Okay, I happily confess it: I fucking love Dancing in the Dark. You’d be amazed how many ‘purists’ on forums complain about how the encore of Springsteen’s shows are by now just formulaic regurgitations of party hits. I see them more as the final celebration of the man’s most symbolic songs, and none of them give rise to a rush of pure joy quite like this one. So many punchy lines to roar:
I check my look in the mirror. I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face!
You say I gotta stay hungry. Hey baby, I’m just about starving tonight!
And where some seem to see what is by now predictable, ‘artificial’ connections with fans towards the end of the song, I see in the face of the woman brought up on stage disbelief and awe at what a moment their hero is creating for them, and in Springsteen I see equal, utterly sincere joy.
At Stratford I saw Springsteen’s adorable mother step forward for a slow dance instead, and in Kilkenny a young boy was invited up, only to be told to keep one of Springsteen’s guitars after ferociously strumming it eye-to-eye with him before the song’s final explosive chorus. But this woman at Wembley seemed to live up to the moment best. She’d travelled from Italy, and got her due reward.