News Updated March 22, 2018

Jim Cummings' Thunder Road short gets a feature-length expansion and major recognition at SXSW
Great news for all of us fans of Officer James Arnaud and his recently deceased Springsteen-loving mother, Brenda. Now we'll get to find out what happened after the funeral.

Independent filmmaker Jim Cummings' seriocomic short film Thunder Road won the 2016 Sundance Short Film Festival's Short Film Grand Jury Prize, and became an internet hit after Cummings secured permission to use Springsteen's "Thunder Road" for its Vimeo release. (Click here to watch Cummings' original single-scene short, and here to listen to our archived 2016 conversation with Cummings about his unique film.)

Earlier this year, Cummings conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign to finance the filming of an expanded, feature-length version of his 2016 short. The feature version, shot in just over two weeks, opens with a newly filmed version of the original short's funeral scene and then moves on to what happens next in the lives of Officer Arnaud (played, as in the short, by Cummings himself,) his family and friends. Cummings tells us that there are additional Springsteen-related moments to be found in the expanded feature, as well.

The 2018 version of Thunder Road just walked away with the Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Feature at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. The audience loved it, Cummings tells us, and it also made The Hollywood Reporter's list of the ten best films of SXSW 2018.

All of these developments put Cummings in a very good, well-deserved place for negotiating a major distribution deal. Therefore, it's just a matter of time before the feature-length version of Thunder Road will become available for viewing by many more interested fans. When that happens, of course we'll be very happy to help let everyone know. In the meantime, you also can visit Thunder Road's Facebook and Instagram pages to keep updated.
- March 22, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting

If you like the looks of that, imagine it seven feet tall. This one-of-a-kind artwork is a collaboration between photographer Lynn Goldsmith and street pop artist Mr. Brainwash (AKA Thierry Guetta, seen in Exit Through the Gift Shop). It's up for auction now on eBay and tax-deductible, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting Connecting to Cure Crohn's and Colitis.

"Mr. Brainwash contacted me about wanting to do something with one of my photographs of Bruce," Goldsmith tells Backstreets, "that he wanted to make out of vinyl records. I let him create this piece from my photo, knowing that it would be used to raise money and awareness for a great cause — I know people who suffer greatly from these diseases."

"It is a unique piece, makinging it even more valuable, as there is only one and no more will be made," she says. As the item description notes, Brainwash used Goldsmith's iconic 1978 portrait of Springsteen as a basis; "the photograph is printed high contrast and then covered entirely with broken vinyl records and mounted onto wood... meticulously cut and carved with hundreds of records and CDs."

"The price is really low on eBay," Goldsmith adds, with a starting bid of $4,000. "Brainwash's work normally starts at $10,000... then there's me... and it's Bruce!"

The auction closes on Monday, March 26. View it here, and learn more about the cause at
- March 21, 2018

For anyone still searching for Broadway tickets, another chance is right around the corner: a third extension has been announced today for Bruce Springsteen's one-man-plus-one-woman show, which will keep the lights on at Walter Kerr Theatre through mid-December. Springsteen on Broadway was originally scheduled for an eight-week run from October to December 2017; this final extension of 81 additional shows starting July 10 will keep Bruce on the boards for well over a year. According to today's press release, December 15 will be the production's "final New York City show."

Tickets for the new run will go on sale a week from today, Wednesday, March 28, at 11am, through Ticketmaster Verified Fan.

As stated on, where you'll also find a FAQ, "for this onsale, only fans who previously registered [for Verified Fan], and have not purchased tickets, will be eligible to receive an invitation to the onsale. Eligible fans will receive additional information on Monday, March 26 to prepare in advance."
- March 21, 2018 - photograph by Harvey C. Brill

Elvis Presley: The Searcher's world premiere at SXSW 2018
The world premiere of Elvis Presley: The Searcher took place last week in Austin, TX as part of the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. Director Thom Zimny's two-part film, running a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes, will make its television debut next month on HBO. Both Jon Landau, who's one of the film's producers, and Bruce Springsteen comment extensively on Presley's enduring legacy throughout the film.

Click here to read Shawn Poole's King-sized, on-the-scene coverage of the film's world premiere, including exclusive Backstreets interviews with Zimny, HBO's Kary Antholis, Priscilla Presley, and Jerry Schilling.
- March 20, 2018 - Above, L-R: Thom Zimny, Priscilla Presley, Jerry Schilling and David Porter - Austin, TX, 3/14/18

Max Weinberg has donated a very special package to the MSD Strong Auction, to help the families of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting. Along with tickets to his Max Weinberg's Jukebox show, up on the block is a private drum lesson and lunch with the Mighty One, plus signed sticks, a signed drumhead, and the chance to join his Jukebox band on stage. 100% of the proceeds will go to the Parkland, FL victims and their families. Other auction items — and there are many — include a tennis lesson with Jimmy Connors and an Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam package with meet and greet. The Mighty Max auction ends on March 25th at 5:29 pm Eastern, see all details here.
- March 19, 2018

Our new pal Jim Boggia informs us that his initial performance of Bruce Off Broadway: A Ukulele Tribute to The Boss in January was a sold-out success, and now he's busy lining up some more shows. First up is a pair of NJ/NY dates at the end of this week:

Friday, March 23: Bruce Off Broadway makes its Asbury Park debut at The Saint; click here for tickets.

Saturday, March 24: Boggia's tribute returns to New York's East Village, this time at Mercury Lounge; click here for tickets.

