Those were the first four words The Boss uttered when he hit the stage at Hope Estate on Saturday night.
The valley was blitzed by a rolling thunderstorm that spat rain and hail on concert goers in the late afternoon. But the time Springsteen and the E Street Band walked on stage at 7.36pm, not another drop of rain fell.
For the next three hours Bruce and crew took the crowd on a rollicking journey through nearly two dozen songs, including of course, many hits.
While there were many highlights, the finale was unbeatable: Springsteen solo, with only acoustic guitar and harmonica, playing Thunder Road, as his farewell ode to Australia, on this, the last night of his tour Down Under.
It was Springsteen’s only solo perfomance of the night, as the legendary entertainer hardly let up on his full throttle rock’n’roll. His boundless energy saw several runs into his dress circle pop-up stages, handslapping, hand-shaking and even making time to sign a tattoo’d woman’s arm with his Springsteen signature.
The night kicked off with an impromptu version of John Fogerty’s Who’ll Stop The Rain – Springsteen’s never been afraid to play the music of others – which was a terribly appropriate song for the night. He followed with Badlands and Out on the Street, coming up for air on Waiting on a Sunny Day, when he pulled a young girl in an oversized Born To Run t-shirt on stage to sing the chorus.
Springsteen plucked another song request card from the crowd and laid into I’m Goin’ Down. It there was a theme on the night (it certainly wasn’t political, no a word was said on American politics), it was taking us back to Bruce’s roots – those ballads of first love, forbidden love, lost love, love gone wrong.
While he didn’t have the same entourage of 2014 Australian tour which featured 18 singers and musicians, the nine he packed with him got the job done. The occasionally six across the front line-up was reminiscent of a pack of gunslingers: flamed-haired Soozie Tyrell on fiddle, tiny Nils Lofgren smoking on guitar with his trademark top hat, sax player Jake Clemons in his black leather jacket and vest, Bruce in his red flannel shirt turned black with sweat, Stevie Van Zandt, nearly a caricature of himself, resplendent in trenchcoat, headscarf and glittering earrings the size of Texas; and bass player Garry Tallent with buttoned-up dress shirt and black shades.
The pace picked again, with Hungry Heart seguing into Mary’s Place, which was one of several songs that felt like it had a new meaning with Bruce’s treatment – more personal than party.
The next brilliant match-up came with The River rolling into Youngstown and The Promised Land, then working back to happy crowd favourites Working on the Highway and Glory Days.
As the music headed back towards darker rock with Here Comes the Night (brilliant Lofgren blitz in there), it felt like something new in the interpretation of The Rising which followed on. It took off like a jet thundering down the runway, and felt a song that had been reworked into something more beautiful than the original. For a song borne out of the 911 tragedy, it felt like much, much more than an ode to that moment in American history. It’s lyrically so strong it will live for generations, with listeners able to make their own interpretation, quite possibly not tied to that event.
And then he tops that with Rosalita, the second biggest highlight of the night in my book. A song for the ages, it has nearly all the ingredients found in Springsteen’s magic lyric bag. It was so good he could have ended the night with it.
But Bruce wasn’t done. A kid in the crowd from South Point, New Jersey, hopped on stage and helped sing his own request song, No Surrender.
Born to Run followed, falling into Dancing in the Dark, as a handful of fans were invited on stage to sing and dance through it, and then a rousing version of Johnny O’Keefe’s classic Shout before Bobby Jean finished the epic set.
Of course, Thunder Road was the ultimate finish.