It’s impossible to say whether the early shows of a Springsteen tour will be long-remembered as the best of that run.
But there’s probably going to be a few fans who were at Perth Arena on Friday night who will boldly make that claim.
The excitement level of the faithful soared just a few tracks in when Springsteen went straight into taking a bunch of sign requests. A move that would shape the surviving set list for the rest of the night.
And this was after he started with a roaring Badlands and went straight into Out In The Street, so everyone was already pumped for three hours of high adrenaline E Street action.
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It came pretty quickly with the requests for Sherry Darling and Two Hearts from The River album – both providing Stevie Van Zandt to join Springsteen in chief entertainer duties.
If there was any hesitating from some of the sold out crowd of show 1, the band were determined to blast it away for night 2.
A request for Light Of Day was met with a fantastic no-holds barred rendition –with the horns section and organist Charlie Giordano with a brilliant solo.
All fuelling Springsteen into an intimidating guitar solo that is arguably the highlight of the night. (I, for one, will support that argument).
The track, complete with a taste of Land Of A 1000 Dances, was the final nail in the coffin for any problems that may have been picked up on during show 1, where Springsteen was clearly frustrated with teleprompter issues.
The entire band was on exceptional form.
So confident was Springsteen that he even indulged in performing some of his favourites.
A request for Girls In Their Summer Clothes, which he had admitted at a media call on Wednesday was one of those he wish he could play more, was met with a solo acoustic version.
A decision that may not have been appreciated by everyone – it was fun watching Roy Bittan and Gary Tallent step away from their tools for a discussion which seemed to look like they had no idea what was going on, with a speculatory mix of ‘here he goes again!’.
Another bold move by Springsteen was Save My Love, released on 2010’s The Promise collection.
An underplayed track to say the least, you could see the concentration on some of the band’s faces as they worked hard to keep up.
Some in the audience may had questioned what the song was doing in the set list, but looking back to see such a rarity is always something to be remembered.
When it came to really blowing the audience away for the second show on the Australasia tour however, it was the trio of successive Atlantic City, Youngstown and Murder Incorporated that did it.
The band on fine form, the crowd in good voice and Nils Lofgren on lead guitar charge for Youngstown. It was the most solid, focused part of the show that cemented the simple fact that every night in Perth is going to be special.
No more so than for than the fans who reached the stage on that night.
First of all little James who became beach buddies with Springsteen this week and who has held his own during the roll calls, became a hero to fans in the pit. (Alongside Wednesday night’s champions Vel Holland and screen dominating ‘Stevie’s Angels’).
Then the efforts of Rosie and Dal for Dancing In The Dark honours – along with Luke Reynolds and Ellie O’Keefe who went for a jive with Soozie Tyrell and Jake Clemons and stayed on stage for a guitar jamming session to close the song.
The pulling up of so many fans not only boosts the appeal of arena shows where the band are closer to the audience, but also backs up how Springsteen has become more accessible to his fans, both on and off the stage.
It looked like another acoustic solo would finish off the night as he farewelled the band and took on solo duties on I’ll Work For Your Love.
(But not before a hilarious band roll call where Springsteen missed out Lofgren, and then tried to correct his mistake by a ‘last and most certainly not least’, followed by ‘Did I mention we have Nils Lofgren!’… several times.)
But even then he wasn’t done. Out came the harmonica and it was another acoustic Thunder Road that took the show to its finale.
2. Out in the Street
3. Sherry Darling (sign request)
4. Two Hearts
5. High Hopes
6. Just Like Fire Would
7. Light of Day (sign request)
8. Death to My Hometown
9. Hungry Heart
10. Girls In Their Summer Clothes (solo acoustic, sign request)
11. Save My Love
12. Atlantic City
14. Murder Incorporated
15. Johnny 99
16. Pay Me My Money Down
17. Shackled and Drawn
18. Waitin' On a Sunny Day
19. The Ghost of Tom Joad
20. The Rising
21. Heaven's Wall
22. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
23. Born to Run
24. Dancing in the Dark
25. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
26. Twist and Shout
27. I'll Work For Your Love (solo acoustic)
28. Thunder Road (solo acoustic)
Run time: 3 hours, 6 minutes
Tour so far: 55 songs in 2 shows, 41 different.
Tour so far: 55 songs in 2 shows, 41 different.