The Rising on ten years of performing the Bruce Springsteen songbook
Hopes rose fleetingly of a UK tour this summer by Bruce Springsteen after he wrapped up his year-long stint on Broadway.
Sadly, he decided against calling up the E Street Band and hitting the road, so the big stadiums from Hampden to Wembley would resound to his remarkable songbook one more time.
But, you can still hear his music played live thanks to The Rising who take to the stage of the Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy, on March 2.
It’s a landmark year for the Scottish tribute band as they celebrate a decade of paying homage to The Boss – and delving into that classic songbook never feels like a chore.
The Lang Toun gig forms part of what has become a mini-tour of the Kingdom.
They have already played Carnegie Hall, and their itinerary also includes Rothes Halls in Glenrothes, and the Lochgelly Centre.
Playing traditional theatres is a slight departure too for a band more used to stand-up venues such as Oran Mor in Glasgow and the equally famous Citrus Club in Edinburgh.
But even the usherettes at the Adam Smith may have to accept that when a band blows into town playing the Springsteen songbook, sometimes you just have to get up and dance.
And it could be a long night too as The Rising recreate his legendary lengthy gigs.
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Anyone who has seen Springsteen play live know what to expect – three hours, sometimes more, of live music with no break as he digs deep into a 40-year back catalogue from Asbury Park right through to his Wrecking Ball album.
I’ve seen him stretch songs out to 15 minute epics built round the call and response with his audience – at Hampden in 2016, he took ‘Shout’ to almost 17 minutes before finally calling time.
Recreating that spirit is one heck of a challenge, but it’s one The Rising have been doing for 10 years.
What started out as a one-off show has blossomed into life on the road celebrating the music of The Boss – and building a pretty solid fan base en route too.
With a core seven-piece line up, they set out to tackle the greatest hits, the classics and album tracks all instantly familiar to anyone who has followed the career of The Boss.
Frontman Steven Lawlor looked back on how it all started.
“I was down in Manchester with a friend to see Bruce. We were all in bands and got talking about how difficult it’d be to reprise what he does.
“We got some friends together, went into the studio and, after about six months, we had something that sounded like Springsteen.
“We did a charity show for CHAS which was a big success, but it was really a one-off until people started commenting that we should do more.
“We went away and worked on more material and then our drummer, who shares the same birthday as Bruce, was turning 60 and fancied playing The Ferry in Glasgow where he’d seen lots of bands,. We booked it and the place sold out.”
Ten years on, and the band is still going strong.
Their own love of Springsteen’s music is as strong as ever too – and with a massive back catalogue, they have an abundance of songs to choose for each live set.
“We’re no strangers to three hour sets, because we want to bring the feel of a Bruce gig to the audience.
“We want it to have that loose-ness and get plenty of audience reaction – just as you see when he performs.
“It’s not about dressing-up and being band members – it’s about playing the music with respect, and bringing it alive.
“We want to give audiences the feeling they are at a real Bruce gig, and that includes the humour and the interaction.
“Ultimately people love his music so the onus is on us to ensure we do it justice – from those iconic Clarence Clemons sax solos to Roy Bittan’s piano sound.
“We have 40 years of music to choose from, so there’s plenty there to freshen up our live sets. We’ve done whole albums in the past, and we try to include as many favourites as we can.
“We start by deciding whether to do the album or live version of some tracks, and then build from there. If we go for the live version, one song can take up to 12 minutes or more out of the set – so getting everything in is a challenge!”
Steven’s own favourites hark back to the early days of the E Street Shuffle and Darkness On The Edge Of Town – all pre-Born To Run, Springsteen’s classic signature song – but he acknowledges the Born In The USA era that spawned so many songs which remain the staple part of many of the E Street Band’s live gigs .
“People are there to hear the music and have a great night out – and that’s what we do.”
The Rising are at the Adam Smith Theatre on Saturday, March 2. Ticket info HERE www.onfife.com