The Boss is resurrected in time to do the rest in Spain

Music news

The Boss is resurrected in time to do the rest in Spain

An American flag flies above the stage of the Civitas Metropolitano. It is tiny compared to Atlético de Madrid outside, perhaps as a metaphor for the size of the working class spirit these days, no matter where you are reading this. In one of the most exciting moments of his show, so much so that his speech will be subtitled in Spanish, Bruce Springsteen will remember his first steps in a band, before becoming an idol for the working class.

At the age of 15 he was a member of The Castiles, remaining with them for 3 years, “an eternity for a teenager.” He will dedicate the recent 'Last Man Standing' to them and will assert that “what a time to be a teenager in the United States was 1965, 1966, 1967.” It is impossible not to think during his speech about the differences between the protests over Vietnam and the few there are over Palestine. While this flag waves, very timidly, after an afternoon of rain, one does not know whether to look with hope at the presidential elections that await in the fall on the other side of the pond, or rather to prepare for the worst.

Which does not mean that we do not have to appreciate the moment in which we have lived. The Boss resumes his tour in Madrid after a couple of weeks off due to hoarseness. This tour with his iconic E Street Band is being somewhat bumpy. His intentions to tour almost five years ago had to be postponed due to the pandemic, then some stomach problems arose. Despite the media coverage of the adversities compared to everything that comes out nickel-plated, finally almost 120 concerts will take place between 2023 and 2025, and in Madrid and Barcelona up to 5 of them will take place over the next 10 days.

In contrast to the fashion of shows without musicians and with all kinds of technical paraphernalia, the E Street Band is almost trolling. Around twenty people appear on the back steps of the stage one by one, greeting. There are trumpeters, saxophonists, backup singers, violinists, pianists and everything usual at rock concerts. Bruce is recognized thanks to a subtle change of shot on the screens, and his white shirt under the black vest. The stadium collapses in front of the artist who, at 74 years old (not a single review remains without emphasizing his age), is still willing to perform almost exactly 3 hours on stage, to Billie Eilish's despair.

The audience forgets about the 20-minute delay with 'Lonesome Day' and 'No Surrender', the first two songs. Posters of love for rock'n'roll proliferate, which will be the star of the night. For the third song, 'Ghosts', the Boss will be ready to go down the stairs, which again and again will connect him with the first rows of the audience, and by extension, with the rest of the stadium. It's still daytime in Madrid, and immediately the lights will add some magic to a minimalist and austere show, very different from what The Weeknd offered in the same venue a few months ago, so to speak.

Every Bruce Springsteen concert with the E Street Band is a tribute to his band, for example very noticeable in Roy Bittan's piano in the version of 'Rockin' All Over the World' or that moment in 'Darlington County' in which Soozie Tyrell's violin shines as the Boss pours the rest back into the pit. Speaking of the pit, 'Hungry Heart' – my favorite – is chaos down there, letting the masses make it their own. Springsteen takes 'The Promised Land' much more seriously: “Sometimes I feel so weak, I just wanna explode” resonates, which seems like an analogy of what will happen to his voice throughout the night, from less to further. And he hypnotizes that moment when during it he throws the guitar into the air, a roadie catches it and he goes for the harmonica and then to the audience again. Although with obviously more cautious movements, the truth is that it does not stop.

The show may suffer from some monotony, a characteristic in principle not so associated with the author of 'Nebraska' or 'The Ghost of Tom Joad'. Maybe a macro stadium is not the place to remember depending on which songs. Nor does the drum machine of that masterpiece called 'Streets of Philadelphia' that chilled the heart of the world with beautiful lyrics about the physical decline that derived from AIDS fit. This time not even adapted. The artist prefers to recover songs from this century from 'Wrecking Ball' or 'Letter to You' than to play 'Born in the USA' itself, which sometimes affects the rhythm of the set.

Instead, he loves doing covers. 'Because the Night' by Patti Smith Group (with music written by himself), with the entire stadium engorged, is one of the highlights of the show along with 100% own pieces such as 'Badlands'; 'Nightshift' by Commodores will add a touch of soul with the invaluable help of Steven Van Zandt; and he still wants to recover that 'Twist and Shout' that he did in his younger days, the last of the first group of encores. Around midnight, in the last group of songs, the fully lit stadium lights do the same with the mood and 'Born to Run' and 'Dancing in the Dark' are quite a party. It is that part of the set in which the screens increasingly focus on people dancing and singing, standing on the shoulders of friends and partners. The energy for the songs and how endearing Bruce Springsteen is is contagious.

The artist, who had made an effort to say a few words in Spanish after having given dozens of recitals in our country, chose to perform one last acoustic encore with 'I'll See You in My Dreams'. While some were already desperately chasing the subway, knowing that they were in the back of the world on a Wednesday morning, others will take that intimate image of the artist to the grave, promising us that “death is not the end.” And 8 years after his last concert in Madrid, who knows when we will see him again?

Avatar photo
Simon Müller

Simon Müller is the driving force behind UMusic, embodying a lifelong passion for all things melodious. Born and raised in New York, his love for music took form at an early age and fueled his journey from an avid music enthusiast to the founder of a leading music-centered website. Simon's diverse musical tastes and intrinsic understanding of acoustic elements offer a unique perspective to the UMusic community. Sporting a dedicated commitment to aural enrichment and hearing health, his vision extends beyond just delivering news - he aspires to create a network of informed, appreciative music lovers. Spend a moment in Mueller's company, and you'd find his passion infectious – music isn’t simply his job, it’s his heartbeat.