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Glory days for Bruce Springsteen in his beloved Dublin

By Ralph Riegel

Published 30/05/2016

Bruce Springsteen on stage with Jake Clemons at Croke Park
Bruce Springsteen on stage with Jake Clemons at Croke Park
Boss fan from Derry Natasha Conlan
Boss fan from Derry Anne Mulholland

It is official - Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band consider Ireland their home away from home.

The New Jersey rocker was visibly moved by the adulation of fans as he brought the curtain down last night on the second of his sell-out Croke Park concerts.

More than 160,000 rock fans had flocked to Dublin for the two gigs - and delivered a €10m tourism bonanza for the city's hoteliers and restaurant owners in the process.

Springsteen paused on stage shortly before 11pm, savouring the moment as his legion of Irish fans screamed for still more after a three-and-a-half hour rock-fest to mark his first ever gigs at GAA headquarters. "We love, love, love, love Ireland," he announced.

The Boss also said that Dublin had a claim on his and the E Street Band members' hearts. "It has been very special for us," he stated.

Thirty-one years after he made his Irish debut at Slane Castle on June 1, 1985, the reciprocal love affair between Springsteen and Ireland shows no sign of abating.

This was his 12th Irish tour in 31 years.

Promoter Peter Aiken acknowledged that, such was the incredible demand for tickets, further concerts would have been possible.

Even Taoiseach Enda Kenny, an avowed Boss fan, got in on the act with an impromptu jig to Dancing In The Dark in the stands alongside his wife Fionnuala at the Friday night gig.

Recalling his last concert in Ireland - at Kilkenny's Nowlan Park in July 2013 - Springsteen spoke to the crowd of his fondness for Ireland and the special response his songs such as This Hard Land have generated here. "That was very memorable for me," he said.

Springsteen now even holidays in Ireland with his wife Patti Scialfa, and counts numerous friends here including horse trainer Enda Bolger.

But what was truly remarkable over the past 48 hours at Croke Park was his music's cross-generational appeal, with fans of all ages enjoying the spectacle.

The glorious weather helped add to the electric atmosphere around Drumcondra and Jones Road.

Springsteen appeared on stage early treating fans to a piano solo.

It was an emotional finale as Springsteen, having gazed around the stadium heaving with 80,000 weary but enthralled fans, told the faithful: "Remember that the E Street Band loves you."

With a roar that could have been heard in Portlaoise, the Croke Park masses assured The Boss and his band that they love him right back.

Belfast Telegraph

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