Paris, Stade de France, June 29, 2013

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I wrote a “Notes from the Road” column for Brucespringsteen.net (can be found at: http://brucespringsteen.net/news/2013/notes-from-the-road-paris ) which I won’t repeat here.

Judging by the reaction when Bruce announced the predictable choice of the “Born in the USA” album, a large part of the crowd was probably quite happy with the setlist. Then again, that can be expected when Bruce reduces his show to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

This was a disappointing show, as it underscores the big issue with this part of the tour: Bruce has run out of ideas, and he is falling back on full-album performances as he is not willing to try something else. If given the opportunity, I would be quite curious to hear from Bruce whether he is performing the albums because he wants to or if he thinks the fans want them.

Yes, this show was in a large stadium on a Saturday night (by Bruce’s choosing, of course) and he certainly should be playing material that can appeal to the crowd as a whole. The entire Born in the U.S.A. fully addresses that need. To add schlock such as “American Land” and “Pay Me My Money Down” (together with the indestructible “Waiting on a Sunny Day”) is simply unbelievable.

At the end of the show, prior to playing “Thunder Road,” Bruce took special note to thank his repeat customers , saying “I want to thank you guys who we see at so many shows.” The juxtaposition between that and a setlist where he couldn’t even be bothered to try moving slightly outside of his safest (a three minute version of “Lucille” doesn’t count), easiest and most over-played repertoire is inexplicable.

Not every show can be a Gijon or Tuku with several choice requests and an ambitious setlist. But certainly there can be a middle ground somewhere in which Bruce makes at least a minimal effort at challenging his audience, presenting a show that addresses his current music and does not simply rehash past glories.

This entry was posted in Shows.

5 comments on “Paris, Stade de France, June 29, 2013

  1. I miss wrecking ball and magic, he used to be all about the challenge, bringing darkness and river completely into shows.

  2. Alex says:

    Agree with you completely. Darkness and Born to Run might merit full play but Born in the USA is a bunch of crowd pleasers that don’t fit into a concert flow in the middle of a set. Also there were too many of those “brung the whole band to the front of the stage” moments – they lost their impact after the second or third time. The setlist outside Born in the USA was full of party songs but lacked any “dark moments” which are the most memorable from Springsteen shows. I saw both Paris shows last year and was completely blown away. I think Bruce may have hit a live performance peak in 2012, but 2013 looks to have seen a significant regression. I still love the man and cannot complain too much about a show of nearly 3h30 including pre-show set. But relative to the lofty bar Bruce has set by his past recent shows, this concert was one of the worst I’ve seen, and I was actually bored several times despite being very close to the center stage.

  3. Karen says:

    Don’t agree with the author at all and, indeed, as I was one of the thousands who were happy with the setlist I am offended at being referred to as the ‘lowest common denominator’!! As for Alex, if you’re so bored at a Bruce gig, I suggest you either sell your remaining tickets or save your money and stay at home in the future!

  4. secondflore says:

    I understand your disappointment but only partially agree. Yes, playing full albums seems to reveal a lack of ideas. Yet : “I’m going down” or “Downbound train” could be considered as our rarities, and the whole album was played with heart and energy (i was afraid when he called it that the band would play it ‘too easy’…). I remember last his last stadium show here, with many requests that were a pleasure for old fans but (sometimes) rather feable in the end. The whole show felt like a long encore – I guess that’s why the real encore was a bit disappointing.
    In the end, the whole night seemed like a celebration : so many songs where the crowd could react, answer, play its rituals… (made me think of AC/DC concerts sometimes)
    … and I agree with Alex : as a celebration, it was almost perfect ; as a concert, it was full of energy (‘Pay me’! ‘Cadillac ranch’! ‘Death to my hometown’!) but it lacked depth and intensity. Some quieter moments would have made the final memorable – more than those full band moments (i.e. when they played Land of hope&dreams, my girlfriend asked me : “are they playing notes or just making noise behind him?)
    Anyway, I’ve got many reasons to remain a true believer. Thank for your reviews!

  5. Jay Junior says:

    I guess 3 hours and 30 minutes isn’t enough time to satisfy us all,,,Enjoyed all the comments.

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