London Earl’s Court

More is more and more, and as our arses ache and our minds wander to potential post-gig traffic jams, the band one by one do a turn, take a bow or three, the not-so-fat lady sings several times and

The Artist Formerly Known As The Boss is approaching 50. He doesn’t look it, but everyone else in this arena does. And by the end of this exhaustive three-hour show, many of us are feeling nigh on pensionable.

But that’s what we paid for. The cult of Broooce has always been about hard work, pain and undying passion for the cause. No-one has ever known quite what that cause is, but we still feel his popping veins and seething spirit.

“Can I get a witness! I wanna testify! Can you feel the spirit?” he hollers in between marathon song slogs, only slightly in jest. We would surely sign our souls away, were he to tempt us with a string of greatest hits. But he doesn’t.

Intermittently, he offers glimpses of why we keep on coming back to worship 30 years into his career and 15 since his peak. The reassembled E Street Band stomp all over ‘Darlington County’ and ‘Working On The Highway’ like punks at the school prom, while a stripped-down, anti-euphoric ‘Born In The USA’ says everything that was never properly heard in the song originally.

The tired and not particularly emotional crowd only finally come to life in the encore with a fire-breathing rally through ‘Born To Run’.

That should be all we need, but there’s no such economy with Bruce. More is more and more, and as our arses ache and our minds wander to potential post-gig traffic jams, the band one by one do a turn, take a bow or three, the not-so-fat lady sings several times and 900 chord crescendos pile up like lemmings trying to make that final leap over the rock’n’roll cliff. Then it’s all over with a quick wave, the lights are up in seconds, and Bruce has left the building. It ain’t over ’til it’s overkilled.