Beats: Guest Blog - Hard Rock Calling

Another guest blog for you here from a chap you may already know... his name is Glyn and he is more commonly known as Rabid Barfly on twitter. He sent me a message on twitter last week informing me that he was going to see Bruce Springsteen on Saturday (lucky bastard) and would like to do a review but his blog isn't really the right place for it and could he do a guest blog. At first I was going to say no out of jealously but he's a good man and he did share a bottle of Cantillon Gueuze with me on Friday so I thought, why not?

Photo from:

"A thousand years ago I was in a bible class with other boys around my age, basically it involved a lot of being told that if you weren’t a good Christian you would go to hell and be damned for all eternity. Usual shit. I’m sure you’re unsurprised to hear that I got bored with it all.
Anyway it was a very formative time of life for me as one of the older boys from the bible class had discovered the rock and roll of Bruce Springsteen and was happy to share his discovery with anyone that would listen!
This was around 1986/87 and Born in the USA had topped the album charts and effectively made The Boss a global megastar.
I’d never heard anything like it, the lyrics weren’t just the usual tripe about love and women (I was far too interested in football for any of that), they were about life and soul, hopes and dreams. Quoting John Landau “I saw Rock and Roll future and it’s name is Bruce Springsteen”. No other musical artist has made such an impression on me and none will do so again.

Last night I went to Hard Rock Calling in a wet, muddy Hyde Park with my wife, Lucille, she has developed an appreciation for The Boss too in the 10 years we have been together, I guess she would have had to! We were dressed for a soggy evening and everyone else seemed to have the same idea, anoraks and cagoules were everywhere. Then the sun came out and we seemingly had perfect gig weather. As The Boss commented though, “I know, I know, just wait 15 minutes, right?”


When we finally arrived, got to the bar* and took our place in the stands it was about an hour before the show was due to start and John Fogarty was still performing, hands up, I have to say, I’ve never heard of John Fogarty before and from what I could tell the word would be hillbilly, no that’s unfair more rockabilly.
Still, Bruce performed the three chord Status Quo masterpiece that is, Rockin’ all over the World. Good show already.

An hour later and the crowd were becoming a little bit grumpy with the fact the E Street Band weren’t on stage yet, eventually, half an hour later than billed, The Boss and Roy Britain were on stage and opening with a ‘two men, a harmonica and a piano’ version of Thunder Road.  

And on came the band…

Badlands kicked off the ensemble stuff and it was the first chance for many, including myself to see how the dynamic of the band would work without the late, great Clarence Clemons. Luckily the Big Man had passed on more than a little bit of his musical genius to his Nephew, Jake Clemons who was on saxophone as part of the E-Street Horns section of the band.  He is going to be joining the band for the entirety of the Wrecking Ball tour. I personally hope that he takes up Clarence’s mantle permanently as there is already that family chemistry on stage which was evident when Bruce and Jake went for a little crowd wander on a few occasions and it was a lot of fun to watch and listen to.

Now along with the encore, 28 and a half songs were played over the course of three hours which comprised some of the old classics such as The River, Born in the USA(one The Boss doesn‘t often play outside his home country), Darlington County, Born to Run. The list also had some of the newer stuff which I have to admit, I don’t know. I haven’t gotten around to buy the cd yet. During the set the rain inevitably came but no-one really noticed, the music kept our minds off it and frankly, who cares? It’s just a bit of water!
Other highlights were a guitar solo by Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and the surprise appearance of Sir Paul McCartney, the guy was a Beatle for Gods sake!

One of the main things that I am enjoying more and more with each gig I go to is the quality of the sound. Even as recently as the 1990’s the sound quality, to put it kindly, was not the best. Nowadays the quality is so good that you almost get annoyed by the other fans singing along**.

The one really disappointing note about the evening was the fact that the encore was cut short by the organisers, sticking rigidly to the license that was granted them by Westminster Council. The sound went down on Bruce and Sir Paul McCartney during a rousing rendition of Twist and Shout and it did not come back on again. They did not even get a chance to say thanks and good night to the audience.
All in all though, the band was, as usual, excellent, yes Clarence was missed but knowing that Jake is there keeps me happy in the knowledge that things will progress from here. The E Street band has now become a multi-generational collection of musical geniuses and I for one cannot wait to see what happens next.

*Tuborg, Magners or some miniatures of  crappy wine. We went for Tuborg.
**singing along is  a very loose term."

I want to thank Mr Barfly for taking his time to attempt to remember the gig and write it up. I know how bloody hard it is to write from memory!

Despite the fact that he no longer really blogs, I recommend you check out the back catalogue of his blog posts:

Also, follow him on twitter; he's a good laugh:

Now, go listen to Springsteen and be happy!



  1. 'I'd never heard of John Fogarty ...'

    Good grief. That would be John Fogerty, of whom Wikipedia says: 'Fogerty has the rare distinction of being named on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists at No 40 and the list of 100 Greatest Singers at No 72. The songs "Proud Mary" and "Born on the Bayou" also rank amongst the Greatest Pop songs ("Proud Mary," No 41) and Guitar songs ("Born on the Bayou," No 53).

  2. Sorry Martyn but he is one of coughs*your generation*coughs! ;)
    Besides which, I don't actually read Rolling Stone, I just look at the pictures....


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