Bruce Springsteen opened his sold-out Australian tour last night in Perth. Our man on the ground, Bob Gordon, got the lowdown from soundcheck.

It’s less than a year after Springsteen’s 2013 Wrecking Ball tour of the east coast, and in that time the evergreen New Jersey rocker’s popularity has skyrocketed once again not only in Australia but globally, with the loveletter documentary, Springsteen & I, and a revealing authorised biography, Bruce, opening the door more than ever into his work, heart and mind.

Not that he’s feeling over-exposed. “I kind of do what I want and people get to say what they want about me,” he told a small group of media during a break from soundcheck earlier in the afternoon. “It sort of comes with the work that I do.

“Generally, my press agent tries to keep me out of the newspapers,” he laughed. “On a scale of one to ten, what usually gets out there about me is so much less than the amount of information that people are spewing onto the internet, about so many things. So it’s not as though it’s a full-scale publicity blitz. I don’t even notice it, to be honest with you.”

This tour sees the return of long-time foil, guitarist ‘Little’ Steven Van Zandt, absent from last year’s visit due to filming commitments. His replacement, Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, also returns for this jaunt.

Springsteen promised the usual amount of surprises in his setlist, which includes a version of The Saints’ ‘Just Like Fire Would’. Pondering what other Australian artists he could potentially cover, he was curious about former Perth band, The Triffids.

“The Triffids you say? What’s the song called? ‘Wide Open Road’? Can somebody please write that down?”

The man with such classic songs as ‘Born To Run’, ‘The River’, ‘Dancing In The Dark’, ‘Badlands’, ‘Hungry Heart’ and many more doesn’t really need to consider covers, but even his iconic talents are tinged with an endearing modesty.

“I never thought of myself as an interpretative singer,” he said. “I didn’t quite have the feel like Rod Stewart or Ray Charles. ‘Singer’ singers. I made myself sing. I make a sound that sounds like singing [laughs]. It’s communicating, as I call it.”

Image: Denis Radacic

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play Allphones Arena on Wednesday February 19.

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