The Big Fiesta (Godfather GR 246/247)
Bilbao Exhibition Center, Bilbao, Spain – November 26th, 2007
Disc 1: Intro., Radio Nowhere, Night, Lonesome Day, Gypsy Biker, Magic, Reason To Believe, Jackson Cage, She’s The One, Livin’ In The Future, The Promised Land, I’ll Work For Your Love, Backstreets, Darlington County, Devil’s Arcade, The Rising
Disc 2: Last To Die, Long Walk Home, Badlands, Girls In Their Summer Clothes, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Kitty’s Back, Born To Run, Dancing In The Dark, American Land. Bonus tracks, Palacio Des Deportes, Madrid, Spain – November 25th, 2007: Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Candy’s Room, Working On The Highway, Thunder Road
Bruce Springsteen’s November 26 show in Bilbao in Basque country was the second of thirteen shows played in Europe on the Magic tour. The ticket for the show was hot, as reported by the press who wrote: “The 16,000 tickets for a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC) in Barakaldo on the 26th November sold out just an hour and a half after going on sale this morning at 10am, according to a spokesman for event organisers, Get In Productions.
Many queued all night and heavy traffic collapsed the ticktackticket website as fans clamoured for one of the prized tickets that were priced at €57, €67 and €71 euros. The Bilbao concert follows the only other date on the Spanish leg – in Madrid on the 25th November – of a European tour that will continue in Milan, Arnheim, Mannheim, Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amberes, Cologne, Belfast, Paris and London.”
The Big Fiesta contains the complete show in excellent and detailed sound quality. There is a nice audience sound with very faint conversations occurring by the recorder, but it has a gorgeous live sound and is very enjoyable to listen to. Compared to the first show in Madrid, there are six different songs in the set list in Bilbao. In the main set “Night,” “Jackson Cage,” “Backstreets,” and “Darlington County” make their European debut.
During the six song encore set, “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” makes the second appearance on the tour after appearing in the final show in the US in Boston, and “Kitty’s Back” is played before “Born To Run.” Regarding this show, Ermanno Labianoa writes on the Bruce Springsteen website: “Bilbao was a hell of a show. But I also can’t help feeling that this tour has an incredible potential hidden somewhere.
A smarter rotation of the songs, some sacrifice (ironically, I think dropping a couple of Magic songs might benefit the rest, allowing people to better focus on the new tracks), a couple of covers (think back to 1988 – how great were Tunnel of Love songs in the context of the live show, surrounded by great cover choices?) and a new, more adventurous approach to old classics would make our minds blow.”
Not withstanding the criticism, the newer material is pretty much grouped in the middle and end of the show with plenty of classics thrown in. Like other shows, the first four songs “Radio Nowhere,” “Night,” “Lonesome Day,” and “Gypsy Biker” are all segued together.
Bruce gives his political speech before “Magic” in Spanish to what sounds like a bewildered audience. “Jackson Cage” is played for only the third of five total times, and is followed by “She’s The One” all full of Jersey shore melodrama. The audience breaks out into a spontaneous chant between “Darlington County” and “Devil’s Arcade.”
The set list for the encore section on the Bruce Springsteen website lists the encores differently. It has “Kitty’s Back” listed between “Born To Run” and “Dancing In The Dark.” On the tape, however, “Kitty’s Back” is played before “Born To Run” and since there are no cuts in the tape this must be the correct sequence.
The Irish jig “American Land” closes the show as it does for all of the shows except those closer to Christmas, which ends with “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” Bruce stops the music by the end to spit out: “You’ve just seen the heart stopping, pants dropping, earth shocking, hard rocking, booty shaking, earth quaking, love making, Viagra taking, history making, legendary…” and the song simply brings down the house.
The four bonus tracks are songs that were played the previous evening in Madrid, but didn’t make it into the setlist for Bilbao. The sound quality is distant but captures the party atmosphere perfectly. The audience are very loud and wild during “Thunder Road” making parts difficult to hear. But this version is one of the most emotional and best from the entire tour. The Big Fiestais a great release covering the Bilbao and the highlights from Madrid in great quality and comes packaged in the tri-fold cardboard gatefold sleeve.