15 Jun 2013 - 5:30 PM
Stand back Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho - you may have won trophies under the bright lights of Wembley Stadium but when Bruce Springsteen is in town there's only one Boss!
Springsteen's Wrecking Ball tour had already smashed through North America, Australia, Scandinavia, Germany and Italy this year before rolling onto English shores for Saturday night's extravaganza that marked the start of Wembley Stadium's summer calendar of headline concerts.
Wrecking Ball may have been about the demolition of New York's famous Giants Stadium but it was an apt title for Springsteen's long-awaited return to a different looking Wembley. The native of Long Branch, New Jersey hadn't played inside the stadium since 1988 and the Tunnel of Love tour that had taken place beneath the old Twin Towers.
Bruce's E Street Band are like family with regular fixtures such as the bandana wearing musician/actor Steven Van Zandt (Sil in Sopranos), Max Weinberg on drums and Nils Lofgren in full Gangs of New York style jacket and top hat.
Their opening salvo followed in the footsteps of the San Siro show a fortnight ago, a charged rendition of Land of Hope and Dreams that emerged on last year's Wrecking Ball album despite being debuted over a decade ago.
Jackson Cage and Radio Nowhere followed before Bruce went walkabout to the edge of the crowd, picking up placards and banners plus a little reminder of home and warmer climes in the Stars and Stripes.
The E-Street band's brass section took centre stage for 1973's Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) with the spirit of their long standing and dearly departed sax player Clarence Clemons living on in his nephew Jake who played the horn shoulder to shoulder with The Boss.
"It's been raining like it's the end of the world" commented Bruce on the English summer before donning his harmonica for This Hard Land, a song that echoes the depression era ballads of Woody Guthrie.
Hungry Heart was a Wembley Stadium singalong, Bruce back amongst the crowd and Jake Clemons' sax soaring through the London skies.
"Do you wanna hear Darkness on the Edge of Town?" asked The Boss to a unanimous "Yes" from 73,000 plus crowd.
With Fender Telecaster in hand, Badlands began an hour plus mini set dedicated to his fourth LP from 1978 that reached number 5 on the Billboard chart all those years ago.
The gospel tinged Shackled and Drawn from Wrecking Ball brought Wembley back to Bruce's current catalogue as red light bathed the crowd and Waitin on a Sunny Day saw Springsteen hand the mic to a youngster from the crowd...The E-Street Band had found a new member!
Pay Me My Money Down from 2006's Seeger Sessions album brought a little slice of New Orleans to North-West London as the E-Street band congregated at the front of the crowd.
And the Wembley Arch lit up for the home straight of the set as Born to Run and Dancing in the Dark rang out in the night sky.
Springsteen began to bring the curtain down on the three hour plus show with Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, featuring a video tribute to Clarence Clemons, an extended cover of Twist and Shout before ending with Thunder Road.
"It's been great to play your new Wembley Stadium," said Springsteen to the crowd.
The Boss has spoken.
Land of Hope and Dreams
Save My Love
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
This Hard Land
Lost in the Flood
Death to my Hometown
Adam Raised a Cain
Something in the Night
Racing in the Street
Streets of Fire
Prove It All Night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Light of Day
Pay Me My Money Down
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Twist and Shout