Jim's one clever, funny dude and this show has plenty of laughs for sure, but he's also a very talented musician who can be deadly serious when the music calls for it. For evidence of the latter, check out his ukefied version of "Born in the U.S.A." above. As Jay Lustig's recent profile notes, Boggia is also an auxilliary member of the Fab Faux. Visit Jim Boggia's Facebook page regularly for updates on future Bruce Off Broadway shows and Boggia's other activities.
- March 19, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting

Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny
After going dark for most of February, Springsteen on Broadway has returned to the Walter Kerr Theater for its third and for-all-we-know final extension, a 17-week run currently set to wrap in June. All shows are long past sold out — but on Wednesday night, a packed house of contest winners (largely SiriusXM subscribers) was treated to a special performance of Broadway's most unlikely hit since… what was that hip-hop musical about the treasury secretary? That one.

A freak evening squall made for a theatrical backdrop, snow swirling sideways down 48th Street, looking like the work of a film crew. Early arrivals took shelter in the alley beside the theater, where E Street Radio's Jim Rotolo and Dave Marsh were hosting a pre-show broadcast, interviewing fans and some only-in-New-York celebrities. Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg stopped by for an on-air chat, while others — Stephen Colbert, Howard Stern, Ricky Gervais, Liev Schreiber, Emmylou Harris — skipped the cold to head inside.

Having caught an early performance last November, I was curious how Broadway had evolved, 94 shows in. The songs, of course, remain the same, with the setlist a constant since opening night — save for a few occasions when Patti Scialfa took ill and alternate songs were swapped in for the two duets.

If you were watching the clock, which nobody was, tonight's performance was actually two minutes shorter (2 hrs 13 mins) than the one I saw last fall. He's streamlined a few sections, expanded and embellished others — and while the pacing of the second half still feels hasty, overall the transitions are smoother, the impressions more developed, the dramatic pauses more dramatically paused. Springsteen has found his comfort zone without getting too comfortable, or foregoing that man-on-a-wire balancing act between scripted and spontaneous. Like a river that knows exactly where it's flowing, he moves through Broadway with confidence and purpose, all while nodding at something deeper roiling below the surface. Before the audience even notices, the stream will suddenly change course, shifting from joy to melancholy, present to past, light to darkness in an instant.

In November it was the darker themes that stood out: the intensity of the childhood stories, the poignant ruminations on aging and loss. "I had no idea it would be so sad," a friend said as we headed home, quietly absorbing what we'd seen.

The sadness is still there — enough, apparently, to reduce Reese Witherspoon to a sobbing puddle of tears — but on second viewing you realize how laugh-out-loud hilarious the show is, right alongside the melancholy, often in the very next breath. Take it from Gervais: "Just came out of @Springsteen on Broadway," he tweeted after the show. "Fucking killed me. Honest & beautiful. What's really annoying is how funny he is too."

That's not a side of Springsteen that's been front-and-center in his music, at least not since the Ford Administration. Humor isn't the first or fifteenth thing a layman would associate with Springsteen the Rock Icon — he of clenched jaw and troubled gaze, staring out from the covers of Darkness or Devils & Dust. Springsteen the Icon was always dead-serious. But Bruce the Performer was often downright hysterical, blessed with a comic actor's timing and a stand-up's surfeit of material. Think of the legendary raps of the '70s and '80s — shaggy-dog stories and goofy cosmic tales that came off ad-libbed but were in fact carefully honed. (It takes work to sound that off-the-cuff.)

"There I was, one night, just a normal guy," he'd stage-whisper back in 1978, channeling his best Vinnie Barbarino. "And then, there I was, the next night…. Goddamn it, I was still just a normal guy!"

To those lucky enough to hear them, those live raps were an essential part of Springsteen's charming regular-dudeness, a giggly, self-effacing side few casual listeners would've been aware of. It didn't exactly carry through to the records, or to Bruce's mythic public persona. So it's refreshing to find him rediscovering his comic gifts of late, first with the Born to Run memoir, equal parts eloquent and uproarious, and now with Springsteen on Broadway, which aims even more squarely for laughs, but never unearned ones. Having spent years trafficking in hardcore drama, who'd have guessed that Bruce would someday look back and it would all seem funny?

The '70s Sweathog staccato has now dropped to a gravelly murmur, which makes for even stronger comedy. Tonight's finessed jokes landed better than they did in the fall. The great line about having "never worked five days a week until these shows" found an even bigger laugh with the gruff addendum "And I don't like it." A lament about being stuck in the sticks playing "fireman's fairs and midnight-madness supermarket openings," wondering if he'd ever hit the big time, took flight with a new riff on his home state: "Why not me? Because I live in the fucking boondocks. There's no one here. And there's nobody coming down here. There was no 'Jersey, Jersey, Jersey Strong, Jersey, Jersey, Jersey—shit, I invented that."

His physical delivery, too, has been calibrated for the small stage. He recounted his "first show," performing in the backyard for a group of local kids, fake-strumming a newly acquired, still-mystifying guitar. "I slapped it! I shook it! Most importantly, I posed with it!" At this, the boy onstage held his Takamine aloft, in an uncanny impression of Bruce Springsteen. (Memo to Ben Stiller and Jimmy Fallon: Bruce's Bruce is funnier than yours.)

