Tuesday, 19 March 2013
I didn't check the time when The Stones' Big Boss Man boomed out across the Allphones Arena, but I'm reliably informed it was 7:25, and a mistake at the end had me thinking we'd had a show that clocked in well over three hours, but the times on display in the Olympic Park station and a subsequent check on the phone suggested a running time around the two and three quarter hour mark.
That might have made it the shortest of the three but what it dropped in time it definitely made up for in sheer oomph.
It also put the kibosh on any notions that someone backstage had been watching the audience filing in and saying Hang on, they're not all in yet.
Or maybe someone had been and Bruce decided enough was enough.
In any case, the three song opening salvo had each title getting a first airing for the tour. American Land was a belated St Patrick's Day offering, and had me reflecting how much Bruce's current style, repertoire and modus operandi has been shaped by The Seeger Sessions album and extensive touring. That has probably been obvious for a while, but American Land and the mid-set Pay Me My Money Down helped underline it.
But it's not all new direction, and a Prove It All Night had the long term fans roaring along before a sign request produced Adam Raised a Cain. Bruce actually grabbed two placards from the pit, returning the one that produced Adam, and stowing the other, seemingly for future reference or souvenir purposes. It'd be interesting to know what was on the orange Day-Glo one...
Things seem to have settled down into a regular pattern as far as the next bit is concerned, with Wrecking Ball and Death to My Hometown holding down roughly the same slots each night once the opening salvo is out of the way.
There's obviously a point being made, and once it had been it seems there's a recognition that things need to be lightened a bit, and Hungry Heart certainly did that. The crowd roared out the first verse, Bruce took a wander along the side around to the walkway behind the pit and surfed his way back to the stage.
This section of the show seemed to be heading into formula territory with My City of Ruins delivering the regular remembering the old faces and acknowledging the new routine. Working the front of the pit Bruce found another youngster, got a quick acknowledgement of the relative youthfullness of the identified party and seems to have settled into grabbing them for a singalong in Waitin’ On a Sunny Day.
Spirit in the Night seems to have grabbed a regular mid-set spot, and had the silence for those who are no longer with us bit, and from there, with what seemed like a couple of formalities out of the way things headed off towards let's loosen things up territory with High Hopes, Youngstown and (the one I'd really been waiting for) Candy's Room.
High Hopes works very well, Youngstown rocked with righteous anger and frustration and segued quickly into that characteristic drum pattern that signifies an impending visit to Candy's Room, which soared the way it should do and morphed very nicely into She's the One.
As Bruce started a your butt is going to start moving of its own volition rap after StO I thought we were in for another Open All Night, which had been my highlight of the previous show. That didn't eventuate, but a rousing Pay Me My Money Down worked the same sort of territory and made for a more than adequate substitute.
From there it was back to set piece territory, with Shackled and Drawn a regular inclusion that needed to be followed by something lighter. Waitin’ on a Sunny Day certainly fits the bill in that department, and the slightly different angle this time around gave a head on view of the interaction that got the singalong kid onto the walkway in front of the pit.
You can't help wondering how long this one will continue, and while you can spot it coming it's the sort of thing that's guaranteed to deliver a roar of approval from the audience. Calculated? Quite possibly. A bit of fun? Quite definitely.
It's also the cue that we're heading into the succession of heavy hits that's going to round out the main set, and this time around that started with The Rising, delivered another powerful Springsteen-Morello double act on The Ghost of Tom Joad and ran out through Badlands, Thunder Road and Born to Run.
The encore bracket (Seven Nights to Rock, Dancing in the Dark and the seemingly inevitable Tenth Avenue Freeze-out wound things up rather nicely.
Prove It All Night
Adam Raised a Cain
Death to My Hometown
My City of Ruins
Spirit in the Night
She's the One
Pay Me My Money Down
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The Ghost of Tom Joad
Born to Run
Seven Nights to Rock
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out