HUNTER fans could be in for a surprise over two days this weekend as Bruce Springsteen arrives in the region for two blockbuster shows.
From the second he stepped on stage in Sydney on Wednesday night, he had a crowd of thousands willing to do anything he asked as he sauntered, sang, shimmied and scorched the earth at Allphones Arena.
Springsteen was dubbed ‘‘The Boss’’ for a reason, and you can’t miss it when you watch the man work.
At his only NSW performance outside the Hunter, Springsteen’s set stretched over three hours and included a full album, a smattering of hits and some under-loved gems.
Expertly sandwiching crowd requests and cult favourites between blockbuster hits, he has refused to tip audiences off to what they can expect.
While his Adelaide and Perth shows featured a smattering of singles, Springsteen has developed form for playing albums in their entirety. In Sydney, he ran through 1978 album Darkness of the Edge of Town from start to finish for the first time in Australia.
Across two nights in Melbourne, he delivered Born to Run and Born in the USA.
Old favourites get new looks as well, like the squealing Ghost of Tom Joad transformed into a barnstorming rocker with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello.
Sly tributes to Aussie rock have also emerged as a staple of Springsteen’s second Australian tour in two years.
INXS, the Saints and the Easybeats were reimagined by a pumping E Street Band in Sydney.
Elsewhere, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell has had a few workouts.
As in life, the only constant with a Springsteen set list is change. But if you’re disappointed a certain song missed the cut, you’ve missed the point.
Your friends who went to last year’s shows (and refuse to shut up about them) can’t tell you how it feels to hear the Boss flirt and celebrate with a cast of thousands like they’re in his garage.
A Springsteen show is simply a dose of sincere, big-hearted joy.
It’s equal parts soul revival and rock show, a sheer spectacle and a self-deprecating celebration.
Every second soaks in the big-hearted earnestness of the opening strains of Born to Run.
We may or may not get a full album at the two Pokolbin shows. One thing we will get is a world-class performer at the top of his game.
SYDNEY SET LIST
Friday on my Mind (Easybeats cover)
Out in the Street
Just Like Fire Would (The Saints cover)
Spirit in the Night
Adam Raised a Cain
Something in the Night
Racing in the Street
The Promised Land
Streets of Fire
Prove It All Night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Shackled and Drawn
Waiting on a Sunny Day
Ghost of Tom Joad (with Tom Morello)
Land of Hope and Dreams/People Get Ready
Don’t Change (INXS cover)
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Dream, Baby, Dream