The show's strongest passage was a tender tribute to Springsteen's 92-year-old mother Adele, segueing into a plaintive piano rendition of "The Wish," a Tunnel of Love­–eraouttake that's at once the most obscure song in the set and the most Broadway-esque. With its heart-on-the-sleeve, just-shy-of-sappy sentimentality, "The Wish" feels built for this setting and guaranteed to make anyone born to a mother well up. (By the second verse I was a Reese Witherspoon-size puddle on the carpet.)

One other change since last fall: Springsteen's acknowledgement of his mother's seven-year struggle with Alzheimer's, which he hadn't addressed directly in earlier shows. The word hit the audience like a gut punch, shading his otherwise bright recollections of Adele's joie de vivre. And the sweet chorus of "The Wish" — with the line "I'm older, but you'll know me in a glance" — became all the more poignant.

The duets with Patti Scialfa have been a highlight of the Broadway run, benefitting from pin-drop acoustics and superb sound design. Listening to their voices intertwine, I was catapulted back to 1988, 30 years ago this winter, watching Bruce and Patti share a mic (and a surprising amount of personal space) on "Brilliant Disguise." I remember thinking to my then-17-year-old self, "Someday I hope someone looks at me like those two look at each other." How affirming to watch them sing it again three decades later. But that's the miracle of any Springsteen performance, in any setting: all the years seem to gather into a single night, compressed into that "everlasting NOW" that's sustained Bruce and so many of us for so long. For the lifelong fan, Springsteen on Broadway packs in more history than Hamilton.

Some commenters have expressed surprise at how "non-partisan" the show is, given Bruce's political outspokenness, but I'm not sure that's accurate. The introduction to "Long Walk Home" may not spell it out, but naming names isn't necessary; the message is lost on no one. Tonight's intro was longer and decidedly angrier than it was last fall:

I've seen things over the past year on American streets that I thought were resigned to other, uglier times — things I never thought I'd ever see again in my lifetime. Folks trying to normalize hate…. daily assaults on the truth and the institutions that allow our democracy to breathe and flourish… folks appealing to our darkest angels, calling upon the most divisive, ugliest ghosts of our past. We've come too far and worked too hard, and too many people have paid too high a price for us to allow that to happen…. We're going through a terrible chapter in the battle for the soul of our nation. So… good luck.

Did Bruce know that Gary Cohn, Trump's recently departed economic advisor, was in the audience? No word on whether Cohn enjoyed the show.

Other moments took on unexpected nuances. The show's dreamlike final section finds Bruce outside his boyhood church in Freehold, where "the words of a very strange but all too familiar benediction" suddenly come rushing back. "These were words that I've chanted so many times—sing-song, bored out of my fucking mind, in an endless drone before class, wearing the green blazer, the ivory shirt, the green tie, the green trousers of St. Rose's unwilling disciples…. But these were the words that came back to me. And they flowed differently."

He's referring, of course, to the Lord's Prayer, which he recites before the show-closing "Born to Run." But it occurred to me that he could just as well be describing "Born to Run" — a prayer he's led thousands of times for the full-throated faithful; an incantation so familiar its words now transcend meaning, if they ever made sense at all (what exactly is a "hemi-powered drone"?); a lyric his entire audience could recite without thinking, and indeed often do, like schoolboys chanting the Rosary — or, for that matter, like lesser rock stars, rotely phoning in the hits.

For 45 years Bruce Springsteen has not only avoided phoning in the hits, but has appeared physically incapable of doing so. For all sorts of reasons (some laid bare in this show), the man can't do anything halfway. So a fan returning to Broadway, five months into the run, could legitimately wonder if the star might feel hemmed in by repetition, caught in his own scripted trap. Can a performer known for spontaneity pull off his trickiest magic yet — making a static setpiece appear genuinely alive out there? Would he tire of playing the same gig, night after night after night?

Tonight's answer: Apparently not. Sure, some moments felt rushed, and at others the narrator seemed distracted or impatient. But the setting clearly suits him, and after so many shows he's developed an easier give-and-take with the theater audience, playing off our silences, our laughter, our pent-up urge to leap from our seats and sing along.

So does it matter that the second act basically turns into a concert? Should it bother us if "Dancing in the Dark" doesn't really fit the storyline? Perhaps you were hoping for more about fame, fatherhood, New York City, the '90s, or a few more songs from this century? Hey, we all were. But this is his story, not ours, even if we each have our own (too long) Bruce Springsteen tale to tell. Besides, he’s only got 2 hours and 13 minutes to relay his version.

"The job of the artist is to make the audience care about your obsessions," Springsteen recently told Variety, quoting Martin Scorsese. That's the singular achievement of Springsteen on Broadway. It's less autobiography than a review/revue of obsessions and obfuscations, dreams and disappointments, all adding up to an undeniable reality. And though we may never stand outside St. Rose of Lima Church in Freehold, New Jersey, we know exactly how it looks and feels to that eight-year-old kid with his toy soldiers and horses, and to that 68-year-old homesick troubadour, searching the sky for his beloved copper beech tree, and for the boy he left in its branches.

A perfect show? Not quite. The best a fan could hope for? Impossible. But Springsteen on Broadway really is that good, and five months in, it's only getting better. 
- March 16, 2018 - Peter Jon Lindberg reporting - event photographs by Kevin Mazur


Along with Springsteen's red vinyl Greatest Hits, here's another Record Store Day release to look out for on April 21: on Omnivore Recordings, from the ever-waggish John Wesley Harding, it's a vinyl LP of Greatest Other People's Hits.

