One of the most enduring memories I have of Bruce Springsteen’s gig at Soccer City last weekend; is bouncing across the football pitch, arms raised to a new song Heaven’s Wall. Repeating the chorus, “raise your hands, raise your hands, raise your hands”. The gospel-infused song was a standout at The Boss’ three and half hour show and I was later to discover that the version I heard that night was only the fifth live version of the song ever played. Considering that the song was written and initially recorded sometime between 2002 and 2008 makes that fact even more fascinating.

Heaven’s Wall was released on Bruce Springsteen’s eighteenth studio album High Hopes and South Africa was the opening leg of High Hopes Tour. Besides a live debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, the first time Springsteen played Heaven’s Wall in concert was at the Bellville Velodrome on the opening night of his South African tour. By the time he reached Soccer City last weekend, the song has been played live only five times. Springsteen played a total of five songs off of his new album during the South African tour; they were High Hopes, Heaven’s Wall, American Skin (41 Shots), The Ghost of Tom Joad and This Is Your Sword.

The Ghost of Tom Joad was originally recorded in 1995, for the album it gave its title too, while American Skin was written in 1999 and originally recorded in 2001. High Hopes was originally recorded in 1996 for the Blood Brothers EP and all have featured in Springsteen’s set lists before the new album was released. However This Is Your Sword was played live for the first time on January 29 in Cape Town, South Africa’s very own Bruce Springsteen moment of history.

The good news is you can own a little slice of these historical moments, because The Boss has launched a new service where fans can download his shows as he plays across the world. Currently all three Cape Town shows are available for sale in MP3 and Flac formats for a reasonable US$9.99, about R120. The Johannesburg show will be up any day now. Head on over here to check out the set lists and shows on sale.

Pic Credit: Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt… Working on a Dream Tour 2009, Valladolid, Spain 01-08-2009 by Manuel Martinez Perez

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