Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band perform The River Tour at The Ricoh Arena Coventry on Friday 3rd June 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Asking if it is quality or quantity that attracts the fans to see Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band, it didn’t matter as 50,000 fans went to the Ricoh Arena last night, and were treated to both.

Touring to promote the launch of Ties That Bind: The River Collection; a box set which contains the songs from the original 1980 double album plus a series of outtakes from around that period, it was no surprise to hear the likes of Sherry Darling, Two Hearts and Hungry Heart as well as the title song from that original album and the first track which gave the new collection its name.

Emerging unaccompanied on stage to acknowledge the crowd before sitting at his piano to play an acoustic surprising opener, For You, which was barely heard amongst the screams and squeals of this raucous audience.

Everyone going to a Springsteen concert knows what to expect, and he did not disappoint. Joining him on stage was The E Street Band providing brilliant musicianship from the likes of double guitarists Nils Lofgren and (Little) Steve Van Zandt who made the sound swing and crunch throughout the set, whilst drummer Max Weinburg also nailed it along with bassist Garry Tallent. All of the band seemed to be living as though it were 35 years ago.

What was nice to see was a delightful and heartfelt tribute to former saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who sadly passed away in 2011. But what better tribute than to included Clarence’s nephew, Jake in the band and he did his uncle proud.

But it was The Boss that had this audience in the palm of his hand. When he performed his romantic songs such as Drive All Night and tour debut, Save My Love, he sounded like the familiar romantic of his earlier days. But when he rocked out tunes such as You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch) and others, he sounded like the party boy of old.

Mid 1980’s smash hits Born In The USA and Dancing In The Dark evolved into a Ricoh Arena karaoke session whilst Born To Run, Badlands, and Because The Night had them not only singing but rocking.

Finishing as he had started with an acoustic number, Thunder Road brought the set to an end. The fans may have queued for over 24 hours to get into the Golden Circle below the stage, but they were richly rewarded by over three hours of a concert that showed that Springsteen at 66 years old was still able to rock the night away. He could not be faulted as he sung lead vocals, strummed his guitar throughout, played harmonica on several tracks and engaged constantly with the crowd.

Whatever his source of energy; he should bottle it and sell it at the merchandise desk. There would be quite a queue, but The Boss has a formulae that works and it was difficult not to get caught up in the sheer exuberance of it all. And what an occasion it was.