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Springsteen had performed the song acoustically himself a few years back, but this was a chance to see him let loose on the song's standard rock arrangement, sharing vocals with Adams.
Springsteen stayed on stage for one more song as Bryan explained it was time to return the favor and play one of Bruce's tunes. What followed was an impressive version of "Badlands," complete with chanting from the Bruce-centric crowd.
Kudos to Bryan's harmony vocals, and to his band for stepping into some very large E Street Band shoes and doing the song justice.
There was no sax player to be had, so the sax solo was replaced with guitar solos. The crowd continued the "whoa-oh-oh-ohs" as the song concluded and as HRH Prince Harry took the stage to embrace and thank both Bruce and Bryan.
Alas, this wasn't a concert but a ceremony that was being televised, so strict timelines needed to be adhered to.
In the Prince's address to the athletes and crowd, he had mentioned that the atheletes had asked him last year to get Bruce for the closing ceremonies, so he proved to be a man good to his word!
Unfortunately that did not include a surprise guest appearance from Bruce, but it was fun nonetheless as they performed a medley of some of their greatest hits, finishing with "Takin' Care of Business" — which I thought would be right up Bruce's alley, but it was not to be.
As we made our way out, we were wishing some U. We shook his hand, thanked him for his service and sacrifice to our country, and told him how proud we were of him.
He spoke of how he wanted to continue in some fashion with the Invictus movement, and I can certainly understand why. Invictus is latin for "unconquered.
With all due respect to Bruce and the other performers, to me that was the highlight of the evening.
You can watch the Invictus Games Closing Ceremony at ctv. Working on "cuts like a knife" backstage with brucespringsteen just before we went out and sang it for real at the invictusgames Toronto.
What a moment to hang on to, thanks Bruce. A post shared by Bryan Adams bryanadams on Oct 1, at 2: The night before Springsteen's birthday, he rehearses again for invitees Monmouth University.
Thursday night at PNC it was all about Sweet Melissa, and although the event is called the Laid Back Festival, there was nothing laid back about it — especially when Bruce Springsteen joined in.
And how sweet it was. Shana Tovah to all! Geils Band's number one album — and one would have thought the 80's had come back to life.
It was a highlight of an evening filled with pure joy. But what is Christmas without Santa Bruce had been sitting in section , enjoying the show and saying hi to his neighbors and friends.
He actually told a woman sitting next to me, whom sees him at the gym a few times a week, "See ya tomorrow!
Jackson Browne asked if this was still the Garden State Arts Center — part of the epic Running on Empty was recorded here, and he opened his set with "You Love the Thunder" as a tribute to that night 40 years ago.
Other standouts with his fantastic band were "The Pretender" and my personal favorite "Redneck Friend," which I had not hear Browne sing in years "Honey you shake, I'll rattle, we'll roll on down the line Jackson was joined by Steven for his classic "I Am a Patriot," adding some very timely lyrics about racism, bigotry, and current events.
You could see the joy in their strut, revisiting this epic song together as on the Vote for Change tour. And then it was time for Bruce to make one more Jersey Jump on stage, for a nearly nine-minute performance of "Take it Easy" into "Our Lady of the Well," justr as it's sequenced on the For Everyman album.
After hanging back on "Our Lady of the Well," Springsteen the guitar-slinger threw in some sizzling riffs to finish off one of the least laid back evenings I've spent.
A Workshop, Springsteen's first run-through of Springsteen on Broadway set for a small group friends and family at Monmouth University.
He mentioned that the last time they'd played together, at Hyde Park in London, they'd had the plug pulled on them by the authorities, so this time he hoped they'd be able to finish their song.
After playing it once, they made a snap and wise decision to play it again. Afterwards, as Bruce left the stage — grin still plastered to his face — he could be seen wiping a tear from his eye.
An emotional night for all involved — especially the very lucky audience. It was such an unlikely occurrence that it seemed not only improbable but well nigh impossible that Bruce Springsteen would make an unannounced appearance on an Asbury Park stage on two successive nights.
It was unlikely even in the mid-'80s, when he was out and about on what seemed like a weekly basis. And we have a new album.
Yeah," he smirked, "I only do this every 20 or 30 years. But against all odds, there he was again for the encore. After the outstanding full set from the Disciples, Stevie called out, "Where's my brother from another mother?
Trademark Fender guitar in hand, Bruce joined his old friend at center stage and helped close the show with two songs.
There were many songs in the set that Springsteen could've guested on, but really, there was only one that would do for this type of an evening: It's difficult to overstate the emotional impact of the song on fans of the Jersey Shore music scene; like "I Don't Want to Go Home," it is, in a sense, every bit a part of their shared past as it is for its performers.
On Saturday night, even if it were just Van Zandt by himself at the mic, the song would have packed a powerful punch.
But with these two lifelong friends and music partners sharing the mic at center stage, the performance became one for the ages.
What to close with, then? How about a Chuck Berry song? How about "Bye Bye Johnny"? How about Bruce taking the second verse, which more or less tells the story of his own life:.
She remembered taking money out from gathering crop And buying Johnny's guitar at a broker shop As long as he would play it by the railroad side And wouldn't get in trouble he was satisfied But never thought that there would come a day like this When she would have to give her son a goodbye kiss At the song's conclusion, a beaming Bruce leaned into the mic and shouted "Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul!
