Tag Archives: Bruce Springsteen

Happy birthday, Bruce Springsteen!

23 Sep

bruce springsteen2

No doubt there will be countless heartfelt messages of congratulations today, on this, the 65th anniversary of your birth.

I am saying Happy Birthday ‘over thousands and thousands of miles of shark-infested waters’ from the southern tip of Africa!

You didn’t change my life in a big and profound way. What you however undoubtedly have done, is provide the bedrock to the wanderings of body, mind and soul.

Your way with words and song has been a gift – pure, honest, truthful.

It is the shot-from-the-heart and straight-from-the-soul approach that has set you apart from the rest; you are one of a kind.

You have created a community of kindred spirits, united in our admiration, respect and gratitude for true artistry. Fans like us were born to follow because ‘there’s magic in the night’.

You’ve said it and yes, it’s only rock and roll, but it sure feels like love.

Happy Birthday, Bruce!



Springsteen Snapshots: 1

29 Aug

It is no secret that I derive nourishment in abundance from being a doting Bruce Springsteen devotee.

He’s magical musical making abilities have given life to countless characters and their stories, their sadness and hardships, their hopes and dreams. They have inhabited my life, sometimes prominent and at other times slow-dancing in the background, but always a presence.

This has led to the creation of SPRINGSTEEN SNAPSHOTS. Combining The Boss’s ingenious way with words with images from my earthly wanderings, I am bringing together two different, but allied worlds.

Therefore, and in no particular order, the first batch…

New York City serenade

New York City serenade

Lost in the flood

Lost in the flood

For you

For you

Candy's room

Candy’s room



Say it in 10: Springsteen Snapshots

20 Aug

I wrangle with words and string sentences together. Sometimes it’s pure pleasure, but occasionally a hands-in-hair, teeth-clenched affair.

The same goes for when I have a camera in hand, exploring foreign shores.

It is what feeds my inspired and imaginative mind however, and I wouldn’t want to deny the beast its bounty, would I?

It is also no secret that I derive nourishment in abundance from being a doting Bruce Springsteen devotee.

Springsteen’s magical musical making abilities have given life to countless characters and their stories, their sadness and hardships, their hopes and dreams. They have inhabited my life, sometimes prominent and at other times slow-dancing in the background, but always a presence.

This has led to the creation of Springsteen Snapshots. Combining The Boss’s ingenious way with words with snapshots from my earthly wanderings, I am bringing together two different, but allied worlds.

Therefore, and in no particular order, this is the first…

lost in the flood

A lifelong affair

28 Jul

A year ago today I stood under a blue Irish sky. Before me, a stage of possibilities. Behind me, a brother and sisterhood. Within me, a heart of anticipation.

I was in Kilkenny to rekindle a fire. I didn’t know. It was a long absence, 14 years. Would I be able to stoke the ambers once again?

I needn’t have feared.

As they made their way into the open one by one, it started to flicker and glow. Pretty soon it was a raging blaze.

I can remember it as if it was yesterday.

“Good evening, good evening Kilkenny! I want you to raise your voices. I want you to clap your hands. I want you to join us in the celebration of the eternal, everlasting, ass-kicking, unifying power of rock and roll! Alright, here we go… This little light of mine…”

  1. rollingstone.co.za/opinion/item/2726-fans-like-us-baby-we-were-born-to-follow

That night Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band set of a year of the most magical of experiences. My wild-wild ride started in Kilkenny on the Emerald Isle, swept down to Cape Town at the southern tip of Africa, up to Johannesburg, all the way across the Atlantic to US soil and Atlanta, Sunrise and Tampa.

It’s been a roller coaster of delight with Bruce buds and E Street fans, old and new, you all know who you are. The queuing, the lists, the roll-calls, the thirst, the hunger, the sun, the rain, the heat, the cold, the blistered feet, the lack of sleep, the running, the standing, the sitting, the waiting. And then you do it again, and again, and again… I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

It may only be rock and roll, but it sure feels like love. This is a lifelong affair.

