Helsinki – to Fin-ish it of!!!

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Right, so what to do about this last show? Surely nothing could EVER beat Gothenburg 2 – where everything had falling into place … for 2 nano-seconds we contemplated selling our tickets, but hey what could we lose? So instead we enjoyed our day in Stockholm and set off early (again) to Arlanda airport. So far, nothing but praise for Scandinavian public transport. I do know too, we have to get back to Sweden real soon, coz I have a sneaky suspicion that we have not yet seen the best of it.

We arrived in Helsinki – met Oscar and Thomas at the airport – yeah baby – this was going to be a good one after all. We knew our other mates had rushed off well before us so Helsinki would be an ultimate house party!!! Number 154/155 and we were heading for second row.. that would be just fine. We pitched out tent – last time this tour. It felt great to do so in sunshine. The muppets were so pleased to have made it this far. We could feel our bodies protesting, our minds wearying but nobody would take away our last show together. Mother-daughter, what a journey it has been so far!

We waited for roll call and decided that perhaps now was the time to do something we had so far avoided like the plague: the hotel. Everyone knew where the man was staying, so why not have a lookie? It took quite some discussion, because really, time off-stage perhaps should really be down-time for the E-street guys and gals. After all they could do with some relaxation too. In the end we did go ‘stalking’ and it was a good decision. Not only did we have the most wonderful time with Jutta and Mary and gentle giant Matze (where does he leave the beer?), Chiara, Gregor and girlfriend  and many more as it turned out, but actually we had the chance to genuinely thank these amazing musicians who had already given us some 45 hours (!!!) of the best music. Roy and Gary were pleased they got some attention, as most peeps completely ignored them. Seeing them reminded me that Bruce is not the only one up there who’s turned 62-ish. All these guys have been doing this for a long long time! All of them need praise!

very expensive drink in hotel Kamp ;-(

Curtis King, whom we always gave thumbs up was all chatty and thanked us, and said he was so pleased to finally meet us. Asked about us being mother and daughter. Said our enthusiasm was contagious. Ed Manion, quietest man in the Southside set-up, gave us a big hug and agreed this was one fine horn section. And Clark Gayton happily agreed. Talked about being on the Promise too… yep – one fine album that is! Barry Dannielian we hooked up too, again thanking him for the most excellent horn work. He seemed genuinely surprised we were so keen on the horns. But we are, we are!! It enhances the overall sound no end. Only Jake and Curt Ramm to go. We never saw Curt, which might be a good thing, coz we would probably have burst out in tears spontaneously, just being close to the man who delivers that beautiful solo. And then Jake, when we did meet him, on day two I think it was. Such a kind, modest man. I hugged him and hugged him, we talked about the bravery of Gothenburg’s Jungleland, we talked about the big shoes he was filling so well. About sore backs and worms … And of course we thanked him. And got a radiant smile back during the concert that night. Charlie … ahhh Charlie .. thanks for the chats and laughs brother! Now you see him, now he’s gone … and oops there were we – inside all of a sudden! And suddenly Charlie appears … ROFL! Nils was tired but pleased to sign our shirts. I thanked him for ‘Believe‘ also. In short, it was a most rewarding time spend thanking and applauding these men personally for the magic they’ve given us.

Yes, you’re guessing right, I’m stalling, aren’t I?! Coz what is there to say about what happened on the 31st of July 2012? The most unrealest, unimaginable, most fantastic tour ending we could have dreamt of. Often, tour endings are speacial, not always. We figured this time it was gonna be cool, but that’s all, after Gothenburg 2. WRONG!!! It turned out to be MEGA!

So we walked into the pit in a neat line … got our 2nd row spot with Jutta and Mary, Matze… perfect partners in crime, Chiara right there too. The security at one point tells us to get up and we’re ‘Nah, we’ve got at least 1.5 hrs to go before the bands comes out.’ We stay seated. A second time the guys urge us to get up. I do, mini muppet stays down… we’re knackered, remember?! Then I look at the stage, and tell mini muppet to get up, ‘right NOW’. There’s Bruce!!! In a shirt, jeans, acoustic guitar, sun glasses. The pit is full, there’s hardly anyone in the stands … it’s before 6 pm… My goodness… What’s going on here. So he says, ‘the show starts whenever I feel like it’ and after some chat with some of us regulars (yes… we got a wee mention at around  2.40 mins – There ain’t no Bruce Button on that .. Kevin? Get that girl a button!) he goes into I’ll work for your Love – for the regulars. That’s us, that’s us!!!!!! Such a brilliant song, so underplayed and now we get it acoustically. Yeah, yeah!

