Shortly after midnight on Monday night, Bruce Springsteen finally announced dates for his long-awaited tour with the E Street Band. It kicks off in February 2023 with a run of American arenas before going to Europe in the summer and then back to America toward the end of the year for a stadium run.
“I’m just aching to play,” Springsteen told SiriusXM’s E Street Radio shortly after the news hit. “And to actually not just play, but to travel and see our fans in all our different cities and feel that life again and see their faces again. We got an old-school tour planned where we’ll be out there for quite a while and give everybody a chance to see us if they’d like to.”
The tour won’t begin for another nine months, but Springsteen is already thinking about what songs he’ll play. “I already wrote out a set list, just to have something to do and an idea of like, ‘Oh, we could start from here and see where it’s gonna go,'” he said. “You don’t know til you get out there and test them in front of the audience. And then, because of the way we are, after a short period of time, we start switching it up anyway, just to keep it interesting for us.”
We’re still waiting on dates for the American shows, but the European leg will begin on April 28, 2023, at Estadi Olímpic in Barcelona, Spain. It will be his first European show in six years, and surely an amazing evening since Springsteen crowds in Barcelona are often the best in the entire world. That’s why Springsteen decided to film a 2002 stop there on the Rising tour and release it on DVD back when DVDs were a thing.
Springsteen’s first Barcelona show took place on April 21, 1981, at the Palau dels Esports. To get a tiny sense of what it looked like, check out this primitive fan-shot footage. The E Street Band came back in 1988 on the Human Rights Now! tour, but didn’t really become a nationwide obsession until the reunion era. That’s when they started coming around every tour and packing soccer stadiums with fans who weren’t even born when The River came out. See above for fan-shot footage of a wild “Badlands” at Estadi Olímpic on May 18, 2012, to get an idea of the frenzied atmosphere at one of these shows.
Bruce and Co. are returning to that same stadium next year. The crowd will probably largely come from the area, but more than a few Americans will likely be there just to experience the madness of a Springsteen show in Spain. There’s nothing else quite like it.