Thomond the Promised Land for Springsteen fans

Glory days are back in Limerick hurling, so who better to ring in the Treaty City’s GAA celebrations, than The Boss?

No, not John Allen... the other boss. Legendary US rocker Bruce Springsteen and the 18-piece E-Street Band will rock Thomond Park tonight. The powerhouse singer/songwriter and his motley crew are sure to herald in the arrival of the senior hurling trophy back to ‘The Promised Land’ on Shannonside, after a 17-year Munster Championship famine.

As the city starts to soak up the summer sporting atmospherics, the spotlight now swings to Springsteen to deliver a heart-stopping, house rockingperformance, as Limerick’s hurling heroes keep ‘Working on A Dream’ of an All-Ireland title.

Diehard Springsteen fans have been camped out at Thomond Park for the past five days, eager to claim their position at the front of the stage for tonight’s concert.

“People started queuing here since last Friday night,” said John Cantwell, Thomond Park director. “It just goes to show how highly regarded Springsteen is. There are a few hundred people here now. They’ve been camping outside the stadium on green areas.

“Bruce’s stage crew have been on site since the 8th of this month. The stage is now built. It’s the longest stage ever built in Limerick. It spans the entire width of the pitch, about 80 metres or so.”

Springsteen and the band will chill out for a few hours before the concert in a specially built VIP hospitality suite, which includes a yoga centre and a garden.

Fifteen hundred people will be directly employed by Thomond Park for tonight’s concert.

“It’s great for employment,” said Mr Cantwell. “It puts Limerick on the map internationally. It’s great for the city to host such a big rock act after the Munster Final success too.”

Limerick District Court last week granted city pubs a special exemption order to remain open until 2am tomorrow, which should ensure the party enters its fourth day running.

“Everything is going to plan” said Mr Cantwell. “This is the biggest concert in Limerick. It’s a prestige part of Springsteen’s current Irish tour. The tickets sold out in 15 minutes.”

Fans who’ve never seen the New Jersey singer perform live are set for a three-hour extravaganza, giving The Boss ample time to perform a wash of hits and newer material from his current album, Wrecking Ball.

The album, released earlier this year, became Springsteen’s tenth number one album in America, and alsos topped album charts across Europe.

“We’ve been busy planning this concert with Aiken Promotions for the past 12 months” said Mr Cantwell. “We always targeted Bruce for Limerick, and now that we have him, we’re delighted. Bruce is looking forward to coming to Limerick. He’s done his own research into Limerick, Munster, and Thomond Park. He’ll give us a five-star performance.

“The only bit of advice I’d give anyone is arrive early. Give yourself plenty of time to get here, get into a good position and enjoy the day.”

Gates open at 5pm with a 7pm showtime. There is no support act.

The 63-year-old New Jersey native plays two more sell-out shows — in Cork on Jul 18, and Kings Hall Arena, Belfast, on Jul 20.


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