Stadium of Light gears up for 100,000 rock ‘n’ roll fans + VIDEO

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THE home of the Black Cats is gearing up to welcome 100,000 excited gig-goers through its doors.

All hands will be on deck to turn around the stadium, which hosts Bruce Springsteen tomorrow, in time for the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Sunday.

The US stars are a big coup for the club in its summer signings for gigs.

Gary Hutchinson, SAFC commercial director, said: “It doesn’t get much bigger than Bruce Springsteen at the Stadium of Light.

“He last performed in the North East at St James’ Park, and now he’s converted to being an SAFC fan.

“Like all the acts who perform here, he’ll be presented with his own SAFC strip.

“Live Nation were a primary target for us as they are the biggest promoter in the world.

“When we found out we’d be working with them we knew we’d either be getting Lady Gaga or Springsteen, and we’re really pleased to get Springsteen.

“He attracts a different type of audience than previous gigs here.”

The Coldplay set, which wowed a record crowd of 55,000 earlier in the month, has been removed to make way for Springsteen’s more pared-down stage.

He prefers it to be lower so that it feels like more of an intimate gig.

The Boss will go on stage from 7pm, with no support act, for what is expected to be a show lasting more than three hours.

“Bruce’s shows are very stripped back. They are about the music,” said Gary.

“It’s pure rock ‘n’ roll. We are almost at capacity for ticket sales but there are still some tickets available.”

Once Springsteen and his E Street Band have finished their marathon gig, work will begin to strip the stadium in preparation for the Chili Peppers on Sunday.

Their support acts will include The Futureheads, the first time a local band has been part of the venue’s blockbuster gigs.

Work has already begun to attract big name stars to the venue next summer.

“Watch this space,” said Gary. “Competition is strong on the market, but we are making sure we are on the lips of promoters when they speak to bands about touring venues.

“The key thing is the public supporting these events so we can continue to bring them to Sunderland.”

So who is on Gary’s wish-list to perform at the Stadium of Light?

“We would love to see The Killers or Muse here,” he said.

“It would also be great to have the Rolling Stones, or to have Take That come back again.

“Someone like Lady Gaga and Rihanna will be stadium acts soon, so you never know.”

Twitter: @sunechokaty