Where words fail, pictures speak…

28 July 2013: Kilkenny

springsteen_kilkenny_28 july 2013


26 January 2014: Cape Town



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28 January 2014: Cape Town

bruce_28 january 2014_liryn de jager (16)


29 January 2014: Cape Town

bruce springstreen_29 january 2014_liryn de jager (10)


1 February 2014: Johannesburg

bruce springsteen_1 feb 2014_liryn de jager  (4)


26 April 2014: Atlanta

springsteen_atlanta_26 april 2014 (18)


29 April 2014: Sunrise

springsteen_sunrise_29 april (11)


1 May 2014: Tampa

springsteen_tampa_1 may (26)




An open letter to my fellow Bruce buds

9 Feb

bruce buds

Sunday morning, it is raining, a soft drizzle, a mist blanket hovering, visibility murky. That is the world outside. On the inside nothing could be clearer – the sense of community, of togetherness, of a shared experience that cannot be rivalled. And I am part of it.

It is something that is hard to describe with just the right words in the right places, and maybe it shouldn’t even be attempted. Accept it for all that it was, and remember that for a moment, it was the authority of music that stopped time, that created an invisible but at the same time unbreakable bond. Between the Bruce buds who is a radio presenter and long lost sista’ from Ireland, a doctor from Philadelphia, an oil and gas man from the United Kingdom, a brother from Germany, a burger eating lass from London, an abled-spirited soul from Italy, a throng of other locals and citizens of the world, the list is endless. No names needed, you all know who you are… That’s another thing; you don’t need to know a thing about someone, not even what title or term they answer to, if they belong to this club, that’s all you need to know.

I am reflecting…

A week has passed since Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band mesmerised me and close on a 100 000 people for the first time on South African soil, and I’m suffering from the Bruce blues, badly. Does it mean he changed my life in such a way that I am now ready to shave my head and join a cult? No. But through the magic and mystery of his musical genius he has brought something so, mmm (now I’m struggling to find just the right word…), profoundly intense that it needs to be harnessed and harvested, collected and cultivated. If I have to give it a name and put a label on it, let’s call it being Brucified.

Yes, the man at centre stage and his jolly sidekicks use rhythm and rhyme to take a hold on mind, body and soul and to hang on for dear life, not letting go for nothing. However, it is about so much more than this. Like The Boss himself has said, and I couldn’t agree more: “Treat it like it’s all we have. Then remember, it’s only rock ‘n roll.”

Looking from the outside in, it may indeed seem like a strange, strange world to those who are not privy to this unique life and lingo. One that consists of lists and roll calls, of carefully constructed signs and sun-kissed skin, of much sought after wrist bands and set list lusting. And don’t forget thrown about comments like “Do I have a B tattooed on my forehead?” and “I will have kids when Bruce stops touring”.

But it’s exactly through the ass-kicking and everlasting power of rock ‘n roll that ties are created, the ties that bind. Friendships are formed, for life; experiences are shared, forever; it will be all and nothing, now and always.

The last words should undoubtedly belong to the man responsible for all this. From Bruce Springsteen’s lips to our ears and our hearts, I say thank you, Bruce and the E Street Band, and thank you, Bruce buds…

I don’t even know why, I don’t know why I made this call
Or if any of this matters anymore after all

But the stars are burnin’ bright like some mystery uncovered
I’ll keep movin’ through the dark with you in my heart
My blood brother

The Boss says goodbye, for now…

3 Feb

bruce springsteen_1 feb 2014_liryn de jager  (4)

(More pictures at https://www.facebook.com/liryn/media_set?set=a.10203048002342501.1073741831.1278650619&type=1)

It was wet and it was wild. He came, he saw, he conquered. He is undoubtedly The Boss.

With the clouds gathering above, the realization started to set in that this was going to be over soon. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s first ever visit to the southern tip of Africa was coming to an end at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg.

