It was good to hear Racing in the Street, which is one of my favourite Bruce as everyday dude with a passion songs, and Badlands was another one I'd been hoping for that hadn't gained a guernsey on Thursday night. Tom Morello was a bit more subdued than he'd been on Thursday night, but really cut loose on The Ghost of Tom Joad, and Land of Hope and Dreams brought the main set to a stirring close. I would have liked to have been on the receiving end of one of those rock'n'holy roller raves Bruce has been known to deliver in LoHaD, but it didn't happen, so there you go.

A girl down the front had been brandishing a Blinded by the E Street Light sign all night, and that seemingly influenced the selection that opened the encore. Conversation revealed it was her favourite track, and she liked to dance to it, but Bruce had already decided to embark on a solo acoustic rendition, claiming to be unsure whether he could remember it and suggesting he'd probably stuff it up. 

Again, like much Bruce's shtick, you might see this sort of thing as contrived and acted out, but if it is he's a mighty skilled contriver, and a better than average actor. A bit of finding his way, a visual oh yeah, that's it, and he was off into a reading that certainly looked unplanned.

There probably wasn't anything unplanned about the three song salvo that followed, though. Born to Run is one of those ones everybody probably expects to hear, and the encore is probably a good place to hear it, Bobby Jean was a fairly obvious choice when you're looking for a good time rocker to help wind things up, Dancing in the Dark is another of the obvious suspects and you can't help thinking Tenth Avenue Freeze-out is the finale of choice these days, with its opportunity to remember Clarence and Danny, so you can't really complain about getting it twice. 

The remembering the ghosts that walk beside us bit didn't get the silence I seemed to recall from Thursday (I was sure it had happened but maybe it was my imagination) but that just underlines the variability of the Springsteen setlist. 

There's a definite appearance of planning, and you'd have to reckon the set list is carefully planned in advance, delivering a variety of songs people sort of expect to hear (given the size of the back catalogue you can't include them all and have time for the other elements) along with a couple from the latest album, a few that reflect current concerns and a couple that are there for the hard core fans who do multiple nights and are looking for an obscurity or three.

At the same time, while everything's probably planned out, with the basic structure possibly being done well in advance, there's a definite appearance of a willingness to throw away the script and fly by the seat of the pants if the mood strikes.

As I remarked in my look at Thursday night's show, back at the start, I'd had slight and momentary misgivings about the wisdom of going for three in a row (not that there's much chance of getting to non-sequential multiples when you like where I do) but those had been pretty well blown away by the end of Thursday night.

Now, faced with the prospect of a single remaining show I'm regretting I didn't (at least) book a seat for Sydney Two. After the show on Monday those regrets will probably have multiplied, and next time I'll definitely be looking at more than three. Given my other tastes you might think that Bruce is a little close to the mainstream, but based on two shows and the prospect of a third, Bruce goes on to join Elvis Costello and Richard Thompson as next time I'm going to the lot of 'em candidates.

Neil Young's in there too, of course, and hopefully the next time Bruce and Neil tour they'll do so with sufficient separation between tours so certain old fogeys can rest and recuperate between tours as well as between shows...

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© Ian Hughes 2012