Banbridge man Gerry
Conlon was born to run to as many Bruce Springsteen gigs as possible, which amounts to almost all of them hereabouts.
Before the week’s out self confessed mega-fan Gerry (53) will have driven the better part of 1,000 miles to catch five Springsteen concerts within a fortnight and laid out £1,000 for tickets to shows in Limerick, Cork, Belfast and Kilkenny.
With the exception of a 2005 tour, for which tickets were “like gold dust”, Gerry has attended every one of the Boss’s gigs on the island of Ireland since he first performed here 28 years ago.
For this year’s Wrecking Ball Tour he has had his sister along for company and his wife Rosanna, who, having only joined the fold last year, is now likely to be as anxious as Gerry to get queuing for tickets .
“So far we’ve been lucky in getting tickets,” said Gerry, who revealed it was a team effort. “One of us will go looking online and somebody else will be queueing up; there’ll be two or three at it.”
Gerry was bitten by the Springsteen bug in 1975 when, at age 15, he first heard Born to Run.
He has since caught shows by some of music’s heaviest hitters, including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Queen, David Bowie, REM and U2, but the Boss beats all.
“No other live act comes close,” he said, as he tried to explain something he conceded might be considered an obsession.
“It’s hard to explain sometimes, when you’re asked why you keep coming back, but if you go and see the show you will understand why people like me will go night after night after night.
“There’s just something extra you just don’t get with other artists.
“In Belfast on Saturday night, before the show had even started, he came out early and did half an hour of solo acoustic before the band came on; then he was on for over three hours.
“It was a superb show, not just the gig itself, but from the organisational point of view; the crew at the King’s Hall were brilliant.”
With set changes each night and Bruce taking random requests from audience placards, the shows stay fresh for die-hard fans and after all this time Gerry is still waiting to heat ‘E-Street Shuffle’ performed live.
His greatest desire, though, is to finally secure tickets for a Springsteen gig in the USA, at a venue such as New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“I’ve tried a couple of times and haven’t managed it,” he said, “but it WILL happen.”
Gerry’s advice, meanwhile, to the uninitiated, is clear.
“If you get the chance to go to a Bruce Springsteen concert, grab it with both hands; you will not be disappointed,” he said.