Wes is a longtime Springsteen fan (and occsional contributor to Backstreets), who donated a cover of "Jackson Cage" to One Step Up/Two Steps Back: The Songs Of Bruce Springsteen in 1997 and recorded "Wreck on the Highway" live with Springsteen himself in 1994. Both recordings appear on Greatest Other People's Hits.

The digital-minded can obtain both as bonus tracks on JWH's Awake CD, but this is their first time on wax.
- March 14, 2018


With the success of Springsteen on Broadway, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning Bruce Springsteen moves ever closer to being able to achieve EGOT status (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). As long as we've got eyes on the prize, how about an EGOAT? Because the Audies are coming up in May, and Springsteen's 18 hours of reading for the Born to Run audiobook could well get him the "A."

Winners of the 23rd annual Audie Awards, presented by the Audio Publishers Association, will be revealed at the 2018 Audie Awards Gala on May 31 at the New York Historical Society in NYC. Springsteen is up against some stiff competition in the Autobiography/Memoir category, including Al Franken, Trevor Noah, Alec Baldwin, and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Visit for further details.
- March 13, 2018

PITCHFORK'S TOP BOSS BOOKS, NOW ON SALE has compiled a new list of the 8 Best Bruce Springsteen Books, ones that "manage to find new insights into his career and question assumed narratives in ways that can be enlightening to both the obsessed and the intrigued." Two books by Backstreets writers made the cut: longtime contributor Caryn Rose's Raise Your Hand: Adventures of an American Springsteen Fan in Europe ("captures the beauty and insanity of this community"), and Backstreets editor Christopher Phillips's Talk About a Dream: The Essential Interviews of Bruce Springsteen.

Co-edited with Runaway Dream author (and another frequent Backstreets contributor) Louis Masur, Talk About a Dream is, as Pitchfork's Sam Sodomsky writes, an "essential tome... a goldmine of information, with a particularly revelatory selection on his otherwise underwritten 'wilderness years' in the '90s. It showcases an artist who thinks carefully about his work and discusses it with a critic's attention to detail."

If you're a Springsteen fan who reads this page, we hope you already have Talk About a Dream — but if you don't, here's some extra incentive to pick one up.

To celebrate the hat-tips, Backstreet Records is offering a discount on all in-print books from the Pitchfork list — all 20% off for a limited time.

  • Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin (hardcover/softcover)
  • Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen [hardcover/softcover]
  • Born the U.S.A.(33-1/3) by Geoffrey Himes [softcover]
  • Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen by Marc Eliot [out of print]
  • Big Man: Real Life and Tall Tales by Clarence Clemons and Don Reo [out of print]
  • Raise Your Hand: Adventures of an American Springsteen Fan in Europe by Caryn Rose [softcover]
  • Talk About a Dream: The Essential Interviews of Bruce Springsteen by Christopher Phillips and Louis P. Masur [softcover]
  • Bruce Springsteen on Tour: 1968-2005 by Dave Marsh [out of print]

Use the coupon code PITCH20 at checkout to take 20% off the current price on each of these titles, through March 15.
- March 9, 2018

Record Store Day is coming up next month, on April 21, and this year's list has a Springsteen entry: 1995's Greatest Hits, remastered and pressed on red vinyl as a RSD exclusive. The original black-vinyl Greatest Hits 2LP is long out of print; the new release's classifcation as an "RSD First" suggests the remastered set will be more widely available a couple months later, likely back to black. While currently lists the label as Infamous Records, of course this is an official title from Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings.

Greatest Hits gathers "Streets of Philadelphia" along with 13 more highlights from Springsteen's pre-Joad catalog, as well as four previously unreleased tracks: "Secret Garden," "Murder Incorporated," "Blood Brothers," and "This Hard Land." The sessions for these reunited the E Street Band for the first time since the Human Rights Now! Tour, as captured in the Blood Brothers documentary.

For all those waiting for Volume 2 of the Album Collection vinyl remasterings, we wouldn't be surprised if this release is a shot across the bow.
- March 7, 2018


Eddie "Kingfish" Manion, the Jersey Shore's stalwart baritone sax man, was one of those Miami Horns on stage for the landmark August 20, 1984 E Street Band performance released Friday in Springsteen's archive series. A longtime Asbury Juke and current Disciple of Soul, Eddie's certainly no stranger to Springsteen's stage either, backing him up as early as 1976, and later on the Tunnel of Love, Seeger Sessions, Wrecking Ball and High Hopes tours. We asked him for his memories of that hot August night in '84.

I remember playing baritone sax in 1984 with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Steven Van Zandt at Brendan Byrne Arena — I remember 8/20/84 like it was yesterday. 

The call came from Jon Landau and Bruce's management. I think the live album  — Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Live/1975-85 — was in the making, and Bruce wanted the horns on "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" for the recording. Not sure, but I think so.

I remember quite clearly rehearsing with Steve and Bruce right before the show backstage in a small room, learning a new horn arrangement by Miami Steve of Dobie Gray's great R&B rock 'n' roll song "Drift Away." Steve is a musical genius and can arrange and produce on the spot. He's spot on, too! Great musician — hears everything!

I also remember the tremendous applause, love, and respect for Steve Van Zandt as he came onto the stage that night, how special the vocal duet on "Drift Away" between Steve and Bruce sounded. Impeccable performance, and I think we did pretty good too! 