So we are tinkled pink to get a pre-show song .. no wait.. what? He gets Anna’s request .. are you kidding me? Leap of Faith? For real???? For real! For Miss Annie. But it isn’t over after that – oh no!! This is like Paris 2003 all those many moons ago. So he plays No surrender and we clap along, almost in time , and we sing and we know it’s the truth! And if he didn’t know it yet .. Bruce – WE CAME FOR YOU!!! And I see what they saw all those years ago… when a scruffy young man walked into a record company, sat down and sang with just an acoustic guitar. That spark, it’s still there. Sure there’s an occasional rasp in the voice, but really: one man having over a 1000 people gawking at him, speechless and in awe. But still Bruce doesn’t think it’s enough. He plays one last request. His lucky song.. the one that got him the record deal. The one he used a rhyming dictionary for. The one … ah just listen… Blinded by the light. What a hero, what a legend!

And then … he goes round lots of us fans and personally shakes hands and chats for a wee while… Unbelievable… Just because it is so aweome… leap of faith one more time .. but have a look at all the fans he personally checks up on. Is the man for real? I did have a tiny knot in my stomach, because it sure felt like a farewell – and you know it can’t be. not yet, not now… too much music to share yet. Too many stories… But whatever it was, nostalgia, whatever, it sure was nice.. yes that is my glove in there … just skip the first 3.20 mins … the Boss coming to meet his fans.

this is what Charles Landau, I can only imagine: the son of Jon, had to say:

When I arrived today at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, I didn’t expect to see a great five song acoustic set. Although there was no scheduled soundcheck, Bruce came out on stage at 6:15 pm, shortly after arriving. I assumed he was going up to check out the stage, and at first he really was, but minutes later, I heard the speakers come on and Bruce began to riff and sing “I’ll Work for Your Love.” I realized that Bruce, coming to the venue after two days away from the stage, could not suppress his desire to connect with us from the microphone. It was clear as the set progressed through “Leap of Faith” and “No Surrender” that this wasn’t Bruce warming up. He was hitting every note, and his voice was clarion clear. Closing out the set with “For You” and “Blinded by the Light,” Bruce made it clear that there was something else he had come out to do. At the end of “Blinded,” he climbed down to the audience, and he began a ten minute run of the barrier. Shaking a series of hands (and occasionally getting a peck on the cheek from young Helsinki women), he collected cardboard signs which would occupy his dressing room as he composed the set list. Each time he climbed the risers on his way to the left or right, completing a full lap of the stage, the crowd would erupt in a cheer, likewise when a young pink-haired fan gave him a hug, before he received her written request. Afterward he came back to the microphone to say, “Thanks to all you regulars and thanks for making it a lovely summer for us, and we’ll see you in a little while!” Huge applause. So don’t ever ask me what to expect at a Bruce concert, other than a great time and a great show, because there’s no way to know.

– Charles Landau

And then someone whispers something in our ear … ‘at the end of the show, you stay put right here. Don’t move and wait until security gets you.‘ Well… that’s a nice set-up for the rest of the show. I still couldn’t believe I heard it right .. but I guess, some 5 hours later I found out I had.

When Bruce did come to the stage with the band … We started off on the right foot straightaway. Rocking all over the World – simple but FUN – and Night. Great opener. Out in the Street, followed by Loose ends –  a request for someone who had seen fifty shows in ten years and had never heard Loose Ends … ‘We can’t have that’ says Bruce … Well you know something’s up!!! And there is, coz  we get Prove it All Night WITH 78 intro. Baby, that’s right. After Madrid, and Manchester… Helsinki is lucky too. I really didn’t think it was going to happen … I suppose this is one for the insiders … it’s a rarity every Bruce nutter dreams off .. you had to be there, I guess 🙂 And so finally we get to the Wrecking Ball album. Bruce was dancing away so enthusiastically, he nearly stumbled over his own feet, but Stevie got him. Bruce jokes about it but continues in a nostalgic tone:

