Natalie Akoorie

Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Boss fans told to expect surprises

Springsteen has promoted local performers across the Tasman and is likely to do the same in Auckland.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band could try keeping it Kiwi witha bit of Mutton Birds during their Mt Smart concerts this weekend. Photo / Getty Images.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band could try keeping it Kiwi witha bit of Mutton Birds during their Mt Smart concerts this weekend. Photo / Getty Images.

It's the biggest concert in three years at the all-but-sold-out Mt Smart Stadium. Back in New Zealand after just over a decade, Bruce Springsteen - the Boss - is expected to perform for six hours across two shows at the sports arena.

With his backing group the E Street Band, Springsteen is expected to be greeted by a 40,000-strong audience tonight and tomorrow.

But it's what the 64-year-old American rocker has in store for Kiwi fans that has them excited about his return to this country.

Frontier Touring Company New Zealand representative Brent Eccles, also a fan, said he expected "something incredible" from Springsteen during his three hours on stage.

The promoter said Springsteen was known for introducing guest vocalists and local personalities at different locations.

In Australia, where he has been touring since early February, Springsteen covered AC/DC's Highway to Hell with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder as well as the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive, to the thrill of fans.

"I wouldn't like to second-guess what he's going to do," Mr Eccles said, "but he's well known for doing that. He likes doing something local in each market."

Special guest Aussie rocker Jimmy Barnes and his daughter Mahalia Barnes will open the concert from 5.15pm.

The gigs are part of a global tour supporting Springsteen's latest album, High Hopes.

It's the biggest rock act at Mt Smart since British band Coldplay played one show in November 2012.

According to Stadium Management director Paul Nisbet, the last time concerts of this size sold out the venue across two nights was U2's 360 tour in November 2010.

This weekend's event will be followed by the Rolling Stones with their 14 on Fire tour on April 5.

Mr Eccles said Springsteen chose Mt Smart because he wanted a different venue from Western Springs, where he performed when he was last in Auckland in 2003.

Tonight's show sold out as soon as tickets went on sale last year, although a limited number of seated tickets have since been released.

Tomorrow night's concert was the result of demand for a second show and is also near capacity making for around 80,000 revellers over the two performances.

Concert-goers are being asked to donate to Auckland City Mission volunteers, who will be out in force.

Devotee dancing in the dark ... again

Her friends call her a "groupie" and her husband "rolls his eyes" but Sue Pinkney has been a dedicated Bruce Springsteen fan since she first heard one of his albums at age 14.

"I'm 50 now. My brother brought home his record Darkness on the Edge of Town and it resonated with me. I used to spend hours listening to the record over and over again. And it's been with me ever since."

Kiwi Bruce Springsteen fan Sue Pinkney will be there on both nights to see her idol. Photo / Dean Purcell
Kiwi Bruce Springsteen fan Sue Pinkney will be there on both nights to see her idol. Photo / Dean Purcell

She never thought she'd get to see him live until Springsteen played Auckland's Western Springs in 2003.

After that Mrs Pinkney, from Te Pahu, near Hamilton, was hooked and since then she has travelled to the United States, Canada and Australia several times to attend 19 of his concerts overseas. This weekend will make it 21.

"I've seen three on the Devils and Dust tour in 2005, four on the Magic tour in 2008, eight last year on the Wrecking Ball tour and three on the High Hopes, just last week."

At concerts in Seattle and Vancouver Mrs Pinkney even met her idol. "He's really nice. He's conscious the fans want to talk to him and he tries to make himself available and he would never turn anybody away."

Mrs Pinkney did not expect to see Springsteen return to New Zealand so she would "definitely" be at Mt Smart Stadium on both nights and was eager to see how "The Boss" would tailor his show for Kiwi fans.

- NZ Herald

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