[As for how emotional it might have been to have Steve back], my job is to concentrate on my performance and what Bruce wants to hear. There's no time to be looking around. It's always 110% music when I play with Bruce Springsteen. But the applause that night for Steve was reminiscent of another show I performed with Springsteen at Brendan Byrne Arena, and that was the night the "Big Man" Clarence Clemons appeared on stage, June 24,1993

August 20, 1984 may have been a good sign of some good things to come for me, like the Tunnel of Love Express Tour with the horns and the 2012-2014 Wrecking Ball/High Hopes tour with the E Street Horns. I am proud to be a part of some the E Street Band's finest moments in history, like 8/20/84 and the Super Bowl halftime show in 2009 with the horns.

Since 1976, whenever Bruce wanted horns he has always called me — I take it seriously and know the music. My first complete show with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band was August 1, 1976 at the Monmouth Arts Center [now the Count Basie Theatre] in Red Bank, New Jersey. I think I did six shows with Bruce and the band there — it may have been called the Carlton Theater at the time. When I am on that stage with the E Street Band, we are all in the same band backing Bruce Springsteen and play together as one.

I was fortunate to play "Drift Away" twice in my life with Bruce and the E Street Band: once on 8/20/84 at Brendan Byrne, and once on 8/18/12 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA on the Wrecking Ball tour. Both times were magical for me.

The horn intro to "Drift Away"  played on 8/20/84 is very much a signature horn line of Steve Van Zandt's and is very close to the intro to our new version of Steve's original song "I Don't Want to go Home" on Soulfire. I play baritone sax with Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul and am presently horn director for the band, working closely with Little Steven on his horn arrangements.

If "Drift Away" from 8/20/84 sounds good to you and you want to get lost in your rock 'n' roll, then come see myself and Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul on our 2018 tour starting April 29 at the State Theater in New Brunswick, NJ. All proceeds are benefiting the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation created by Little Steven for music education. Tickets are on sale now at

- March 6, 2018 - as told to Christopher Phillips - photographs by Jerry Frishman (top) and Geoff Robinson (bottom)

Frank Stefanko's massive photography career retrospective, Further Up the Road, got a nice spotlight over the weekend in the Los Angeles Review of Books, reviewed in tandem with Afshin Shahidi’s Prince: A Private View. Eric Deggans writes:

Ultimately, each of these editions is a serious love letter to fans, filled with enough insider knowledge and details about pivotal events to entice the devoted. But they also provide a look at how Prince and Bruce Springsteen developed the visual styles that became integral parts of their careers — showing times when the biggest superstars in pop music needed little more than a talented collaborator with a sense of adventure and a camera to turn their innate charisma and image-consciousness into iconic photos.

Read: "Behind the Lens: Prince and Bruce Springsteen as Seen Through Their Personal Photographers"

Further Up the Road was printed in a limited run of 1,978 by Wall of Sound Editions. While the boxed Deluxe Edition is sold out, the slipcased Collector Edition can still be obtained through Backstreet Records.
- March 5, 2018


Archive series bookends Meadowlands '84 stand with horn-driven Night 10
When Bruce Springsteen began releasing live performances from his archive, one factor in selecting them was how well-known they were. One might point to the 1980 New Years' Eve show at Nassau Coliseum, an early arrival in the series, or Helsinki 2012, now considered his longest show ever. Today's release, Brendan Byrne Arena, NJ August 20, 1984, is the last of ten nights at the Meadowlands that summer and ranks as one of those special performances. It joins the first night of the residency, August 5 (released in 2015), and reprises many of those numbers from the Born in the U.S.A. tour ("Atlantic City," "Backstreets"). It presents a half-dozen other songs, too, like "Spirit in the Night," "I'm Goin' Down," and "Darkness on the Edge of Town."

But the unquestionable star — heard officially for the first time — is "Drift Away," a cover of the song Dobie Gray made famous in 1973. Sung as a duet with Little Steven, who guested with the Miami Horns, its professional recording has long been a holy grail. More than 31 years after "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" gave us a taste of the multi-track recording on the Live/1975-85 box, today we get to hear this landmark performance in its entirety.

"All ten shows were amazing," author, documentarian, and Backstreets contributor Robert Bader wrote in an email. "The band was playing as well as it ever had, the Nebraska songs were played live for the first time, and the new album hadn't become the overplayed stuff you didn't want to hear. Trust me: 'Glory Days' and 'Bobby Jean' were huge.

"What probably set night ten apart from the other nine was what it seemed to mean to Bruce. It was like he had conquered New Jersey and now owned it. He just looked different at the end of that show: the smile was wider, the laughs were louder, and he just seemed so proud. Sort of like the look of a quarterback who just won the Super Bowl. I had never noticed that before, and I had seen him do some spectacular shows at the Palladium, the Garden, the Spectrum and the Capitol Theater.

"It would be easy to say the best shows were the earliest, but 8/20/84 has something going for it on my personal best list that no other show has. And I'm still not sure I've explained it. I consider 'Drift Away' from that show as one of the top moments I've ever experienced at any show by anybody.

Bader wrote this remembrance of August 20 for Magela Ronda's 2012 Spanish-language book Bruce Springsteen: De Greetings From Asbury Park a La Tierra Prometida. We are happy to include it here, appearing in English for the first time.