This has been an incredible trip through Europe and Scandinavia, and this part of the world for us. We felt at home here for a long time. We knew that we were coming out with a lot new faces in the E Street Band, and old faces. (… he speaks directly to someone in the audience ‘you seen us before? you must have been like a little itty baby when that happened’ … ) And then he gets to the essential truth: But the E-street band is dedicated to same mission. We come out to bring the power and the glory, the joy and happiness and foolishness and deadly seriousness of rock ‘n roll and shoot it right into your heart. […] This was also a tour where we knew we’d have to come out after losing some big things. And somehow find a way to make us and you feel alright about it. This is a song about what you lose and what you hold on to. The spirits that remain forever and the things you have to let go.” After the roll call in the middle of the song Bruce continues: “Time keeps on ticking, ticking away and I am gonna stand right here, where time can’t get me, right in this spot. Don’t you move either.

That’s where he got me – THAT’s it … all those shows, I guess, it’s the little white lie of eternity, the happiness of those 3 hours where time stands still and I never need to be older than the 15 year-old who faced life without fear, with an open-mindedness and willingness to jump right in.

And we do … with Marcos’s final sign for Saint Bruce (yes, he did get that nose just right) our neighbours sign – Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street – with the horns. Incredible. I told you before the horns is what it is all about. It’s why mini-muppet goes along to Southside, it’s why this tour has been more than glorious! The HORNS. Bring it on! Straight on into Be True – we will be Bruce, you do it to me I’ll prove it to you. Baby, you be true to me, and I’ll be true to you! You know it, I have been all these years … and mini muppet too – this One Direction thing is just a phase, promise 😉

 

Jack of all Trades – yes … after all this partying, all this joy, let’s remember the common man .. let’s remember that outside a world is still raging, and that many aren’t fortunate enough to follow their dreams in their summer holidays; many have to get up every day and struggle… and so many of them are committed to doing just that and make it right, fix it, make new from the old … because, in the end, we have no choice but to do just that! It’s not the A-list celebrities, no slick politicians, not even no Bruce that make up what life is all about. It is you and me, the apparently insignificant soldiers that fight every day to do right, to be good, to be committed to those we love – in all our anonymity and hope that our tiny little contribution keeps the world, keeps our children safe.  Glorious Curt Ramm, we salute you. Nils on this live track, we thank you. Bruce – you really did it. 62 years of age and you write a little gem like this. Thanks for playing it in your final European show. Now, let me listen and cry again!

To say the next 4 songs are just commonplace would be silly (Bruce keeping on digging at the start of Shackled and Drawn – ingenious and funny, he actually turned into James Brown momentarily – uhh!), but let me skip to Light of Day, so that you can finish reading this review and get on with the day. Never played on this tour before… only on the Fin-ish line … Later on (privately) Bruce would comment that he could see his audiences changing. He knows he’s winning over the Fins. Last time they were pretty quiet but this time .. he said quite a few actually knew this obscure song Light of Day ; Fins he was impressed! … And Bruce shows off that he is not just a pretty face … I bought this guitar and I learned how to f-ing make it talk … hahaha! and yep.. HORNS! (ten hundred miles … hahahaha )

Bruce now trusts the audience and after a few songs decides he’ll do one more request. One that needs to be a little more challenging for the band. So you pick Back in Your Arms – that’s right! And after every verse Bruce talks to us. I told you he was nostalgic. Jakey, just fake this one man, just fake it! He asks us if we’ve ever fucked it up before; had a good woman or good man and thrown it all away … and then he says …

You can lose many things, not just people. You can lose part of yourself, you can lose a connection to things that you love .. all of these are losses along the way.

And I’m back in 2004 when I lost myself, so deep so completely, and when the voices in my head just would stop talking, talking, talking all the time. When I had to physically leave everything that I now hold so dear in my life. A time that comes back to haunt me when I let my guard down a little, a time that scares the shit out of me, a time I never ever want to go back to. And in that magical moment, Bruce has stopped talking to the rest of the crowd, it’s just him and me .. and he’s got me sussed. He holds me in his words and tells me it’s alright to cry, it’s alright to mess up, it’s alright to claw your way back. It’s why it’s Bruce and no one else. I don’t know how else to explain it. It might be silly, sure, on his part it might be just a show – but to me it’s real as real can get.

