Growing up in Upper Hutt my favourite album was Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA.

I played my cassette so many times I'm surprised the tape didn't break.

It's the complete album.

As Springsteen says in his autobiography the album "went nuclear" when it was released.


"Born in the USA changed my life, gave me my largest audience, forced me to think harder about the way I presented my music and set me briefly at the center of the pop world," he wrote.

Over the years I've seen Springsteen in concert, firstly a solo concert in London's Brixton Academy and twice in Auckland at Western Springs and Mt Smart with The E Street Band.

So when I saw a billboard in Kāpiti saying The Boss — Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band was going to be performing at Southward Theatre my interest was piqued but I was a bit coy.

Would it be tacky?

Could this band deliver under the weight of expectation?

But if I was feeling a bit unsure, imagine the pressure the band might be feeling?

I needed to go.

And I needn't have worried.


The concert on Saturday night was a rip-roaring success.

A tribute to a music icon. Photo / David Haxton
A tribute to a music icon. Photo / David Haxton

That's high praise from a Springsteen and E Street Band fan.

The nine musicians played the music, the entire Born in the USA album, and a host of other songs, skilfully with a lot of honesty and integrity.

Lead singer Dean Shaw was strikingly similar in voice and looks to the music legend too.

They had clearly done a heck of a lot of practice to get to this level of performance.

The concert got better and better as the band really got into the groove with The Promised Land, The Ghost of Tom Joad and Born to Run being my favourites.

As band members were introduced we were surprised to learn they were from places like the Wairarapa, Feilding, Levin.

Homegrown talent at its best.

The musicianship, lighting, sound levels, band camaraderie and intimate venue all gelled to create a memorable night.

Even if you didn't know the music you couldn't help but be impressed.

I got the feeling that if Springsteen and his bandmates were sitting in the audience they would have enjoyed and appreciated it too.