Springsteen revisits Glory Days in London

Mon Jul 1, 2013 2:17am EDT
 
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By Angus MacSwan

LONDON (Reuters) - Bruce Springsteen treated his fans to a complete performance of "Born in the USA", the 1984 album which shot him to global superstardom, as the centerpiece of a three-hour show in London on Sunday night.

The Boss and his E Street Band played the 12 songs in the same order as the original, kicking off with the Vietnam veteran's lament of the title track and serving up rollicking versions of "Glory Days", "No Surrender," and other favorites.

The enormous success of "Born in the USA" raised Springsteen's popularity and fortune when it was released, selling 30 million copies worldwide and making him one of the biggest acts of the era.

It also has a special place in Springsteen lore - when then U.S. President Ronald Reagan praised the title song as a patriotic anthem, he earned a public rebuke from Springsteen, who said he had misunderstood its message.

Three decades on, it still delighted the crowd at the Hard Rock Calling festival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, close to the venues of last year's Olympic Games.

Nils Lofgren's fiery guitar solo on "Cover Me" was a highlight of the set. For "Dancing in the Dark" - still a regular feature in his concerts - he brought out his mother Adele as his dancing partner.

Sunday's show featured crowd-pleasers such as "Badlands" and "Born to Run" when the grey-clad Springsteen worked the crowd with an energy that belied his years.

He also played three songs from "Nebraska", the mournful acoustic album which confounded fans when it was released in 1982. The E Street Horns changed the mood, turning the murder ballad "Johnny 99" into a New Orleans-style party.   Continued...

 
Singer Bruce Springsteen rings a bicycle bell which was given to him by a boy who waited with other fans outside his hotel to bid him farewell in Gijon, northern Spain June 27, 2013. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso