Page last updated at 02:01 GMT, Sunday, 28 June 2009 03:01 UK

Glastonbury bows down to The Boss


Springsteen got the crowd singing along with classics like Born To Run

By Ian Youngs
Music reporter, BBC News

Bruce Springsteen has become The Boss of Glastonbury after a two-and-a-half hour crowd-pleasing headline set.

Hits like Dancing in the Dark, Glory Days and Born To Run got fans moving as the star made his first UK festival appearance at the Somerset event.

Springsteen got close to his British fans with repeated runs from the stage to sing right next to the front row.

"He was down with his fans and cared that he was here," said 28-year-old Siobhan Farmer, who was in the crowd.

"I wasn't a fan before but he certainly puts energy into it."

Her friend Anna Burgess, 23, added: "I knew nothing of Bruce but it was the best gig of the festival so far. His passion made it. It was brilliant."

Bruce Springsteen at Glastonbury
Springsteen jumped down from the stage during numerous songs

Another fan, Amil Ahir, 43, from Devon, said he last saw Springsteen at Wembley Stadium about 15 years ago.

"He definitely is The Boss and tonight he proved that again, in terms of entertainment, real rock and a fantastic blend of different musical types," he said.

"Bruce rocked Glastonbury tonight."

Tom Winter from Stoke-on-Trent commented: "Even from miles back, I thought it was brilliant. There was so much energy coming through."

Springsteen started the night with an acoustic cover of Coma Girl by late Clash frontman Joe Strummer.

Strummer wrote the song about Glastonbury, and his love of the festival helped convince Springsteen to play.

The song begins with the line: "I was crawling through a festival way out west," before continuing: "And the rain came in from the wide blue yonder, through all the stages I wandered."

"What happened to all the rain?" Springsteen asked the crowd as the show got under way. "I wore my boots."

In black T-shirt and blue jeans, the 59-year-old star was not short of the indefatigable passion and down-to-earth devotion that have always defined his on-stage persona.

The 25-song stint stretched into all corners of his blood, sweat and tear-stained catalogue.

Fans watching Bruce Springsteen
The Saturday headline show is traditionally the biggest slot of the weekend

But it was not a greatest hits show. He never plays Born in the USA, perhaps his biggest anthem, live these days, although the Glastonbury crowd tried their best to persuade him by chanting its chorus.

During the title track from his newest album Working On A Dream, the singer delivered a lengthy message with evangelical zeal.

"We are so glad to be in the beautiful rain-free Glastonbury tonight," he told the crowd.

"I heard about it, I heard about it, I heard about it - now I'm seeing it.

"The mighty E Street Band has come thousands of miles tonight to fulfil a solemn vow to rock the house."

On No Surrender, from the Born in the USA album, Springsteen was joined by Brian Fallon, singer with up-and-coming band The Gaslight Anthem and a fellow New Jersey native.

Earlier, The Boss had made a surprise appearance on one song with The Gaslight Anthem during their slot on the John Peel Stage, the traditional home of new bands at the festival.

In headlining the main Pyramid Stage, Springsteen followed another redoubtable rock legend, Neil Young, who topped the bill on Friday.

Other acts to draw crowds on Saturday included rapper Dizzee Rascal, comedy rockers Spinal Tap, indie stars Kasabian and reggae-folk singer Paolo Nutini.

Revellers enjoyed warm, sunny weather after downpours on Thursday and Friday.

More than 175,000 people are at the event, which has been run on Michael Eavis' dairy farm for for 39 years.

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