When Bruce Springsteen first started performing in larger venues like sports arenas, his home state didn't have one. So in 1978, as the Darkness on the Edge of Town album expanded his audience across the United States, his shows in New Jersey were at the relatively tiny Capitol Theater and a few lucky colleges. Across the river in New York Bruce was filling Madison Square Garden while also playing shows at the much smaller Palladium. That all changed a few years later when, during the River tour, New Jersey finally got a sports arena. Bruce's six shows in July 1981 served as the grand opening of the Brendan Byrne Arena in the New Jersey Meadowlands. As the arena operated under various names — the Meadowlands Arena, Continental Airlines Arena or the Izod Center — one thing stayed the same. Bruce Springsteen made the place his home. His shows there took on legendary status, and fans from around the world journeyed to New Jersey to see Springsteen in his home arena.

As Bruce and the E Street Band took the world by storm with Born in the U.S.A. in 1984 they passed through their own backyard for ten shows near the beginning of the tour. Nearly a quarter million tickets for these shows sold out as quickly as they could be printed. And everyone wanted to go to the closing night — August 20, 1984. Fans attending the first nine shows were not disappointed as Bruce and the band gave the locals their first chance to hear material from the new album as well as some of the first live performances of the songs from Nebraska. Guests at those shows included Southside Johnny, Gary US Bonds and The Who's John Entwistle. It didn't seem like there was anything special left by the time August 20 rolled around. But the surprises continued on closing night as the Miami Horns joined Bruce for "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" early in the second set.

August 20, 1984 - photograph by Robert Bader

From the opening burst of "Born in the U.S.A" it was clear to attendees of any or all of the previous nine shows that something very different was in the air on August 20. Fans tend to hope for something special on closing night but on this evening it seemed that Bruce was hoping for something special, too. And he did not disappoint. Intensity level of a performance is difficult to quantify — especially for an artist who gives incredibly high-level performances so consistently — but those who were there on August 20, 1984 experienced an otherworldly form of Bruce Springsteen.

Bruce did a lot of talking at the show, not an altogether unusual thing for him, but the 1984-85 tour would be somewhat transitional in that what he once called his "fabled monologues" would gradually be phased out of the show. So old fans were seeing the last of something as new fans got a glimpse of what the old days were like. In a particularly heartfelt introduction to "My Hometown" when Bruce said, "…this is our place, this is our town, this is our state …" the packed house at what by this time could have easily been called the Bruce Springsteen Arena felt his emotion for the audience that came to his place as he was heading out to conquer the rest of the world.

But a super-charged emotional Bruce Springsteen concert would be a description that would have been appropriate for any of the first nine shows of that Meadowlands run. The spectacular moment that made August 20, 1984 stand apart as one of the finest concerts Bruce Springsteen ever played came during the encores. When Miami Steve Van Zandt left the E Street Band to become Little Steven, many fans could not imagine the band without him — and in spite of the fine job done by Nils Lofgren in Steve's spot, Steve was missed.

This was the first tour since Steve had joined the band in 1975 to not include him. One of the new songs on Born in the U.S.A., "Bobby Jean" was clearly a tribute to the departed band member and friend. And it was played that night with perhaps a bit more emotion than usual. Bruce knew why. The audience was let in on the secret when Steve came out for an encore of "Two Hearts," a song rarely played without him. It was the return of an old friend — not just for the band, but for the audience as well.

With a little help from the Miami Horns, Bruce and Steve made the moment perfect with a stellar duet on Dobie Gray's 1973 hit "Drift Away." When they reached the line, "Thanks for the joy that you've given me," many in the crowd and on the stage were seen wiping tears from their eyes. Bruce and Steve would reprise "Two Hearts" and "Drift Away" in Memphis, Tennessee later in the tour, but that August night in New Jersey remains one of the most memorable and special shows of Bruce's career.

Also read Erik Flannigan's essay "I Believe in Your Song," on the blog.

- March 2, 2018 - by the editors of Backstreets, with special thanks to Robert Bader for reporting


The Soulfire tour wrapped in December, but you didn't think Stevie was done, did you? Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul are hitting the road again this spring with the Teachrock 2018 tour, which will raise funds for Van Zandt's music education efforts. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday March 2, for the first five dates:

  • April 29 - State Theatre - New Brunswick, NJ
  • May 1 - Ridgefield Playhouse - Ridgefield, CT
  • May 2 - Playstation Theatre - New York, NY
  • May 4 - The Palace - Albany, NY
  • May 5 - Mayo Performing Arts Center - Morristown, NJ

All proceeds from the tour will go to TeachRock, the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation's national initiative to bring music curriculum into middle and high schools across the country. On May 6, Stevie will be inducted in to the New Jersey Hall of Fame, after which the Teachrock 2018 Tour will continue with additional dates to be announced.

For complete details and ticket availability, visit

- March 1, 2018 - photograph by Jerry Frishman


The Jon Landau-produced, Thom Zimny-directed, three-hour documentary premieres April 14 at 8pm on HBO.
- February 28, 2018


April's Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town: An International Symposium at Monmouth University is open now for registration. The first academic conference sponsored by the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music, the symposium will be held April 12-15 in West Long Branch, NJ and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Springsteen's 1978 Darkness album. Keynote speakers include Bruce author Peter Ames Carlin, photographer Frank Stefanko, film/video archivist and director Thom Zimny, and '70s Columbia product manager Dick Wingate. Click here for further details and to purchase tickets.
- February 23, 2018 - photograph by Barry Schneier

Thanks to eagle-eyed BTXer stldan for spotting a disturbing Bruce Springsteen-related anecdote found in Martin Arax's riveting "A Kingdom From Dust," recently published in The California Sunday Magazine.