The audience stood and clamored for several moments, but to no avail; there would be no encore. Van Zandt and his new Disciples will be performing many shows in the coming months, but there will be few to match what happened at the Paramount Theatre.
Friday night, a sold-out Paramount Theatre bore witness not just to the world premiere of Just Before the Dawn: Riot, Redemption, Rock 'n' Roll , but the long-awaited onstage reunion of many of the key figures in the history of Asbury Park's legendary Upstage club.
While many of the musicians in attendance have appeared onstage together in various capacities over the years — many still live in the area — such gatherings have become increasingly rare.
And the appearance of Asbury's unofficial "holy trinity" of Southside Johnny Lyon, Steven Van Zandt, and a surprise unbilled Bruce onstage together is also not something even longtime area residents have seen often.
Yet, here they were, gathered in celebration of their unique shared history in the short-lived venue on Cookman Avenue.
As per usual for film premieres, many people associated with the film were in attendance for the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival event.
The documentary itself was well-received, as the audience greeted the appearance of familiar figures onscreen with warm applause.
It's a fairly straightforward doc that employs all the standard techniques — archival film footage, candid interviews, voice-over narration — and audiences looking for a brief history of a familiar place and time with some great music will come away satisfied.
Entertaining as Just Before the Dawn is, however, it barely scratches the surface of its subject. The history of the Upstage and the larger story of Asbury Park's rise and fall are vast and complex topics that don't easily lend themselves to the minute documentary format.
Historians like Daniel Wolff Fourth of July, Asbury Park and Charles and Margaret Horner Classic Urban Harmony have been wise to explore this complicated history not by being all-inclusive, but by honing on particular aspects of the story — a key theme or genre, a particular series of events.
The story of Asbury Park in many ways is a story of America in microcosm, a conundrum that demands a long-form, multi-episode format.
Unfortunately, much of the tale still waits to be told. Their appearance onstage a few minutes after the intermission was no great surprise to many in attendance.
Indeed, no small number of tickets were snatched up in the hours just prior to the event, as word filtered out that a Springsteen appearance was in the offing.
Nonetheless, a thrilled audience leapt to its feet when the curtain drew back to reveal Little Steven and his new Disciples lineup augmented by a certain Freehold native on Gibson guitar and, to his left, former local whiz kid David Sancious and another local bandleader by the name of Southside Johnny.
Southside burst into a Jukes-esque, horn-drenched "Blues is My Business," and the night was off and running on all eight cylinders.
After the Berry tribute, Steven and much of his band departed, leaving Southside joined by Jukes bassist John Conte and ex-Jukes drummer Joe Bellia at the front mic to belt a cover of B.
Dressed in work shirt and jeans, an unassuming Bruce hung back from the center mic for a good portion of the show.
On a night celebrating the communal spirit of the Upstage, the frontman role was shared by many, with Asbury Jukes keyboardist and official ringleader Jeff Kazee somehow managing to coordinate the comings and goings of an endless array of musicians and instruments without any apparent mishaps.
The Upstage Jam Band returned with Messrs. Springsteen and Lyon in tow, backing the two of them as Bruce took lead vocals on a version of Little Richard's "Lucille" punctuated by DeSarno and Ryan guitar solos.
Bruce calling for Sancious to play the Hammond B-3 was priceless; "When I first saw him, he was playing the organ," he commented afterward.
He remembered all the words! Bruce left the stage briefly to make way for Jeff Kazee's lead vocal turn on "Fortunate Son" before reemerging to wind down the set.
Southside stepped back to center mic to lead off the Jukes classic "I Don't Wanna Go Home" with a few bars of "Stand by Me," which was followed by a set-closing, all-hands-on-deck jam on yet another Chuck Berry medley, "Johnny B.
Goode" into "Roll Over, Beethoven. It was a rocking, satisfying night of music that reflected the true Upstage spirit, with familiar Asbury Park faces like LaBella and Marc Ribler mixed in with the talent-laden lineup of assorted Disciples, Upstagers and Jukes all generously sharing the limelight.
Even with Bruce and Southside doing the yeoman's share of leads, there was plenty of room for each musician to have a moment or two to shine, just as they had in the old days.
As it did in , the Springsteen tour of Australia and New Zealand finished in an industrialized section of Auckland on a warm summer's night.
Three years ago Born to Run was played in its entirety and "My City of Ruins" was dedicated to the people of Christchurch. On Saturday night the show began with three Born in the U.
Both tour closers sent Kiwis and Aussies and global denizens of E Street Nation into the night with aching feet, strained vocal chords and the usual conjecture about when if?
Bruce and the band would be back again. There was a marked difference Saturday night from the tour finale, however, and it wasn't found on stage.
It was dripping from the eyes and down the cheeks of people throughout Mt Smart Stadium. Women, men, young, old. Tears that fell throughout the night but poured during a final acoustic "Thunder Road.
Tears of joy and sadness like I've never seen at a concert before. We're all getting older; appearances to the contrary the man himself is closing on 70, and the E Street Band has herculean numbers on its odometer.
Does that explain it? After losing so much grace and greatness in , are we more aware of the mortality of our heroes? We know this won't go on forever: If so, Saturday night in Auckland — and I don't care how corny this sounds — was all sevens.