After three mind blowing performances in Cape Town, these mighty men and women of rock ‘n roll tickled and teased and cajoled and coaxed close to a 100 000 thousand souls in less than a week. And then the man at the centre declared “We’ll be back, I promise!” (We are going to hold you to that, Bruuuce!)

On Saturday the heavens opened up in a big way over the impressive stadium, but nothing was going to rain on the parade of the 60 000+ gatherers. There was not one iota of fear about the lingering forever-after, none whatsoever. You simply cannot walk away from an experience like this and not be affected, not be touched to the deepest, most inner part of your being.

Springsteen made sure that this one was going to a special one. Just after 5pm he nonchalantly walked out in a check-shirt, guitar flung across the shoulder and with a “Hi, hi, how are we doing? Thanks for coming out, you are going to have a great night!” he surprised and treated the sprinkling of fans already gathered to a three song pre-show acoustic set – Working on a highway, I’ll work for your love (with the harmonica) and Growin’ up.

The now packed stadium was greeted with a “Hallo Johannesburg, we are so glad to be here!” a few hours later. The greatest rock show on earth kicked off with Free Nelson Mandela in the same place where the memorial for the departed former South African president was held just a couple of weeks earlier. Land of Hope and Dreams fittingly followed.

Springsteen was totally committed to give his loyal and dedicated followers all and everything they came for, and then some more. He picked up a sign “I was your first black South African fan” before launching into No Surrender. Scanning for more signs, he grabbed one with specially made licence plates (E Street GP) with Seeds scribbled underneath. Just one look at his face and you could see, Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was in a world of his own.

It was walkabout time with Out in the street with the man strutting his stuff in a silly way. With his hand over his eyes, looking out over thousands of faces of eagerness, he pointed repeatedly to a specific sign, in an I-want-that-one kind of way. And so Cadillac Ranch made its South African debut with Wisconsin night changed to Jo’burg night.

The trio of High Hopes, Wrecking Ball and Death to my hometown added another dimension to the night. The entire E Street Band (bar those like the Mighty Max and The Professor who were glued to their instruments of noise) made their way to the front of the stage.

With the pit saturated with around 8 000 people, crowd surfing wasn’t going to be on the cards for this one. Springsteen instead leaned back into welcoming arms and voices for Hungry Heart.

Another big sign was dragged onto the stage and to the absolute delight I’m on fire filled the night air.  As on the first night in Cape Town, the harmonica and falsetto voice thrills punctuated The River.

American Skin (41 Shots) brought down the rain in buckets but it didn’t dampen the spirits, not for one single second. There was a little bit of a false start to Heaven’s Wall but it was quickly back to business. Springsteen made the band members get out from underneath the cover of the stage and out into the pouring rain for Murder Incorporated and Johnny 99. Gulping mouthfuls of water from above and blowing it out again, he shouted “The rain, it’s good for ya!”

Busting some moves a la Elvis Presley style, Working on a highway got a full band workout from the acoustic arrangement a few hours earlier. Darlington County and Shackled and Drawn also made a re-appearance from the previous shows.

“This is the right song” was Little Stevie van Zandt’s comical quip when Waitin’ on a sunny day was introduced. Springsteen’s answer? “We are going to make it stop!”

The Rising preceded Ghost of Tom Joad. And this is where the rain put its damper on proceedings slightly when the microphones cut out. The anticipation was rife for the electrifying guitar work of Tom Morello on a Springsteen classic. The hampered start had the potential to throw things off track, but taking it in his stride, Springsteen waited for the difficulties to be sorted out before making it another hair-standing-up-on-your-neck affair.

The beginning of the end was signalled with Badlands with Springsteen speaking directly to his devotees. “Thank you for a lovely night… Thank you for your faith and generosity, for waiting for so long.”

As if on cue, Who’ll stop the rain from Creedence Clearwater Revival made the heavens eased up.

