Thunder Road – The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen

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Thunder Road – The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen


The Springsteen tribute act grew out of an existing project, a self-confessed ‘fairly popular country-rock band’ which has played around for years, including of course gigs on the Tamworth scene as well as plenty of good old fashioned road work. They always threw a Springsteen song or two into the set and they always went over particularly well. So when the time came to take a bit of a break from the country thing for a while, Leadbetter and crew looked for something else to do, a way to keep the band together while keeping it musically fresh. “No-one seemed to have done the Springsteen thing and we wanted to do something a bit different and just have some fun with it for a little while,” he says. “We thought we’d give it a crack and the reception has been fantastic.”

Leadbetter puts Springsteen’s appeal down to his sheer accessibility – that spark that makes the Boss equally popular with working class crowds, Dylan fans and more snobby types alike. “His songs have always got subject matter that you can relate to, whether the audience understands the concept of Born In The USA or not, for example. It’s not a celebration song! The same as his new song, We Take Care Of Our Own, you could assume one thing from the title but it’d be wrong. It’s more “Why don’t we take care of our own?” That’s what he’s going about. And there’s always something like that.”

Of course, when an act grows as popular as Springsteen, the audience fragments into die-hard fans who know every note of every track ever recorded, as well as a hell of a lot of people who know – and demand – the biggest radio hits. “The very first big show we did, the people that came to it were from all walks of life,” Leadbetter says. “There are people I’ve met around Melbourne who go to the States just to go to Springsteen concerts. And it is intimidating. I don’t look like him, I can’t sound like him, but as long as I can put the energy level across… and the beautiful thing about what we’re doing is that unlike a lot of other tribute shows, to do it properly you don’t have to wear spandex! I don’t have to do that. I have to get up on stage and do what I love to do, which is to sing hard and play hard. And everyone who’s been to our shows has congratulated us on that.”

Rather than presenting different eras of Springsteen’s career in chronological order or anything like that, the shows are structured much like how Bruce would do it in concert. “The last show we did at the Corner, we got on stage at quarter past nine and got off at midnight. It was a big show. People don’t want to hear me talk too much, they want to hear the songs. So that’s how we structure it.” At that show, the band played over 30 tracks. The band returns to the Corner on Saturday March 3, and even more material will be in their back pocket ready to go, to create a unique and special event. All performed by a crack seven piece band who have honed their E Street sound to a fine point. “We’ve got two electric guitar players, we’ve got a young girl who plays acoustic guitar and sings all the nice harmonies, our sax player also plays Hammond organ, and then we’ve got our full-time piano player who plays accordion on some songs, then our powerhouse of a rhythm section, with our bass player and drummer. We’re putting across the big E Street sound. It’s great fun.”