Blatant, unapologetic corniness is a symptom of repeated exposure to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Each Springsteen concert is like a beam of white light through a prism that results in a rainbow of perspectives and opinions.
This summer tour closer would be the rare gig that all factions could agree on — it was a Get Off Your Ass and Dance show through and through.
And that's clearly what Springsteen had in mind: Bruce had a firm hand on the wheel all night, the collective eyes of the band locked on him even more than usual, a breakneck pace maintained by The Boss from the band's entrance at 7: You'd be hard pressed to find a trio of songs less open to misinterpretation than "Darlington County," "Working on the Highway," and "Glory Days.
Darkness had yet to fall on Mt Smart Stadium, so no spotlight was needed to watch Bruce saunter from the stage to the lip of the pit, all Stones-y riff and working-man shirt.
In his Born to Run book Bruce wrote about knowing that he "played," not "worked," for a living, but on this night he was working hard to connect with people in the rectangular, rugby field dimensions of Mt Smart Stadium.
During a typically exuberant "Working on the Highway" he put a fine point on it, challenging the crowd — "Lemme see ya work that thing! An audibled "Glory Days" — the mic guy was sent scurrying back after retrieving it from the pit stage and Kevin had to be told directly by Bruce which guitar he needed — had Bruce imploring his consigliere "C'mon, work that thing Steve!
At one point Steve slipped a pair of party glasses on Bruce's face. A quick peek at a video screen provided an answer. Are the people with me? A sufficiently affirmative response made him cry "It's ass-shaking time!
These Born in the U. But as Bruce drew a "99" in the air for another audible it was clear he was going with his gut, and his gut said roadhouse.
The band modified accordingly and a trashy, honky tonk "Johnny 99" ensued with Soozie, Nils and Jake doing solos and joining Bruce on the pit stage lip to a stomping finish.
And c'mon the sax man did, all for the sake of those "in the stands. Putting things back together… after they've fallen apart.
You gotta use your hands now. Since I've written [the song] it's become about a lot of different things, mainly about the things that we lose as life goes on.
The older you get, the more that loss weighs on you. Big, bad-ass, beloved, missing Clarence. Bruce out amongst us before directing his band to the song's gentle finish.
Nightfall blanketed New Zealand's North Island as Jake held onto his anger during a roaring "Wrecking Ball" and the show's core temperature began to rise.
Bruce yelled "Promised Land" to his bandmates before his harmonica sang and we were reminded that the quality of our lives may rise and fall but Springsteen's catalog of songs never wavers.
We just relate to those songs differently. Max's high-hat signalled "Candy's Room," and we were in that rare concert zone when it feels like the ground below us could fall away but we'd remain floating in place.
Max's jackhammered snare gave way to Bruce's wailing guitar and in a few seconds Roy's intro to "Because the Night" unleashed the most intense version of the song on this tour.
By the time Captain Lofgren finished his whirling dervish solo we were swept up in a current and dropped on our heads and barely had time to breathe before "The Rising" started and the cycle repeated.
For one last time the furious perfection of "Badlands" had us bouncing in place and shouting like mad. A wild, joyous, goofy, exhausting "Rosalita" ended this foursome of '70s thunderclaps that's a fountain of youth to older fans and an affirmation of rock 'n' roll's power to those weaned on a variation neutered by corporate-owned radio monopolies and TV "talent" shows.
After thanking Auckland and saluting the Auckland City Mission for doing God's work, Bruce said "This is the last night of our tour down here" and breathlessly thanked a litany of tour personnel with special shout outs to longtime concert producer George Travis and "Ms.
Barbara Carr" of Jon Landau Management. Bruce repeated "until the end… forever friends" in a whisper and pointed to the heavens with both hands, acknowledging a stadium full of forever friends while my ex-pat heart broke for so many friends left behind in the States Max pounded the "Hiding on the backstreets" crescendo into our skulls, and Bruce delivered a vocal performance as raw and real as the words themselves.
The big four of "Born to Run," "Dancing in the Dark" the only song to acknowledge sign wavers on this night , "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" and "Shout" got one last blowout before a tear-jerking acoustic "Thunder Road" brought the tour to a close.
Bruce said, "Thanks for a great night. We'll be seeing ya. Friends huddled in circles, others stood alone, smiles creasing faces that ain't that young anymore.
Glistening eyes took one last look around the quickly dissipating closing-night crowd, paths crossed on tour about to bring us home to our everyday lives.
Lives that, unlike a Bruce show, offer no guarantees. Lives that for some had been on hold for five weeks after this tour began on a January night in Perth, Australia when Bruce declared the band's allegiance with a "new American resistance.
With a raw longing for this magical circus to continue we bade tearful goodbyes and told each other we'd do it again someday.
While that may or may not be true, we also swore forever friends. And that, my friends, will be true… until the end. Bruce Springsteen often refers to his time on stage as his job.
Tuesday night in Christchurch it was his calling, and he wore that calling on his sleeve. Bruce knew it; all 30, people in attendance knew it: This one was necessary.
This one would echo long after the band left AMI Stadium — a temporary structure built after Christchurch's rugby stadium was heavily damaged in the February 22, earthquake — as a tribute to those lost and a celebration of being glad to be alive.
When this show appeared on the Summer Tour itinerary it was easy to imagine it being special. That earthquake killed and left its historic city center in ruins.
