Springsteen Dances With Mother, Aunt Onstage In Italy

Stadium show in Genoa was added to Boss' ongoing European tour.

GENOA, Italy -- Bruce Springsteen saluted his Italian heritage by

dancing with his mother, the former Adele Zirilli, and his aunt during a

concert here Friday night with his re-formed E Street Band.

"Tonight, for the first time in Italy, not the Three Tenors, but the

Three Accordionists," Springsteen joked in broken Italian during the

midshow introduction of the band that typically comes onstage during

"Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" (

href="http://www.sonicnet.com/artists/clip.cgi?track=%7Eq-

XXXXXX%2F0034048_0102_00_0002.ra">RealAudio excerpt) from 1975's

Born to Run.

While guitarist Steve Van Zandt improvised the theme from the movie "The

Godfather," guitarist Nils Lofgren and keyboardists Danny Federici and

Roy Bittan donned accordions and played an authentic Italian tarantella

-- a traditional Italian dance piece in 6/8 time -- as the Boss danced

with his two relatives.

Springsteen's tense relations with his father, Douglas Springsteen, who

died last year, informed many of his songs, particularly "Independence

Day," from 1980's The River. But his relationship with his mother

seldom was an obvious source of inspiration. One notable exception was

"The Wish," a tune Springsteen dedicated to his mother and recorded in

1990 during the Human Touch/Lucky Town sessions. It

surfaced on last year's four-CD box set, Tracks.

Springsteen's show at the Ferrari Stadium, home of the two local soccer

teams, was one of the first stadium dates of his reunion tour with his

longtime bandmates that began in April in Barcelona, Spain.

It attracted almost 30,000 people, but that wasn't enough to sell out

the 35,000-capacity venue. The New Jersey native is enormously popular

in Italy, but he had played three arena dates in Milan and Bologna six

weeks before. Springsteen was so pleased by the Italian audiences'

enthusiasm that he wanted to come back and play one more date, according

to local promoters.

When, a half-hour into the show, a duet between saxophonist Clarence

Clemons and Springsteen on harmonica turned into a reworked version of

The River's title track (

href="http://www.sonicnet.com/artists/clip.cgi?track=%7Eq-

XXXXXX%2F0029940_0104_00_0002.ra">RealAudio excerpt), it sounded

as if almost everyone in the stadium was singing along.

"I'd already seen him in Milan in April, so I quite knew what to expect

from the show," Alessandro Ragni, 29, said. "Still, I wouldn't miss him

for any reason."

Springsteen turned the setlist into a marathon of sing-along anthems,

changing the pace only a few times. Dressed in a short-sleeved gray

shirt and black pants, he frequently ran from one end of the long stage

to the other. The band -- which also included drummer Max Weinberg,

bassist Garry Tallent and Springsteen's wife, Patty Scialfa, on backing

vocals -- sounded tight, after more than two months on tour.

Springsteen's final European date is June 27 in Oslo, Norway. From July

15 to Aug. 16, the Boss and his E Streeters will play a 15-night stand

at the Continental Airlines arena in East Rutherford, N.J. Ticket sales

for those sold-out shows set a record when 300,000 tickets were sold in

13 hours. Tickets for shows in Boston and Detroit went on sale Saturday.

Chicago shows are scheduled for late September.