Bruce Springsteen was supposed to be playing to 60,000 people at the Etihad Stadium last night. I say ‘supposed to’ because quite a few missed the show because the city was in a lock down of total traffic chaos.
It was caused by a combination of bad timing – the show started at 6:30pm, coinciding neatly with rush hour – and five idiot drivers who either managed to drive into one of the city’s trams or get their cars stuck on the tracks. I’m guessing people who were unfamiliar with the city.
But the sheer size of the audience has to have had an effect. Having 60,000 paying punters at £90 a head is a tad greedy in my book, especially since for most, the only glimpse they would get of the Boss would be on the giant screens.
You can tell that I’m not a fan of today’s giant venues. I’ve only been at one when a few of us went to watch the Rolling Stones play at Roundhay Park in Leeds in 1982. It was like watching puppets prancing about as the tiny figures danced on stage in the distance, plus it was daylight which is hardly the right atmosphere for an act like the Stones.
I swore I wouldn’t bother with such a venue again, which more or less ruled me out of going to concerts ever since because big venues are where the big money is to be made. I made an exception at New Year though, but then I was more interested in Hogmanay as an event rather than in who was playing.
But back to Springsteen, I saw him play on 13th May 1981, the first of his two nights at the Manchester Apollo for the 1981 River Tour. There would have been a few thousand people in the old theatre, the lights were low and the acoustics perfect for rock and roll, so you can imagine that I had a thoroughly good time and my only regret then was that I hadn’t bought tickets for the second night.
I wonder if the smaller venues will ever make a comeback. Somehow I doubt it. Hey ho, I should finish with a video of the Boss in action, but I decided to go with the camp Big Daddy version of Dancing in the Dark instead.