Multiple aftershocks have rocked the Canterbury region. A tsunami threatened the South Island's east coast last year.
The citizens of Christchurch have been roiled and frustrated and discouraged by redevelopment delays. It's no exaggeration to say this Christchurch concert has been anticipated for generations.
An optimist says this particular show by this particular band couldn't have come at a better time. A pessimist says no show could live up to such weighty expectations.
What does The Boss say? The Boss says it's ass-shaking time. The Boss, as always, is right, and everything, absolutely everything, is alright.
To understand tonight's cathartic show you must know about Wendy Davie. She's an emergency room nurse who married a Christchurch boy, raised three kids and on February 22, did what so many of her fellow citizens did: She then volunteered herself to a trio of policemen.
They drove her into Christchurch's devastated CBD, where she checked in with a commander who gave her his jacket and helmet and sent her to the collapsed Pyne Gould Corporation building.
There she helped set up a triage area for victims of the pancaked five-story structure, a place where 18 people lost their lives. Later that night, after a tearful reunion with her family in their quake-damaged home nearly every home in Christchurch was damaged or destroyed by that historically powerful earthquake , she and her husband Pete lay in bed and agreed there was only one thing for them to do: The seed was planted more than three years ago on the day the Springsteen tour of Australia and NZ was announced.
The itinerary included two shows in Auckland but none in Christchurch. Wendy's a fan, but it was lifelong diehard Pete who asked, "How fucking hard could it be?
On her lunch break the next day Wendy started finding out by setting up a "Come to Christchurch Bruce Springsteen" Facebook page. After sending invitations to a small circle of friends, she was startled to watch the page attract more than 11, followers in ten days.
As it was difficult to contact anyone in the Springsteen organization, she informed Frontier Touring of the petition but never heard a word in response.
That word came from Springsteen himself tonight in his introduction to "My City of Ruins": Wanted us to come and play. It took a while, but I'm glad we got here.
I got a chance to drive around and take a look at the city today. I want to send this out to everyone who suffered in the earthquake, send out our love and prayers, and to the emergency services who I know are working today to contain the fires outside of town.
This is for those folks… and for all of you. Can a song possess the person who wrote it? It'll come off as hyperbolic, but Bruce was more than a preacher on this night — he was a messenger, conjurer, shaman, healer.
But tonight Bruce recalibrated it and set it loose within the hearts of the people of Christchurch like a voodoo man stealing souls and setting them free in a better, less lonely place.
Prior to this the band had hit the stage at 7: The sun had yet to set behind the stage, but the air was cool — a perfect night for a city never listed on a Springsteen T-shirt until After a guttural "Finally!
Bruce's fierce vocals were complemented by a searing guitar duel between he and Steve, who was in spectacular form all night. Don't think it's ever occurred to me at a Bruce show, but it seemed the songs themselves were secondary to the touching of skin, the making of eye contact, the involvement of "the stands.
Everything changed with "My City of Ruins. He let the song's gentle beginning wash over the crowd before making the introduction that set Wendy's heart afire.
After Charlie's blissful organ solo, Jake laid down a sax vibe that made Bruce call out "Do it again!
But slowly, slowly over the past ten years it's built itself back up. A song at the end of the day can be about a lot of things — about my town, about your town, about New York City and even personal things that you've lost.
Bruce prefaced "Mary's Place" with the usual "Are you ready for a house party? Another sign led to a cracking "Radio Nowhere" that ended with Max pulverizing his drum kit.
Bruce ripped a solo from the Carter administration during "Prove It All Night," and then an audibled "Darkness on the Edge of Town" hit home in a city hobbled by loss and disillusionment.
The twosome of "The River" and "Youngstown" have been linchpins throughout the Australian tour and remained so tonight, Nils nearly laying his guitar on the ground during "Youngstown" before detonating another sinister solo.
Every song that followed was a setlist standard, and every one crackled and hissed. An inflatable kiwi was handed to an inquisitive Bruce during "Highway.
Bruce asking Steve "Is it quittin' time? Is it hamburger time? Is it sexy time? The final four songs of the main set — "Because the Night," "The Rising," "Badlands," and "Rosalita" — brought the show to a boil.
Steve mauled Bruce's face with hands shoved under Springsteen's armpits from behind during the Three Stooges bit of "Rosalita" because… well… because what else should a couple of sexagenarians be doing in New Zealand on a Tuesday night in front of 30, people?
Bruce thanked City Mission for doing God's work before playing an affecting "My Hometown" that set a plaintive stage for perpetual powerhouse "Born to Run.
A shall-we-say carefree woman on the shoulders of a guy in the pit repeatedly flashed the band, causing Bruce to swing back and forth from the video screen to the crowd.
Where I was standing no one moved. When they did it was to seek out someone to hug or gush about what they'd just experienced.
I can't pretend to know how it felt when locals watched Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band walk onto a Christchurch stage for the very first time.
All I could do was study faces, eavesdrop on conversations, put away pints with locals and ask their slurred, ecstatic opinions afterward. For most this was their first Springsteen concert, so their jubilation was fresh, real, untouched by the taint of "Yeah but you should have seen him in blah blah blah She did admit to thinking "We did it" at some point in the night, but she's not someone in search of a slap on the back.
