In 2016, Jet announced that they were coming back from their extended hiatus to support Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band on their summer 2017 tour. Following a last minute warm-up set at an intimate gathering at Melbourne's Gasometer on Tuesday, January 31st, they were ready for the main stage at AAMI Park two nights later.
Nic Cester and the band delighted the already mostly-full arena with their rock vibe and pleased onlookers who patiently waited for them to play mega-hit "Are You Gonna Be My Girl".
Springsteen hasn't been reticent of his opinion of Donald Trump at late. He's put the controversial President in his firing line several times on this tour already. While during his shows in Perth and Adelaide in the past week, The Boss expressed his opinions of America's brass new leader in antipathy, this was his first gig since the revelations of Trump's heated phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
"We stand before you as embarrassed Americans. This is a song from 1965 by The Orlons. We're going to use this to send a letter back home", Springsteen told the Melbourne crowd as he took to the stage, before performing an acoustic rendition of the R&B group's hit "Don't Hang Up". From which, Springsteen headed straight into what would've been initially planned as the opening track, "American Land", from 2012's Wrecking Ball.
It set the tone of the night. The 67-year-old rock legend's almost 30-track set included more than a handful more from the protest-themed Wrecking Ball, alongside expected hits ("I'm On Fire", "Hungry Heart", "Born to Run") and a selection of covers, including Patti Smith's "Because the Night" and encore sing-a-long closing pair, the Isley Brothers' "Shout" and Top Notes' "Twist and Shout".
Across three hours, once again, Springsteen maintained his musical integrity, delivering a performance of pop and politic balance for his abiding fans. Many of whom I suspect will likely catch him again at Hanging Rock on Saturday night.
All photos by Carl Neumann.