According to Paul McCartney, he has made everyone have to pick up their game as far as live performance goes. In a recent interview he said; "people will do three or four hours. I blame Bruce Springsteen – I’ve told him so, I said, ‘It’s your fault!"
Not that the London crowd minded, and with a catalogue spanning fifty years and twenty-one studio albums, the entertainer has a vast wealth of material to pull from, making lengthy shows a welcome inevitability.
With the seventeen-piece E Street Band ambling onstage to be greeted like heroes, the loudest cheer was of course saved for Springsteen himself. Yelling an enrapturing "alllllright then!" before the first of his customary "one, two, three, four!" counts, 'No Surrender' kicked off the long night of music and good times.
Going straight into an uplifting 'Ghosts', the next hour was nothing less than a joyous celebration, filled with good time rock and roll, and fist in the air anthems from a true American icon.
With Springsteen his usual engaging self, those in the front rows were treated to hand shakes, selfies, and passionate personal singalongs with the singer, as he strutted up and down the walkways giving the fans an altogether intimate experience and handing out guitar picks to his youngest fans.
Taking in the rapturous reception he was receiving the singer said; "London! Is there anybody alive out there tonight?! That's what I want to know, because if you're alive, I'm alive, and that's what we came here for".
The highlights were too numerous to mention, but 'The River' remains one of his most moving moments, while 'The Rising' has lost none of its come together vibe. The one-two of 'Born in the USA' and 'Born to Run' meanwhile, were simply arresting in their power and ability to evoke the strongest of emotions.
Closing out an absolute high with a celebratory 'Glory Days' and 'Dancing in the Dark with Bruce imploring to sidekick Steven Van Zandt; "don't pull the plug, Stevie!", the band took their bows with the announcer saying; "London, you've just seen the heart stopping, E Street Band!"
With the Boss returning to the stage on his own for a heartfelt acoustic 'I'll See you in My Dreams', he signed off saying simply; "Thank you London for a beautiful night".
The term 'living legend' is bandied about too liberally, but in this case it's entirely fitting, and in the form of his career at 73 years young, Springsteen is one of the true greats.
BST Hyde Park 2023 continues its 10th anniversary year with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band returning on 8th July, and Lana Del Rey closing out the event on 9th July.