Unsurprisingly, Wendy was more concerned about conveying thanks to Bruce and the band for coming to Christchurch than the accolades that have come her way since Bruce's intro to "My City of Ruins" put a spotlight on her petition.
I'll let her words finish this report, as they not only perfectly summarize a special evening but capture her no-bullshit, brilliantly genuine spirit in a city where spirits have been tested but hope, however far-flung, hangs on.
When I asked what she'd say to Springsteen if she had his ear, she rubbed her eyes, glanced out the window and looked me straight in the eye. Coming off the scintillating pair of shows in Brisbane, one of the best pairs of shows I've seen this decade, it seemed unlikely that Bruce would match those setlists or performances, considering the Hope show was more of a festival setting.
He didn't — but what he did deliver was a totally different show that was excellent and just the right one for the circumstances.
The shows in Brisbane or the Philly of the Southern Hemisphere, as some are now calling it were played in a tiny arena, whereas Hope Estate is a huge temporary amphitheater with much of the crowd far away on the lawn.
And the place is a winery, so there's a fair amount of drinking going on. Throw in not one but two opening acts, Diesel and Jet, and you could not have a more different setting for a show.
It was a unique night. Adding to the atmosphere was the good ol' fashioned Australian rainstorm, which not only showered the waiting crowd with a torrential downpour but later pelted us with large hail!
Fortunately, the weather cleared up, and Jet was able to play their set after a brief delay. And then it was Boss time. With the strings having played their final show in Brisbane, a crisp and appropriate "Who'll Stop the Rain" opened the show.
The difference in the type of night it would be was defined immediately when Bruce launched into "Badlands" and then "Out in the Street" to get the crowd going.
A sign request followed for "I Fought the Law," played a little tentatively but still a very nice nugget for the diehards.
A few minutes later another sign from the crowd brought us "Waitin' on a Sunny Day," the second of three weather-appropriate songs for the evening.
Bruce then unveiled another sign request, this one for major obscurity "None But the Brave" from the Born in the U.
It was a beautiful performance of the song, the first ever in Australia… and it was met with absolute dead silence from the crowd.
So that would be the last rarity of the evening, and from there the show went into a string of big rockers, which were completely effective in getting the crowd up and dancing.
The apex of this sequence was the Born in the U. The encores opened with one last sign request. Bill Walsh, all the way from Point Pleasant, NJ, was pulled out of the crowd to play "No Surrender," which was dedicated to Bill's dad — also Bill — who had surgery over the weekend.
The crowd ate it up. The audience frenzy built through the regular encore sequence of "Born to Run," "Dancing," "Tenth Avenue," and "Shout" before Bruce launched into "Bobby Jean" to say "good luck, goodbye" to his Australian fans.
The band left the stage, and Bruce returned alone with his acoustic guitar and harmonic rack for a lovely solo "Thunder Road.
And with a final wave and "We'll be seeing you," a quite emotional Bruce left the stage, ending a month of shows here in Australia. It's clear he has developed quite an attachment with his Australian audiences after these repeated trips Down Under the past five years, and the feeling is mutual.
From this American, I say with deep gratitude: Let's do it again soon. Welcome to the inferno. Brisbane has been sizzling through a heatwave for months, and tonight it got a little hotter.
The final night of a terrific two-night stand, the show again began with "New York City Serenade. Roy Bittan's stunning piano work sets the mood as one of Springsteen's most powerful narratives unfolds.
Four years ago, as the Wrecking Ball Tour began, Springsteen crouched at the foot of the same stage and told assembled media that his ticket was his handshake and he would never rely on a show becoming rote.
On three tours over four years he has delivered on his promise… and then some. And when they did — boom, the magic happened. Calling for E-flat, Bruce was back on the telecaster as the band, with terrific backing vocals from all, kicked into "Jole Blon.
He advised us that, no matter what you do as a parent, eventually children "have their own lives to live [and] their own mistakes to make.
Fifty-odd years ago the Lovin' Spoonful asked a very simple question: Do You Believe in Magic? Of course we do, we're at a Bruce Springsteen concert.
Spotting a sign in the crowd, Bruce turned his attention to Nathan, a young teenager asking if he could get up and play "Growin' Up" with the band.
Bruce asked two pertinent questions. Did he know the song? Could he play guitar? The answers were "yes," so Nathan got on stage, played like a champion, and sang with a confidence of someone doing 50 gigs a year.
Keeping the mood up, Bruce played "Out in the Street," took a sign request for "No Surrender," led a full house sing-along for "Hungry Heart," and body-surfed his way back to the main stage.
Tonight the seats were sold with degree views. Spotting a sign behind him, Bruce called for "Mary's Place. Next came a trilogy of songs that embodied joy, nostalgia, desire, loss, and the wonder of the imagination as he performed "Fire," his reworked cover of Elvis Presley's "Follow That Dream," and the masterpiece that is "The River.
When the tour began Bruce assured us the job of the artist was "to witness and to testify. If the well inebriated strangers standing next to me are reading this, "41 Shots" isn't a drinking game.
A double from the "Born in the U. On the previous two tours to Australia, which were his first here since , we saw the band augmented by horns, singers, and Tom Morello.
That was fabulous, but, as an alternate, it's been tremendous to hear the core E Street Band in all their sonic splendor.
For the encore Bruce dedicated "Jungleland" to Brett, a Canadian who traveled far and wide and had never heard it in concert.
