Bruce Springsteen crowd-surfs, downs beer to concert fans’ delight

2014-01-27 12:31

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Rock star Bruce Springsteen kicked off his High Hopes World Tour crowd-surfing and quaffing beer offered by fans in Cape Town.

“It’s only scary the first time!” the 64-year-old US singer told the clamouring 8 000-strong crowd in the city’s Bellville Velodrome as he was being passed overhead by fans in the golden circle. He continued to sing throughout the airborne romp.

He also stooped down to plant a kiss on the lips of a pretty concertgoer and downed a plastic glass of beer held out to him by a member of the audience.

Springsteen was backed by a vast ensemble of musicians including his E Street Band and guitarist Tom Morello, best known as a founding member of hard rock band Rage Against the Machine. Springsteen opened the three-hour long show with the song, Free Nelson Mandela.

“We are humbled to be here in the land of Mandela,” he told the audience. This is Springsteen’s first time in South Africa. He reminisced about performing in Harare in Zimbabwe in 1988.

Earlier, he wore tight black jeans and silver-studded shoes at an intimate Q&A session with journalists from around the world assembled at the venue after the sound check.

In response to a journalist from the Netherlands, he said: “Yeah, it’s special to play in this country.

“It’s amazing what happened here in South Africa. I mean, we have an African-American president in the United States, something I never thought I’d see. Well, imagine having an African-American president who was in prison for 27 years.”

Speaking softly he said: “How Mandela managed to contextualise his anger is remarkable. It’s a cliché, but he is just a very, very different man.”

The singer went on to compare Mandela to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.

“These are individuals who changed the course of history who can never be replaced,” he said.

Springsteen will be wrapped in luxury at a five-star ocean-facing hotel between concerts in Cape Town before jetting off to Joburg for a show at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night.

Springsteen’s latest studio offering, High Hopes, was released on January 14 and has reached number one on iTunes in 24 countries around the world, including South Africa.

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