And I wish my phone hadn’t just died – yes timing is lousy – because I need to tell Bill, my husband, the one who still stands by me despite my narkiness, my quirks, my searching, my coming and going and tell him what Springsteen just said to all of us here: there ain’t no other arms that are gonna make you feel like they did, and there ain’t no other smile and the is no one who’ll know you… you got it baby; 25 years … ha but don’t think this means you can now leave your dirty socks all over the house mister!

We’re on the home straight, and thank Bruce almighty, after a blistering Rising and a raucous Badlands (No, I don’t give a damn for the same old played out scenes, I don’t give a damn for just the in-betweens, honey I want the heart, I want the soul, I want control right now.
[…] talk about a dream; try to make it real, you wake up in the night with a fear so real, you spend your life waiting for a moment that just don’t come,
well don’t waste your time waiting – Badlands you gotta live it every day ) … we get Land of Hopes and Dreams. No better place to play it than at your last show. Somehow Bruce has seen fit to leave this song out occasionally – he doesn’t always make the right decisions 🙂 And if you don’t know the lyrics, don’t know the song, just look it up on youtube … The clip from Helsinki is not greta so find a better version … simple words, resounding truth! Here’s to all my Bruce buddies! We are alive!

We are all seekers. Bruce came over with so many unanswered questions, we have many ourselves. And the crowds that the band has had, Bruce said, they really have a way to knitting you back whole again. That’s a nice thing. And as a return Bruce knits us whole again too. This isn’t a show – it’s a relationship that for many of us has lasted most of our lifetimes, and for the young ones, is giving them the right values to step into the undiscovered with.

The encores just rock it this time. Born in the USA, Born to Run and then a glorious (tour debut) Detroit Medley – give us them Horns boy! – Glory days, such a fitting song for tonight’s feel to the show. The audience is absolutely with him, on their feet, belting it out. We’re not in a gigantic, old stone stadium – no we’re in the Stone Pony and see Bruce as a young kids giving his heart and soul. Time has stood still, reversed on itself and we will live forever. I’m dancing with mini-muppet, with Chiara, with Big-Man-Small-heart Matze, the wonderfully crazy (!!!!!) yellow shirts, the lovely Italians whose name I never got, the Fins, Kieran (whom I did not ignore but simply didn’t recognise brother!), the lovely music student and all those others… and we go for it with all our hearts!

Dancing in the dark – okay my final chance to make the dream come true … hastily scribbled whilst in the pit … (you saw part of it at the beginning of the post …) why not … you never know, nothing to lose right?! Bruce sees it and laughs, but picks a girl to dance with Jake… and a young one for himself. Ah, well… that’s okay. It’s been too awesome anyhow! Wohhaoo.. what’s that.. why is he coming to us after his dance… and there it is:

Come on, let’s dance then(around 6.10)  … I need very little encouragement to get over that fence. And we dance, I chat , he laughs, he looks at me, I look at him, he says I’m a good dancer (liar!) and I says so is he… it lasts a lifetime – but is over in about 30 seconds or so … He did save the last dance for me!  Unbelievable!

Tenth Avenue is our last European chance to honour the Big Man and we do. And we don’t want it to end. And Bruce doesn’t want to either. We get a stunning acoustic rendition of the Southside classic I don’t Wanna go Home  (beautiful request – with all the cities done by one fan, and a reference to Thomas too! I owe you one kid!). For once Stevie actually shines when he sings – his own song – perfect. It’s a shame perhaps that we don’t get the full horn version – Eddie Manion was already rubbing his hands with glee, but this one will do. This is one that hammers home the lyrics.

But Stevie I don’t wanna go yet… I still have a message for these people, I still got something I want these people to know … they don’t wanna go home Stevie, let’s give them one more message … into My love keeps Lifting you!!! Yeah yeah .. where has this stunner been all this time????? We are having such a party … and we’re not tired.. nooo our backs aren’t breaking from the jumping, a calves aren’t exploding, our hearts aren’t pumping like crazy .. we’re gonna go up to C and then up to D and we’re going right there with you baby!

