At the end of his appearance on "Saturday Night Live" recently, Bruce Springsteen waved to the audience and yelled, "See ya this summer!"
He meant it, too. Springsteen and his new band begin what promises to be a lengthy, globe-spanning tour in June, with two shows at the Capital Centre scheduled for Aug. 25 and 26. (Cellar Door Productions confirmed the bookings, but had no word on when tickets would go on sale.)
Those hoping to see the first shows of this tour had better get their passports in order, though. Springsteen starts things off June 15 at the Globe arena in Stockholm, Sweden. From there, he and his band travel to Frankfurt, Paris and Barcelona, concluding the European leg with a five-night stand at London's Wembley Arena.
Why Europe? Sources in the Springsteen camp say it's a combination of logistics and timing. Unlike the United States, few major European cities have large, indoor arenas, meaning that most big-time rock tours are limited to the warm-weather months. Had Springsteen been ready for the road a month ago, odds are that he would have started here in North America.
In any case, he brings his show to these shores on July 23, opening the American leg of the tour with five shows at the Brendan Byrne Arena (in New Jersey, appropriately enough). From there, the group goes to Boston (Aug. 13-14), Detroit (Aug. 17-18), Cleveland (Aug. 21-22) and Philadelphia (Aug. 28-29). Additional dates are expected.
As on "SNL," Springsteen's touring combo will include keyboardist Roy Bittan (the only holdover from the E St. Band), guitarist Shane Fontayne (formerly of Lone Justice and, more recently, the Merchants of Venus), bassist Tommy Simms (whose credits include Amy Grant's road band) and drummer Zachary Alford (who toured with the B-52s last summer).
Odds are that there will also be a few backing singers along for the ride, but at this point, no one is naming names. Probably the best bet is Bobby King, who has harmonized with Ry Cooder and a host of others; King sang along with Springsteen for a warm-up show at New York's Bottom Line last week, but wasn't included in the "SNL" performance.
According to Springsteen's publicist, however, there's "no nTC indication so far" that Patti Scialfa -- who went from backup singer on Springsteen's last tour to become the Boss' wife -- will be performing with him this time around.