Although a Bruce Springsteen concert might not seem like the most obvious reference to things Irish, Paddy’s Day weekend got us thinking about our trip to Ireland this past summer.
Although not originally on our itinerary, after we booked our travel dates, we discovered that Bruce Springsteen was playing at the RDS Arena in Dublin while we were there. Since we live in Newfoundland, where it is unlikely that The Boss will play any time soon, we jumped at the chance to hear him perform in person.
Not knowing the stadium or its seating arrangements, and feeling lucky just to get the tickets online, we took what remained and chose standing room seats.
Fast forward several months: flight over, babysitter booked, the day of the concert arrived. We dropped our son off at a friend of a friend’s, drove back to our hotel, parked the car, and walked from Temple Bar to the RDS, an enjoyable 40 minute walk in the summer evening. The clouds threatened rain but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. The stadium was easy to find thanks to both good signage and a steady stream of concert-goers heading in the same direction.
We arrived an hour early, punched our tickets, and were given wristbands with the comment “oh, you’re in the pit.” Inexperienced concert-goers that we are, the phrase meant very little to us, and we wandered off in the direction that the usher pointed, completely unaware of just how great our section was.
We found ourselves standing mere feet from the stage, which gave both excellent sightlines and sound.
We had heard that Springsteen gave amazing marathon concerts, and this one did not disappoint. The excitement both on and offstage was palpable as Springsteen belted out a combination of classics and new material…for nearly four straight hours.
The penultimate Irish moment came with the grand finale, a lively rendition of “American Land”. We saw the roadies carry several fiddles onto the stage, and sensed that maybe something with a Celtic flavour was coming. The song started with a rousing fiddle intro, and we realized he was playing the last cut on his most recent album, Wrecking Ball. The song speaks to the numerous waves of immigrants that have built America into what it is, but on this night, it felt as if it was written for the Irish.
And they responded in kind.
We turned and looked back at the rows and rows and rows of fans singing and dancing along, completely engulfed in the moment – 35,000, give or take – hardly able to believe that we were sharing in this once-in-a-lifetime event.
The universal appeal and brilliant performance of Springsteen seemed able to bring out the Irish in the Irish as much as any Irishman could.
If you want a taste of what we experienced, check out the link below: