F**k It: Bruce Springsteen In Cape Town South Africa, 26th January 2014, My Review

Ten years ago I became a little bit obsessed, as I have a tendency to do, with the saying Carpe Diem. I heard it somewhere, I think from some hippie traveller with dread locks and patchwork trousers, and my friend and I latched onto it, hollering it at every opportunity presented to us. “Another cup of tea Hannah?” Sure, Carpe Diem, because you never know what life will throw at you. Carpe Diem led to a lot of fun times. Another sky dive? Why not? When else would I get the chance to pay for the novelty of jumping out of a plane for the bargain bucket price of US$200. And yes I’ll buy the DVD of it too – Carpe Diem
Carpe Diem was a saying I loved because it basically give me permission to do anything I wanted, big or small. Trivial or extremely important, Carpe Diem was my excuse, my reason for that extra biscuit, or that massive unnecessary purchase. I must have been very annoying. 
Through the next decade though, Carpe Diem got a bit lost in my everyday life. The routine of a job, the 9 – 5 slog didn’t present me with as many exciting opportunities to Seize The Day. 
But recently a friend introduced me to a more grown up, X rated and adult way to Carpe Diem. The next level version of day seizing, the way to really live life without worry, or doubt, or stress.

The philosophy is simple: Fuck It.

For a few months now I’ve been trying to F**k It as much as possible, partly because apparently it leads to a life where I will “let go more, relax more and care a little less” but more honestly it’s because it’s a great justification to do what I want. F**k It, I’ll have another burger. F**k It, I’ll buy those shoes. F**k It, I won’t make my bed today (I do live on the edge with this new philosophy).

My friends quickly clocked on to my attempts to get them to visit Cape Town with me on a very specific week in January. I was asked not to go. I was warned not to travel solo. I was told I wouldn’t have fun on my own. I deliberated for four months and changed my mind virtually every hour. As the concerts approached, I realised that for the sake of  my colleagues and friends who would have to put up with me for the week commencing 26th January, I really had no choice. The F**k It momentum had built up to a point where I was saying my biggest F**k It of all time, in a mighty crescendo.

“Fuck It,” I decided. “I’m going to Cape Town.”

On my first morning in Cape Town I was sitting having breakfast when a lady came over, put her hand on my back and smiled at me: “Awwwww poor you, you’re eating breakfast alone. You must be here on business!” I resisted the urge to respond with a wink and a “I ain’t here for business baby, I’m only here for fun,” aware that I was setting myself up for a fall. But in some ways she was right, flying 6000 miles to South Africa for some Springsteen concerts is very serious business. And I take my work SO seriously.

Luckily for me though, the word “alone” does not exist in the Bruce Bud dictionary. I arrived at the concert and within minutes I’d got chatting with several fans that I’ve met online (ahh that’s something I didn’t think I’d ever be writing). Our excitement grew before the set finally started with a lively Free Nelson Mandela. The song set the tone for the night ahead, a night of celebration, on this monumental occasion for thousands of South Africans, with Bruce also marking the significance of the night with several poignant words about Nelson Mandela.

The crowd too were gracious and kind. In some ways I felt a bit nervous taking up a vital ticket when I’ve been lucky enough to see Bruce play in cities close to my hometown so often. I started the night standing at the back of the pit, before hearing some unfamiliar words: “Would you like to stand in front of me, I really don’t mind.” I was shocked that as Bruce came forward to the crowd, instead of being elbowed in the face as is often the norm, I had South African fans eagerly pushing ME forward – “go on you can play his guitar” – which soon left me in the second row in the middle. Behind me a 60 year old man squealed in delight as Bruce sprayed us with sweat, and next to me another cried like a kid who’d over indulged on E-number packed sweets: “He’s going to crowd surf!” And he did.

I’ll admit, before the concert I was preparing myself for Tom Morello‘s guitar playing to grate on me. His presence in the band has caused a mixed reaction among the fans, and one of the worst reviews I’ve seen of High Hopes described his contribution as “seven turgid minutes of bellowing and shredding”. Firstly, turgid is a word which should only ever be used to describe a firm fruit. But secondly, and yes I know there will still be some doubters, but The Ghost Of Tom Joad for me was one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever experienced from Springsteen. I like that I now have two incredible, and totally different, versions of one of Springsteen’s best songs. The meaning hasn’t changed but we are seeing it delivered in a different way. If Tom Morello inspires Bruce at the moment, and his live playing isn’t too dominant (which it wasn’t), then his involvement in a few shows isn’t a bad thing for me.

Looking relaxed and happy, Nils’ solos were insanely good and the extended version of Because The Night was the best I’ve seen. Stevie too was in his element, the crowd giving him the recognition he deserves for his work over the years and his writing on the 1986 protest song Sun City (if only he’d opened the set with that rap).

As Bruce strolled the back walk way at various points throughout the concert, I kept spotting a young girl and her dad, reminding me of my dad introducing me to Bruce’s music. It was clearly her first concert, and for three hours her jaw hung open in a combination of shock, and sheer joy at what she was experiencing. It made me smile to think of the journey she is about to begin as a Bruce Springsteen fan. Although I’ve seen some complaints (many from people who weren’t actually there) that there was too many hits played, I felt it suited the night and worked for people like her and the rest of the crowd, who had never had the chance to see Bruce Springsteen live in their home country. Bruce charmed them with relentless energy, and effortlessly won over anyone who was at the concert because they felt a little bit intrigued by a New Jersey rocker nicknamed The Boss.

Bruce (and my hands) make front page news

I know in the past I’ve gone into some detail on the set lists but this time the problem is this: I’m writing this in Cape Town, and the sun is shining. There’s so much to see and there’s many many burgers for me to eat. I feel so lucky to be here in this incredible place and I can’t take that for granted – F**k It – I have to go and see it.

I love the F**k It mentality. Well, I’ll love it until my next credit card statement comes through at least. If the F**k It philosophy is tempting you too, there are direct Virgin Atlantic flights to South Africa, a box office at the venue, a pit with your name on it and three more Springsteen concerts in the country this week…

Here are the links if you want to check out my other Springsteen in South Africa blog posts:
Cape Town: 28th and 29th January 2014
Johannesburg: 1st February 2014




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This post was written by Hannah BurgersAndBruce