Bruce then added that he'll be seeing Canada soon. Make of that what you will. Maybe it means a gig? Maybe it means he'll be taking the wife and kids on a driving holiday?
The band completely hit it out of the park, and the gig will go down in the annals as one of the best that ever happened in the river city.
The caravan has gone. The rock 'n' roll citadel has left its temporary location. Who wouldn't want to spend Valentine's Day with Bruce Springsteen?
This week, the citadel of rock 'n' roll has temporarily relocated to Brisbane, Australia. The set opened with "New York City Serenade," augmented by an eight-piece string section.
Spellbinding, this has become one of the signature moments of the tour. The full house was in a particularly joyful mood as Bruce and the band kicked it to a rousing and rare "Lucky Town.
Delivering a "Valentine's Day triple," he offered some sage advice on what can be "the third loneliest day of the year": As the song twisted and turned, Bruce gave it his all before confiding, "the band has this all fucked up!
To say his singing in the final furlong was magnificent would be underselling it. The song was saved, and with great humor Bruce added, "Before you commit suicide, let me play you this next one.
Brisbane might have to sharpen up its skills in the pit, but the fans got a crowd-surfing Bruce back to the stage and in one piece eventually.
With a setlist already littered with rarities and tour premieres, Bruce moved the intensity up a notch with "Youngstown," "Candy's Room," "She's the One," and "Because the Night.
The bite in his lead lines, coupled with a mix of sparsity and that word again intensity, has few peers. His playing on "Candy's Room" was stunning, while Nils left us in awe during breakout pieces on "Youngstown" and "Because the Night.
Still in Valentine's mode, Bruce pulled out a jaw-dropping "Secret Garden" that swayed until the band hit a groove.
Talk about "you complete me"… what a setlist! We know the Isley Brothers wrote "Shout," and it's been played by a million bands since.
But tonight Queenslanders saw the most incredible version of the song performed in this country since the Godfather of Australian rock 'n' roll, Johnny O'Keefe, tore it to shreds with the Delltones, back in the mids.
Tonight delivered pretty much everything you'd expect at a Springsteen gig. Hits, rarities, requests, and a man and his band who are prepared night after night to go out on a limb and create magic.
With his James Brown-style cape at his feet, Bruce urged us to join him on Thursday night for "another spectacular.
There is no more complicated concert event in Australia than a show at Hanging Rock in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria.
It gets built, it gets filled with concertgoers, it empties out, it gets taken apart, and kangaroos return to eat the grass and perhaps catch a buzz from so much spilled booze.
Such a massive, one-off production comes with risk. Will the weather hold? Will people drive an hour north of Melbourne en masse to see a show?
Will the main act provide a performance that justifies so much time and effort? Will everyone tolerate the epic gridlock that follows a massive gathering in woop-woop land?
To quote the bloke from Freehold: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Tonight's show was a triumph. An event in the best sense of the word.
Bruce, band, crowd — even the elements aligned: Rain seemingly triggered by the opening chords of an acoustic "The Promised Land" produced a rainbow that brought cheers.
Ever hear a crowd of people over the age of ten cheer a rainbow? This was a stadium special on a glorious Saturday in bushland.
The best of Australia, the best of the U. Thankfully the rain didn't last as long as songs with "land" in them, as Bruce followed the quietly rousing opener with full-bore boot stompers "American Land" and "Badlands.
It's gonna be a corker. After dedicating "Blinded by the Light" to "the Gudinskis" — a reference to the family of Hanging Rock concert promoter Michael Gudinski — Bruce pointed out how "Blinded" was "my only 1 song, and I didn't have it.
What stayed the same — what always stays the same — was the protagonist's desperation "You know what the Boss man likes" to get good with his girl.
Bruce went on walkabout during "Hungry Heart," his ventures up a riser behind front GA giving him panoramic views of the Macedon Ranges and throngs sitting on Hanging Rock's gently sloping hill.
His mic stand at the lip of the pit gave him trouble throughout, but Bruce kept the pace, swaying and smiling like a man about to steal your wife.
Thing went full Reagan-era retro with a delirious "Glory Days" that had Steve playing to what Bruce called "the Little Steven fan club" near the stage as the crowd bellowed every word.
Bruce started "Because the Night" as he did at the last Sydney show, repeating "Take me now…" several times before kicking the song into gear.
Nils was his usual energetic and upbeat self all night, but here he got to howl at a rising full moon with a typically jaw-dropping guitar solo.
By now twilight was fading into night and "The Rising" cast the band in a familiar orange and red glow, "Can't see nothing in front of me…" delivering its nightly, numbing chill.
How to follow the prayer-like "Rising" in the ancient mountains of Victoria, a place where the ghosts of our planet's oldest civilization linger in every gum tree and jagged hilltop?
With a joyous song about a young man with a big advance, a woman who plays blind man's bluff and a father who never… did… understand.
With Jake beside them at the lip of the stage, the three hammed it up for the hundredth time, Jake's boyishness perfectly complementing the knuckleheaded tomfoolery of Bruce and Steve's Moe and Curly routine and it was all fresh and funny, still a ridiculous testament to rock 'n' roll rebellion.
And still my favorite main-set closer. Bruce plucked a sign for "Jungleland," and it was proven again that the bigger the stage, the higher Jake Clemons rises.
