Tireless Bruce Springsteen returns to Barcelona to delight 58,000 at Olympic Stadium

American rock star's unlimited energy drives fans ecstatic in first of two Catalan concerts this week

Bruce Springsteen performing at Barcelona's Olympic Stadium, June 20, 2024
Bruce Springsteen performing at Barcelona's Olympic Stadium, June 20, 2024 / Jordi Borràs
Cillian Shields

Cillian Shields | @pile_of_eggs | Barcelona

June 20, 2024 06:16 PM

June 25, 2024 04:41 PM

Bruce Springsteen captured the hearts of Catalans once again with another invigorating three-hour gig on Thursday night at a sold-out Olympic Stadium in Barcelona. 

The 74-year-old rock legend opened the evening’s entertainment with Lonesome Day, heartfully accompanied by the voices of 58,000 fans singing along to every word.

Un rètol d'una de les assistents al concert de Bruce Springsteen a Barcelona

The Boss offered some words of Catalan to the ecstatic crowd, asking ‘com esteu?’ three times at the opening of the show, backed up as ever by The E Street Band teeming with energy. At another point during the evening, Springsteen unveiled a t-shirt reading ‘Us estimem,’ meaning "we love you," a t-shirt that was worn by many in the crowd.

Bruce Springsteen durant el concert a l'Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys de Barcelona

Springsteen’s seminal anthem No Surrender proved to resonate with fans as much today as it did in 1986, as this was one of the first of the rock star’s major hits to send the masses leaping into the air in unison. 

The superstar kept some of his biggest hits for a more than half-hour-long encore after taking the first bow from the crowd, with Born in the USA, Born To Run, and Dancing in the Dark saved for a rip-roaring finish. 

The Boss's energy, crescendoing after three hours of a concert, was a sight to behold, as Springsteen conducted the jumping, dancing, and singing of thousands of loyal fans beyond midnight.  

After a thumping first half hour, Springsteen slowed the tempo down slightly with Darkness On the Edge of Town letting the audience catch a moment’s breath and take in the momentous occasion they were experiencing. The song came just as the darkness of the evening was setting upon Barcelona, giving fans the chance to light up the arena with their phone torches and lighters, creating a touching combination of scene and soundtrack. 


Hungry Heart was another of the biggest crowd-pleasers of the night, beginning with the artists letting the crowd take the lead on vocals and finishing with Bruce leading the congregation in a sea of side-to-side arm-waving.

Half way through the night, Springsteen told the crowd the emotional story of his beginnings playing guitar at the age of 15 back in 1965 ahead of performing the song Last Man Standing on an acoustic guitar. The song was a tribute to some of his oldest friends with whom he played in his first band, The Castiles, and the song was written as a heartfelt response to the fact that the two friends he shared that band with eventually passed away. 

“Death brings a certain sort of clarity,” The Boss recounted. “Its lasting gift to us is an expanded vision of living this life as best we can. And the grief that you feel when our loved ones leave us is just the price that we pay for having loved well.” 

From start to finish, the relentless musicians provided a scintillating score of rock classics. Back Streets was guided by a powerful primal drum riff looping through the verses, Because The Night was driven on by a chorus of rapturous thousands, 

Springsteen returns to the Olympic Stadium on Saturday evening, when in total 115,000 fans will get to enjoy his electric performances this week. 

Tickets for the first night went on sale last November, with 50,000 sold in just 30 minutes, forcing the promoters to announce a second concert just two days later. 

Catalonia's obsession with Bruce 

These shows come a year after his last concerts in Catalonia, which themselves were touching reunions with some of his most faithful fans who had to wait years to see their icon, as the shows had been postponed due to the pandemic. 

In 2023, The Boss kicked off his European tour with the Catalan performances; another episode in the special relationship shared between the legendary musician and Catalonia that stretches back decades, all the way back to his first gig in Barcelona in 1981; a night many in Catalonia still talk about today. 

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band's concert in Barcelona in April 2023 was the starting point of a tour that "unleashed euphoria," according to Spanish newspaper El Correo.

Bruce Springsteen, d'esquena, durant l'actuació a l'Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys de Barcelona

The first gig announced in the Catalan capital sold out within minutes, prompting organizers to announce a second concert, which also sold out in a matter of minutes.

Over 55,000 fans attended each concert, including former U.S. President Barack Obama and former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, actress Kate Capshaw and actor Tom Hanks.

But the relationship between Bruce and Catalonia stretches back many decades. 

Listen to our Filling the Sink podcast from May 6, 2023 to learn more about Catalonia's fascination with The Boss.