  top to bottom’. This was the album that I grew up with. My brother played it over and over in the 80’s and it got me hooked (although it would be years before I would see him live). I know it is cooler to love Born To Run and Darkness (which ofcourse I do) but USA reminds me of my childhood and I love every song from it. Glory Days was my favourite track on the album back in the day and is great again tonight but I think now Working On The Highway is the one I enjoy the most. The Born In The U.S.A. song itself seems to have been reborn the last few years and it is sung with more and more passion these last few years.

Springsteen encores are almost as epic as the main set itself. Glen Hansard came on to sing Drive All Night with Bruce. It’s a song Glen has covered many times in his live set and he is fantastic on it here. It really is a terrific version and is a major highlight of the night. You did the nation proud sir. To finish off we get Born To Run, Tenth Avenue, Shout and back to This Little Light Of Mine. I never stopped moving throughout. The set finished with Bruce  alone on stage singing Thunder Road acoustically. I actually had a tear in the eye. I genuinely, absolutely did. That’s a new one for me but Springsteen really does bring out every emotion…

So another great Springsteen gig. I think this is possibly the best I have seen. It certainly felt that way. I couldn’t wait for round 2...after hitting Kilkenny for a few hours after the concert we headed back to the campsite. Unfortunately the wife, when wandering in the dark, tripped over a tent cable and landed smack down on the floor. Her jaw got the full force. Alcohol numbed the pain but it would be back the next day. Obviously as a supportive husband I took the piss relentlessly. Then managed to trip over the same cable managing to keep my balance but not my dignity and pride.

Ticket: July 27th 2013 / Wrist Band

Ticket Price: €90.00

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