But we not done yet .. because tonight,, tonight of all nights … Bruce is going to break that record the whole crew, the fans and the band have been whispering about: the four hour mark!!!! Let’s Twist and Shout! I give you this version because it lets you feel what we experienced!! The filming is far from perfect but we had FUN!!!! and at 5 mins in .. we’re two minutes away from the magic four hours .. so we shake it up further!!! Yep, that’s right … and then we get there! And then we have to celebrate that now!!! YESSSS!!! He .. and NO OTHER … is the BOSS!!!!

(better version of Twist and Shout  but not as much fun from the pit)
And so ends a most remarkable, unbelievable show. Did it beat the emotion and euphoria of Gothenburg 2? Perhaps not. Did it beat the sizzling atmosphere of paris 2? Maybe not. BUT BOY …we had a house party alright! And mini muppet and I were there. It will never leave us.

Stevie was right – as usual:

This tour, we loved, hugged, jumped, sang, kissed, had cat fights, important making-ups, roll calls, little sleep, random food at random hours, got wet and cold, spent hours in the rain, some in the sun, we made new friends, we met old friends, found soul mates, we listened to what the dead have got to tell us, we shared the glory of this moment now, we rocked it (more than 7 nights), we set free the fireflies, we witnessed arguably the best E-Street tour in a long long time … we loved and got loved by the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, house-rocking, earth-quaking, booty-shaking, curfew-hating, Viagra-taking, love-making -Le-gen-dary E – Street – Band!!!!!!!

pre-show set:

I’ll Work For Your Love / Leap of Faith / No Surrender / For You / Blinded By the Light

Setlist: 
Rockin’ All Over the World / Night / Out in the Street / Loose Ends / We Take Care of Our Own / Prove It All Night (’78 intro) / Wrecking Ball / Death to My Hometown / My City of Ruins / Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street? / Be True / Jack of All Trades / Downbound Train / Because the Night / Lonesome Day / Darlington County / Light of Day / Shackled and Drawn / Waitin’ on a Sunny Day / Back in Your Arms / The Rising / Badlands / Land of Hope and Dreams / * * * We Are Alive / Born in the U.S.A. / Born to Run / Detroit Medley / Glory Days / Dancing in the Dark / Tenth Avenue Freeze-out / I Don’t Want to Go Home / Higher and Higher / Twist and Shout

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15 responses »

  1. …I am gonna stand right here, where time can’t get me…
    The little white lie of eternity.
    I just love that. Thank you, Paulina, for sharing this. Reading this great tour blog makes me feel very close to Bruce’s spirit and close to you, too.
    You got it, sister!
    Don’t move out of this spot, where time can’t get you!
    Hope to see you somehow, somewhere up on the road.
    Greetings from Cologne,
    Marko

  2. Such an amazing report and amazing experience! I have tears in my eye sitting at my desk, so very wonderful. I hope that when life gets tough you can both look back and remember the wonderful summer that you had!
    Many Hugs,
    Nikki

  3. Pingback: Bruce Springsteen 2012-07-31 Olympiastadion, Helsinki, Finland | Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball Tour Blog

  4. Marvellous “P” , been following your Muppet blog all through, and really glad you got the DITD dance with Bruce, the summer has gone all too fast, but for me the over riding memory will be that at last my son has now “got” Bruce and his music, after years of refusal and resistance he finally came to Milan with us and yep like most everyone else who finally gives in, he is hooked and wants to do it all over again ASAP, lets hope the tour continues into next year and our paths may cross again.

    Love to you and yours..

    dr winston oboogie

  5. Nice blog-enjoy reading it. Met you in Cologne, Sweden and Finland. Have a nice time-meet you further up the road 🙂

  6. Lees dit in mn caravannetje in Norge….kwam gister nog even langs Ullevi!!! Wel balen dat ik er niet bij was de laatste 2 shows…. Een prachtig, emotioneel en uniek verslag, Paulina!!!

  7. Great report -so happy I found your blog! I was in Paris (both shows) and in Helsinki and saw you at both, so I’m really happy for you! Helsinki was one GREAT show!!!

  8. OMG Pien wat enorm gaaaaaaaaaaaf voor je! Dansen met de Boss, een droom die werkelijkheid wordt. Heel blij voor je, en voor mezelf ook natuurlijk: mooi wel MIJN vriendin die de laatste dans van Bruce danste!!

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