During his previous 2016 European tour, Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band played two nights at Paris’ Accor Arena. On the first night, the sound system, stage lights and projections on screens all broke down. For about 10 minutes, nearly 20,000 people in the audience sang along, with the help of drummer Max Weinberg to keep the spirits up, and Springsteen and his band took time out to spend time with the fans in the pit before the concert resumed. They provided an unintentional but unforgettable moment for everyone present.
It was in a venue with twice the capacity, Paris La Défense Arena, on Saturday, May 13 – this time without technical issues – that the American guitarist, singer and songwriter and his very extensive band played the first of two concerts in the French capital as part of their latest international tour. The second is on Monday night. The tour began on February 1 in the United States and will pass through Europe before returning to the United States from the beginning of August to mid-December.
One observation at the end of Saturday’s Paris show (sold out for weeks): Springsteen has packed in an almost identical choice of songs to the one that prevailed every night in the United States and even during the first European dates in Barcelona and Dublin. This can be easily confirmed on his official websitewhere, a couple of days after the curtain falls, each full concert from the Springsteen and E Street Band 2023 Tour is posted online and can be purchased for a fee (from $14.99 to $39.99 [€13.70 to €36.55]depending on the quality of digital files).
Fans on message boards have expressed some displeasure that Springsteen has not been changing his repertoire more, only occasionally slipping in one or two different songs in the course of the concerts. These superfans report that, on previous tours, there were many more surprises and changes, with Springsteen also regularly responding to requests from fans in the audience, including some that had been lost on B-sides of singles.
The authenticity of a first time
What they may have lost in spontaneity, Springsteen and the E Street Band have replaced with extraordinary efficiency, playing the same tunes, the same emotions night after night, right down even to the same solos – especially saxophonist Jake Clemons (who replaced Clarence Clemons, who was in Springsteen’s band as early as 1972 until his death in 2011), along with bassist Garry Tallent. This could be interpreted as a mechanical performance going through the numbers, but for Springsteen, his instrumentalists and backup singers, the full rock immersion is not faked. It’s played with a real joy in overcoming, with the tangible feeling of authenticity as if it is the first time – even if it is actually the hundredth.
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