His visage to the right of Springsteen as he plays the most famous sax solo in rock 'n' roll history is statuesque, the trance he puts himself in unbroken until Bruce gives him a hug at the solo's end.
Jake's an impossibly modest man for a musician of so many talents, but tonight's "Jungleland" offered inarguable proof of his continuing ascension to E Street Band legend.
The good people of Oz Harvest got a shout from a thankful Springsteen before he turned the key and "Born to Run" rumbled to life. A passing shower brought him out to the stage's edge to shut his eyes and feel the rain as women climbed on men's shoulders in preparation for "Dancing in the Dark.
If you have a once-in-a-lifetime shot at taking a selfie on stage with Bruce Springsteen during a show in front of thousands of people, get it right the first time.
Chasing Bruce around the stage in a doomed attempt to reposition yourself for a second go-round makes you look silly. Bruce went on another extended walkabout for "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out," and "Shout" had hands flying and asses shaking.
With a hearty "one more for Hanging Rock," Bruce jangled the opening chords to "Bobby Jean" and brought this high-wire spectacle of a day and night to a close.
Or so we thought. Shooting a look from the rear of the Hanging Rock stage we've seen so many times before — a look that says "What do I have to do for you people?
People hugged, people cried — ten minutes after Bruce left the stage I passed a man still staring at center mic, his face awash with tears — and we all exulted in the glee of another promise fulfilled.
Other than the tour opener in Perth, which featured a remarkable string of seven songs from , this Aussie tour has been notable for Performance Intensity over Setlist Eccentricity.
Die-hards will chew your ears off expressing their preference for the latter, but ten seconds of any night's "Badlands" settle the argument for the former.
To speak the language of my Aussie brethren, many of whom spend summer in a cricket coma, this second of two shows in Sydney was a bloody beauty all-rounder.
Lights down at 7: Bruce got caught up in "Spirit in the Night" to the point where he had to run through the lyrics "Where was I? Janey said hey little brother…" after sprawling on the lip of the stage and wooing a besotted rail-hugger while Jake played sexy sax.
The now-standard communal portion of the evening — "Out in the Street" into "Hungry Heart" — found Bruce smiling broadly and mugging with fans on the floor and front sections' edges.
I sometimes look at Springsteen at times like this and see a guy who's just woken up far away from home, threw cold water on his face, scarfed down a bowl of cereal, and found himself at the center of an adoring maelstrom.
Bruce Springsteen may be the only man on the planet to whom surfing over a crowd is as everyday as going for a surf in the ocean before breakfast.
In Australia, at least. The night's first sign choice was a sixer more cricket terminology for you — it equates to a home run.
The gorgeous falsetto of "The River" gave way to the menace of "Youngstown," a menace taken out and given a hiding by the first sublime Nils solo of the night.
Bruce called for "The Promised Land" next, and the pit responded like convicts on a jail break. A sorta, kinda familiar thundering of Max's drums I'm one of those jerks who calls out what's about to be played like some kid's going to hand me a giant stuffed panda as a prize opened up into "Rendezvous.
Bruce called out for another beloved cast-off next, and "Be True" sounded equally robust, Clarence's roaring sax finale played with exuberance by Jake.
Much of that refreshment got sprayed into the air at the count-off for "Working on the Highway," a hip-swaying olive branch for Aussies bemused by the previous rarities.
Next, Roy's piano intro to "Because the Night" charged the crowd ,and Bruce, alone in a spotlight, ratcheted the tension by repeating "Take me now…" in slow succession.
There's a metaphor for the pent-up release that followed, but as this is a family publication, I'll refrain from detailing it. Lots of hopping in the pit during another fired-up "Badlands.
A raucous and ridiculous "Rosalita" closed the main set, with Jake, Bruce, and Steve doing their Three Stooges thing at center stage, the year-old tune showing not a hint of grey or shaky legs.
After telling Sydneysiders "we love your support so far from home" and singing the praises of Foodbank NSW, the band unleashed "Born to Run" and it was party time.
With the house lights up and most sigh of the crowd on its feet, Bruce broke out another beloved song from the late '70s and smashed a fierce "Detroit Medley" that heaved and shook with River -era abandon.
By the time another jubilant "Shout" was in full force he stopped, bent over, and asked the Sydney crowd "Are you calling my name?
After "Bobby Jean" seemed to close the show, Bruce reappeared with an acoustic guitar and harp gear and played a simple "Thunder Road" that tamed the crowd into singing along at Bruce's tempo.
It was a gentle ending, at That locomotive travels next to Hanging Rock, an hour's drive north of Melbourne in the Macedon Ranges.
A full moon will be out. You have been warned. A commonly held perception of Australia's two largest cities — by Aussie blokes, at least — is that Sydney's the girl you'd take to Vegas, Melbourne's the one you'd take home to momma.
Following a torrid show in Melbourne Saturday, Tuesday's first of two in Sydney had Bruce and the band seemingly poised to sweep Australia's glamour capitol off its feet with a grand gesture or two.
What we got were three hours of steel and smoke, heart and bone. Another fat-free extravaganza included one Aussie tour premier — Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" — and 27 tried-and-true scorchers.
Sydney was soaked by massive rainstorms throughout the day, so temperatures were manageable outside, but by the time Bruce swung the "Wrecking Ball" the pit radiated with bouncing, perspiring bodies.