Then it was time to set the night on fire. Born in the USA, Born to Run, Bobby Jean and Dancing in the Dark got the soaked-to-the-bone die-hard adherents going totally wild. A “Are you tired yet?” from the man in the middle got them yelling back in unison “Nooo!” Tenth Avenue Freeze out got the jacket, tie and undercoat off yet again, ending with a leap from the piano.

“Are you done yet? Are you soaking wet? Don’t you wanna go home? Don’t you wanna go home? Don’t you wanna go home? Wait a minute… Thank you for a fine, fine welcome. I promise we are going to back, I promise, I promise!”

Shout added an exclamation mark and the E Street Band bid their final farewells.

The guitar was strapped across the shoulders, for one last time, the harmonica straightened around the neck, for one last time, the cords were strum, for one last time… Thunder Road echoed across the stadium and into the night, for one last time, and Springsteen spoke, for one last time “Be well, be safe, we love you.”

It was about so much more than just the music, the words and the notes, and the man at the centre of the stage holding it all together. Truth be told, it was a deliverance from the eternal and everlasting power of rock and roll.  

And if someone like Bruce Springsteen, backed up by the merry musical makers that are the E Street Band, is preaching this gospel, then hell yeah, I’m a believer. Which songs he uses to deliver the sermon time and time again, it doesn’t really matter. In an illustrious career spanning 40+ years, this musical bible has no last page.

Set list: 1 February 2014 – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg 

  1. Working on a Highway (Pre-show acoustic set)
  2. I’ll work for your love (Pre-show acoustic set)
  3. Growin’ up (Pre-show acoustic set)
  4. Free Nelson Mandela
  5. Land of Hope and Dreams
  6. No Surrender
  7. Seeds
  8. Out in the streets
  9. Cadillac Ranch
  10. High Hopes
  11. Wrecking Ball
  12. Death to my hometown
  13. Hungry Heart
  14. I’m on fire
  15. The River
  16. American Skin (41 Shots)
  17. Heaven’s Wall
  18. Murder Incorporated
  19. Johnny 99
  20. Working on the highway
  21. Darlington County
  22. Shackled and Drawn
  23. Waitin’ on a sunny day
  24. The Rising
  25. Ghost of Tom Joad
  26. Badlands
  27. Who’ll stop the rain
  28. Born in the USA
  29. Born to Run
  30. Bobby Jean
  31. Dancing in the Dark
  32. Tenth Avenue Freeze out
  33. Shout
  34. Thunder Road (acoustic)

Cape Town will never be the same again as Springsteen ends his wild ride

30 Jan

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(More pictures at https://www.facebook.com/liryn/media_set?set=a.10203022820992983.1073741830.1278650619&type=1)

If you have to try and explain this thing, you won’t get it, never. Or maybe there is an apt description, like somebody who obviously doesn’t get it, quipped: “You Bruce people have all been beamed up to the mother ship, probed and prodded and then send back in some altered state.”

You had to be there to fully comprehend what transpired between Sunday, Tuesday and last night in Cape Town when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band hit the Mother City for their first ever shows on South African soil. Another rousing and rapturous three and a bit hour set, this time with 31 songs completing the set list, rocked the Belville Velodrome to its deepest foundations and took the doting Bruce devotees to a place they’ve never been before.

Instead of Free Nelson Mandela like on the first two nights, last night’s show kicked off with We take care of our own followed by Night. Jake Clemons took his place at the front of the stage and The Little Big Man made that sax gleam.  

No time was wasted in collecting the first sign request of the night and what a pick it was. The crowd was “liberated” and “confiscated” by Rosalita and Springsteen went into overdrive, nibbling on Little Stevie van Zandt’s ear in an over the top but real show of emotion.

