The Roaming Roots Revue Presents Born To Run: 70th Birthday Tribute to Bruce Springsteen, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow ****
For almost three hours – approximately as long as a typical Springsteen show – they plundered one of the great American rock songbooks alongside Celtic Connections stalwart Karine Polwart, Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan (imagine a folk Bjork), earthy son of Glasgow Phil Campbell (whose singing voice sounds uncannily like
Springsteen’s), folk-pop duo The Rails, and three honest-to-goodness actual Americans, Ryan Bingham, Jonathan Wilson and Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn.
Affable emcee Hart and The Lonesome Fire provided richly textured backing throughout, with assistance from Donald Shaw on accordion and a three-man horn section including Gordon McNeil on saxophone; his spellbinding solo during the operatic Jungleland did the late Clarence Clemons proud.
The other instrumental star of the show was Lonesome Fire pianist and musical director Andy Lucas, who shone brightly on Jungleland and a truly moving Hart-sung encore of Thunder Road. Dubbed The Wee Street Band for two sold-out shows, this ensemble really did capture some of the rock and roll grandeur of their legendary almost-namesake.
The pre-encore climax, with the entire cast barrelling through Born To Run, Badlands and Dancing In The Dark as the crowd chanted “Bruuuuce!!” and yawped along with every word, was utterly joyous.
Never mind the 70th birthday hook, Hart and co should pay heartfelt heartland tribute to Springsteen every year. What a blast.