Arax, who co-wrote the 1995 Los Angeles Times report that inspired Bruce's song "Sinaloa Cowboys," details the economically, environmentally and socially perilous state of farming in the San Joaquin Valley, focusing on the rise and reign of Stewart Resnick, the United States' richest farmer. At one point in "A Kingdom From Dust," Arax briefly recalls Springsteen's October 23, 1996 visit to the San Joaquin Valley during his Ghost of Tom Joad tour.

"I once wrote a story about farmworkers who moonlighted as meth cookers to make ends meet," writes Arax. "Bruce Springsteen turned it into a song on his Ghost of Tom Joad album. More than one ballad was about the valley, so he came to Fresno. The William Saroyan Theatre was packed that October 1996 night. Halfway through his solo performance, he interrupted his set to tell us a piggy bank had been set up by the exit to donate money to the 'hardworking men and women in the fields.'" [Before performing "The New Timer" at this show in Fresno, Springsteen asked his audience to learn about and support the work of California Rural Legal Assistance, which had been invited to set up an information/fundraising table in the theater's lobby.]

"When the concert was over, I took my wife and children backstage to meet him. As we sat down to chat, one of his assistants leaned over and whispered into his jewel-studded ear. Springsteen shook his head and smiled a thin, ironic smile. Then he turned and faced me. 'Tell me,' he asked, though it wasn't entirely a question. 'What kind of place is this? Not a single penny was put in that piggy bank.'"

Read: "A Kingdom From Dust" by Mark Arax.

- February 20, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting - photograph by Pamela Springsteen via Twitter/@springsteen

The Celebration Rock podcast, hosted by Uproxx music critic Steven Hyden, has returned from hiatus with a new multi-part series called 20th Century Boss. It's shaping up to be a deep dive worth taking, some eight hours of continuous thunder for Springsteen fans. Also the author of Your Favorite Band is Killing Me, Hyden writes:

Similar to our series on Pearl Jam last year, we will be digging deep into the discography of an American rock 'n' roll institution, Bruce Springsteen. The series is called "20th Century Boss," and as the title suggests, it covers every studio album released by Springsteen from his 1973 debut, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. up through 1995's The Ghost of Tom Joad.

The first two episodes premiered this week and are available now: Part 1, titled "Bruce Begins," has guest Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem) talking about Greetings and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Part 2 focuses on Born to Run, with guest Jeff Rosenstock.

Hyden will continue with a different guest for each episode: "I also wanted to talk exclusively to musicians for this series, and there are few artists that are as influential, or name-checked as often, as Springsteen. Luckily, I had little problem finding great guests who were willing and able to speak insightfully about what exactly makes Springsteen great. The result, I believe, will fascinate long-time fans and provide a handy primer for neophytes."

Upcoming episodes will feature Julien Baker on Darkness; Patrick Stickles (Titus Andronicus) on The River; Phoebe Bridgers on Nebraska; Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers) on Born in the U.S.A.; John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) on Tunnel of Love; and Tim Showalter (Strand of Oaks) on "Bruce in the '90s" (Human Touch, Lucky Town, and Joad).

You can subscribe to Celebration Rock on iTunes, Sticther and Spotify.
- February 15, 2018

"Valentines's Day: a day of love... but a day of heartbreak, too." This is Bruce Springsteen introducing "Back in Your Arms" in Australia, one year ago tonight. "There is no lonelier day of the year — maybe Christmas Eve... maybe New Year's Eve... It's the third loneliest day. Just a little holiday! But, if you've blown a good thing, this is a day you're gonna remember." And February 14, 2017 was a night to remember, as Springsteen and the E Street Band treated the Brisbane crowd to a number of rare songs of love — and of heartbreak, too. Enjoy "Janey Don't You Lose Heart," "Rendezvous," "Be True," "Back in Your Arms," "Leap of Faith," and "Secret Garden," all fan-shot and all from Valentine's Day 2017. And we hope today your scales are tipping toward love.

- February 14, 2018

Nils Lofgren has produced a limited-run DVD edition of his Blind Date Jam film, and he's signing copies especially for us. The number of pre-orders we receive determines how much signing he does, and that time is almost upon us... so order now to guarantee yours!

Blind Date Jam is an 80-minute impromptu jam session that we recorded to capture the magic of the moment at Cattle Track gallery in front of a small group of friends.

Featuring Greg Varlotta on guitar, keys, trumpet, trombone and tap dance, Gary Bruzzese on drums, and John Willis on bass. You'll see me presenting ideas on the spot, talking through the chords brießy and launching in to each piece. It's primitive, rough and inspired jamming that I feel and hope as music fans you'll enjoy. Amy designed a beautiful southwest set for us to play on and produced the adventure with me. I hope some of you decide to check it out.

I'll autograph copies of this limited run DVD ordered through Backstreets. If you try it and enjoy it, please spread the word for us as this is a grassroots, homegrown endeavor. Best and enjoy! — Nils

- February 9, 2018

So I'm watching what has become known as the saddest show on television this past Tuesday night, and a Springsteen connection comes across the screen that just sends me right down to Thunder Road.

Most of America will know what I'm talking about, but for those who don't, the show is This Is Us, and the past two episodes have dealt with what has become known quite simply as "Jack's death" — the subject matter the entire show revolves around.