It may not have been the most youthful of crowds, but tonight's energy was intense on the floor and in scattered chunks throughout the 21,capacity arena.
Though now sporting a different corporate moniker, Qudos Bank Arena is the same facility Springsteen played in and To my ears it's home to a dense, vibrant sound that beats every other venue on this tour and turbocharges a band hitting on all cylinders.
Steve stood in his familiar spot with arms crossed and eyes closed at the start, praying to the garage rock gods or perhaps meditating on the night's post-show dinner spread.
Garry's bass floated above, below and behind it all. At the halfway mark of this show summer tour of Australia and New Zealand, "Serenade" remains a high point creatively and emotionally every night and will be long remembered after the lads and lass have left these shores.
Turn the lights on! Bruce reached into the crowd for a "My Love Will Not Let You Down" sign and smoked it the song, not the sign and seemed genuinely hesitant to crowd surf during "Hungry Heart.
Another sign brought bar band standard but rarely played "Long Tall Sally. Looking at Steve throughout, Springsteen might well have been harking back to their days playing the church basements and parking lots along Route 9 before moving up to the bars of Asbury Park in the early '70s.
A blistering "Wrecking Ball" kicked off the night's most intense stretch. Bruce made an unabashed appeal for that energy before "Mary's Place" — "Sydney, make me feel your spirit right now" — before unleashing "Candy's Room" and "She's the One" on a suspecting and highly worked-up crowd.
This night's blue-collar ethos reached its height with a pair of Born in the U. Bruce called out Nils at the end of "Because the Night" for a solo that had him spinning and our neck hairs standing on end.
On any given night anything can happen at a Springsteen show, but instead of a one-off setlist rarity or special guest, tonight's impossible-to-predict happening was a performance of "The Rising" that — you know where this is going — brought tears to my eyes and had the pit levitating.
No individual element made it so. It was a group effort that included band, crowd, and ghosts of those lost. Just another tiny miracle that's not listed on your ticket but is included in the price of admission.
Jake stood tall and still, resurrecting Clarence's herculean solo while Bruce kept time with his right hand. The usual encores got everybody dancing, and "Bobby Jean" brought the show to a heartfelt close at The day's downpours meant air thick with the smell of eucalyptus greeted us as we left the arena.
After tonight's joyride with a finely tuned E Street Band and madly grinning Springsteen at the wheel, it felt like we should have been breathing in Turnpike tollbooth deep in the swamps of Jersey.
The place is ripe with good-looking men and women in their summer clothes. A DJ is spinning a mix of hip-hop and obscurities, typical hipster soundtrack.
A space for dancing in front of the DJ is vacant. Suddenly, like wolves howling at the scent of blood, a "Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh" "Badlands" chant arises.
The DJ, aware of a need to appease the howlers, drops the needle on "Hungry Heart," Max's drums popping like the fireworks that ended this second and final Melbourne show.
People in River Tour T-shirts converge on the dance floor from every corner of the bar, a full-throated "Got a wife in kids in Baltimore, Jack" obliterating all other sounds.
The DJ wisely follows with "Dancing in the Dark" before setting loose a force he clearly doesn't understand: My cohorts and I scream words of longing and desperation like we're possessed by the Jersey Devil itself.
We smash into one another, screaming to the ceiling, laughing with joy. We're not seeking attention. We're at the mercy of a lingering force too raw to be tamed.
A young blonde I've never seen before throws her arms around me, a temporary Wendy holding on for dear life, both of us charged by nearly three hours of a superhuman Springsteen.
The whole experience surreal, a dream, a possession. But it happened, and none of us will ever forget it. Which is a perfect way to describe night two in Melbourne.
A you-had-to-be-there performance, one not defined by setlists or duration or letters home. A night in which a woman gasped "What's he doing?
He's blasting expectations, again. He's replacing cynicism with glee, again. He's shaking his ass so we shake our collective asses, again.
He's pushing the boundaries of a year-old rock 'n' roller, again. He's sweating like a motherfucker, again.
He's playing a catalog we know with religious fervour yet blowing our minds with songs' intensity and set placement, again.
And doing it in a way that feels like it's never been done before, like we're the beneficiaries of a miracle cure that's been smuggled through customs in the form of a New Jersey troubadour with a rockin' band.
Most shows unfold in vivid sections, but tonight felt a song medley. Bruce took the stage in a River- era sky blue shirt at 7: Springsteen's shirt was already ready for wringing by the time a sharp "Out in the Street" had him asking "Where's the girl who wants to dance with the Mighty Max?
This was a Fun Show. Further proof was manifested by Bruce taking signs from the crowd for the first time on this tour.
First up was "Sherry Darling," which when followed by "Hungry Heart" made for the ultimate River singalong trio.
Jake was caught unaware shortly before his "Hungry Heart" solo and had to sprint — the man can move — to the walkway behind the front GA to play beside Bruce.
He didn't quite get there, but then no one could catch Bruce on this night. Like a boxer who sees the next punch coming, he anticipated the crowd's mood and either met or challenged it with each song, rarely taking more than a few seconds between songs.
He must have moved too fast for himself when, after holding up a sign for "This Hard Land," he strapped on a harp rack and began playing "This Hard Land" harmonica, but from his guitar came the intro to "Glory Days.
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