Tom Morello stepped forward with High Hopes before it was back to the sign business with Adam raised a Cain. Springsteen showed his prowess on the cords, hair-raising stuff (and also finger numbing stuff, as he could barely sign autographs with a lucky few that ran into him at the hotel bar at 2am…)

It was clear as day under the South African night sky that Springsteen was talking to the gathering in a language that they could understand, the universal language of the power of music. Searching for those elusive and intangible words to describe just what they wanted to vocalize, he said on behalf of them: “Yeah, I got you man, I know exactly what you wanna say, I don’t know you, but I know you, know what I mean? I got you man, I got you.”

Something in the night was followed by Wrecking Ball with Sister Soozie Tyrell letting her violin talk the talk and those at the front of the pit jumping up and down, out of their skins. Then Morello got the suspenders swinging with his part in Death to my hometown.

The first walkabout of the evening resulted in riding the crowd surfing wave back to the stage on the rhythm of Hungry Heart.

With “We need some peace and tranquillity now” Springsteen picked up the harmonica for the first time during the evening. And when the realization set in, after the first couple of notes, that it’s Tougher than the rest, there was no turning back.

There was magic in the air. But not the tricky or fake kind. The real thing. Poignantly posed in the middle of the stage and with an illuminating light from behind, Springsteen gently eased into Jack of all trades. No need in denying it, yes, tears flowed…

Heaven’s Wall and the tour debut of This is your sword (and later on The Ghost of Tom Joad with Morello tearing it up in a big way) were the picks from High Hopes.

There was a brief interlude when Morello’s brother proposed to his girlfriend on stage with Springsteen adding a “We got him to propose to his girlfriend… Congratulations!” He dedicated Because the night and She’s the one to the happy couple.

Springsteen busted some major dance moves and pelvic thrusts, much to the delight of the female clan on Working on the highway and Shackled and Drawn. The whole band made it up right to the edge of the stage in a chorus line formation. Badlands rounded off the first set.

Van Zandt took centre stage with Sun City. He wrote and produced this 1986 protest song that was recorded by Artists United Against Apartheid in opposition to the apartheid policy of the then South African government.

Rocky Ground brought Michelle Moore and her rapping abilities to the front.

With a “Let’s go” it was encore and booty shaking time with Born to Run, Glory Days, Seven nights to rock, Dancing in the dark, Tenth Avenue Freeze-out and Twist and Shout. But the Cape Town crowd just didn’t want to let go, and Springsteen played his part too, stripping off his soaking wet undercoat, shirt and tie: “Stevie, we got to get to Johannesburg, man. Are you done yet, Cape Town? Are you sure? ‘Cause we will keep going!”

Then of course there was The Boss’s thank you to the greatest band in the land: “You have just witnessed the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, house-rocking, earth-quaking, booty-shaking, Viagra-taking, love-making, legendary E Street Band!”

He also had a few choice words for those down below and in the seats at the side of the stadium: “You may not be able to talk or walk or sit now, but at least you’ll be able to make love like an 18 year old!”

Before picking up the harmonica again and strumming the cords and closing out the night with an acoustic Thunder Road, Springsteen professed his gratitude for the fans in Cape Town, the locals and those who made the trek from all across the globe.

“We haven’t played here before and we weren’t sure how it would go. But you made us feel so welcome. We’ll be seeing you. The E Street Band loves you.”

Three down, one to go. And then the Bruce Blues kicks in. 

Set list: 29 January 2014 – Belville Velodrome, Cape Town   

1. We Take Care of Our Own 
2. Night
3. Rosalita
4. High Hopes
5. Adam Raised a Cain
6. Something in the Night
7. Wrecking Ball
8. Death to My Hometown
9. Hungry Heart
10. Tougher Than the Rest
11. Jack of All Trades
12. Heaven’s Wall
13. This Is Your Sword
14. Because the Night
15. She’s the One
16. Working on the Highway
17. Shackled and Drawn
18. Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
19. The Rising
20. The Ghost of Tom Joad
21. Badlands
22. Sun City
23. Rocky Ground
24. Born to Run
25. Glory Days
26. Seven Nights to Rock
27. Dancing in the Dark
28. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
29. Twist and Shout
30. Thunder Road (acoustic)