Bruce shakes Cape Town again!

30 Jan

bruce_28 january 2014_liryn de jager (11)

(More pictures at

Whatever was in the air on Sunday night in Cape Town, was in the water barely two days later on Tuesday night as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band reached the halfway mark of their first South African tour.

With the Belville Velodrome busting at the seams and a “Hello South Africa!” Springsteen set the tone for another three+ hour marathon session that afterwards were described by fans (who have racked up 100+ shows) as right there at the top.

Free Nelson Mandela dutifully kicked off proceedings again but it was quickly evident that this one was going to be way different than the first one. Right off the bat Springsteen hauled a host of signs up onto the stage, something which he didn’t touch on Sunday. No Surrender was first up, followed by Two Hearts and The Ties That Bind.

Kicking the signs down that he propped up against the mic stand, Springsteen launched into High Hopes, trading clicks with Tom Morello. For the rest of the evening, Morello took a bit of a back seat though with no Ghost of Tom Joad on the set list. Little Stevie van Zandt seemed to have shaken the jet-lag and was more prominent parading the front of the stage, edging the crowd on.

Then the show kicked into a gear that doesn’t exist on any gearbox and took the revellers on a wild, wild ride. Trapped was followed by a rousing and utterly bone-chillingly Prove it all Night (‘78 version) and I had only one thought: “How the hell was I going to be able to stand this for a couple more hours and for two more nights???” There was no choice but to hang on for dear life and with the believe that if they can do it, so can I! Darkness On The Edge Of Town closed out this little mini-set.

Springsteen’s silly side came out in a big way in his now traditional (if you may) introduction into Spirit In The Night. “The E Street Band is glad to be in your beautiful city tonight. We came thousands of miles over shark infested waters… The water is cold out there, man, I haven’t seen my balls in a day and a half!” He then leaned back into the crowd in the pit and surfed all the way back to the stage.

Heaven’s Wall, Just Like Fire Would and American Skin (41 Shots) was Springsteen’s nod to the High Hopes album. Gulping down some green power juice and seeking relief from a big yellow sponge, the harmonica was picked up and the crowd went into overdrive when Promised Land made its South African debut.

The nimble fingers of The Professor (Roy Bittan) danced as Open All Night added a special flavour to the night. The honky-tonking made Springsteen thirsty “I need a drink”, within seconds he was downing some local brew and with a “Thank you, darling” and “Give the people some beer, they need to get off their asses!” he was on his merry way again.

The vibe inside the Velodrome last night was worlds away from Sunday. It was a different planet, with new inhabitants but with the same rulers of the “majesty, the mystery and the ministry of rock ‘n roll”. Yes, it is just music, but also yes, last night it was all and everything that there was and it made time stop.

The moves were brought out, the kid got on stage and hands were raised for Shackled And Drawn, Waitin’ On A Sunny Day, Lonesome Day, The Rising and Badlands.

With We Shall Overcome, Springsteen paid homage to folk legend Pete Seeger (who passed away yesterday, aged 94) in the only way he knows how, by speaking straight from the heart. “We lost a great friend… He was 94 years old, which is good news for me… This one is for Pete Seeger and for Nelson Mandela… We understand these lyrics so fucking well… We wish you a beautiful future, South Africa.”

After the little idle, the engine was revved up again with classic staples Born In The USA, Born To Run and Bobby Jean. The shirt came off, on top of the piano, off the piano, the boys gave some noise and a night that can only be described as you-had-to-be-there-to-believe-it was closed out with Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, This Little Light Of Mine and an acoustic This Hard Land.

“Thank you for being here with us tonight. Thank you for a great night. We are going to do it all over again, but different.”

There’s life before Bruce Springsteen. Then there’s the after-life. Then there’s the morning after the night before. Then there’s Tuesday night, 28 January 2014.

Set list: 28 January 2014 – Belville Velodrome, Cape Town  

1. Free Nelson Mandela

2. No Surrender

3. Two Hearts

4. The Ties That Bind

5. High Hopes

6. Trapped

7. Prove it all Night (78 version)

8. Darkness on the Edge of Town

9. Spirit in the Night

10. Heaven’s Wall

11. Just Like Fire Would

12.  American Skin (41 Shots)

13. Promised Land

14. Open All Night

15. Shackled and Drawn

16. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day

17. Lonesome Day

18. The Rising

19. Badlands

20. We Shall Overcome

21. Born In The USA

22. Born To Run

23. Bobby Jean

24. Dancing In The Dark

25. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out

26. This Little Light of Mine

27. This Hard Land (Acoustic)


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