Jack Pearson, father of three, beloved and devoted husband of wife Rebecca, perished from smoke inhalation after going back into the family home which was engulfed in flames to save his daughter Kate's dog. Jack was the father and husband we all want to be. Flawed yet perfect at the same time.

But what we did not know is that Jack was also a huge Springsteen fanatic. This first comes to our attention early in the episode where Jack and Kate discuss the similarities between Bruce and Alanis Morisette (who, if you follow the show's timeline, had just released Jagged Little Pill). Kate loves Alanis, so Jack puts on a cassette of "My Beautiful Reward" to show why he loves Bruce.

But that's just the beginning. You see, Jack, being the husband/father of the year kind of guy, left a huge surprise for the family. On the morning of his burial, an envelope with five tickets to see Bruce and the band is found in the glove compartment of the family car. That's where the tear ducts open up. If you're a parent and if you love Bruce, one of the biggest joys in life is taking your kids to see the band for the very first time. I have done it with my own daughters. It is without question a thing that we all do, and something that we never forget. Trust me on that fact.

The show ends with the family heading to see the show in Pittsburgh the same night as Jack's funeral. The acknowledgement that life will go on and everyone will be fine — or as fine as they can be — sets the tone for the finale. And the fact that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will help them get there is just perfect and as real as the show can be. The music has been there for all of us.

Also read:

  • "This Is Us Presents Alternative Bruce Springsteen Tour History" []
  • Bruce Springsteen concert helps Pearsons mourn lost father on NBC's This Is Us" []
  • "This Is Us: Which Bruce Springsteen Song is Each Character?" []
- February 8, 2018 - Joe Amodei reporting

“I’ll take Memoirs for $400, Alex...” @jeopardy

A post shared by Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) on

- February 8, 2018

SiriusXM contest to get subscribers in for a private Broadway performance

Bruce Springsteen will perform Springsteen on Broadway for a selected audience of SiriusXM subscribers at the Walter Kerr Theatre — including faithful E Street Radio listeners, of course — on Wednesday, March 14.

SiriusXM subscribers will have the opportunity to win tickets to this private SiriusXM performance through giveaways on E Street Radio and through an invitation sent by email. Plus, SiriusXM subscribers since January 23, 2018 can enter for the chance to win the grand prize: a trip to New York City including airfare, hotel stay and a pair of tickets to the show. See Official Rules for complete details and enter the sweepstakes at Entries are being accepted through 3:00am ET on March 7, 2018.

E Street Radio will host pre-show and post-show broadcasts, where hosts Dave Marsh and Jim Rotolo will be discussing Springsteen on Broadway and talking to SiriusXM subscribers in attendance. The pre-show will air on Wednesday, March 14 at 6pm ET, and the post-show will begin at 10pm, on channel 20 and on the SiriusXM app. 
- February 7, 2018

Archive series returns to Devils & Dust high point; ten new songs

The Tower Theater. Madison Square Garden. The Agora. Van Andel Arena. Van Andel Arena? Well, yes, actually: Bruce Springsteen's 2005 appearance in Grand Rapids, Michigan, probably didn't show up on many fans' shortlist for release the way its more famous counterparts might. But it's an excellent concert, and today it arrives as the second installment from the solo acoustic tour behind Devils & Dust.

That year, Springsteen mounted his first extended series of shows alone on guitar and piano, setting the stage for Springsteen on Broadway today. The August 3 performance happened in the middle of an extraordinary Midwest run, arguably the apex of the 2005 tour, where Springsteen complemented the music from his new LP with a seemingly endless array from his songbook. Some numbers he played just once, like "Lift Me Up," which opened a show in Columbus, Ohio, four nights earlier. Columbus, of course, appeared in 2015 as the archive series' first — and until today, the only — official 2005 release.

Like that date, Grand Rapids reflects the creative streak that made this summer stretch special. Its 25-song set includes ten selections not performed in Columbus on 7/31. "Sherry Darling" and "Saint in the City" make their first tour appearances, and so does "Tunnel of Love," right out of the gate: "I'm gonna start with something I haven't played before," Springsteen said. Performed on electric piano, this version not only became an instant rarity but also completed a cycle, giving all songs from his 1987 LP at least one play on the 2005 tour. And just listen: slowed down, framed by basic chords and sung with deliberation, the arrangement sounds more like a Colts Neck bedroom than a Shore amusement park. Springsteen never played it that way again. Few performances merit an official release as much as this one does, making 8/3 a must as soon as the lights go out.

But that's just the first number. August 3 features seven songs from Devils & Dust, including "Black Cowboys," a personal and overland journey narrative (and the least-performed track from the record). It shows up fourth, completing an intense segment near the top of the show. "Long Time Comin'" and "Sherry Darling" lighten the mood; Springsteen calls the River party tune a "good summer song" and plays it on electric piano, a concert first (though he and Steve Van Zandt mugged their way through the song on keys in the studio, shown in The Promise).

The set plays out as other dates did that summer: Springsteen accompanies himself with different stringed instruments and keyboards, reprising the Joad tour version of "The Promised Land" before finishing with Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream." And despite good humor — Springsteen speaks often, joking that he'd gone out looking for the rapids, and though he didn't find any, "the whole damn thing was grand!" — a dark thread runs throughout. That's apparent in remarks around "Part Man, Part Monkey" ("we've come a long way, baby… and we're going back") and "Matamoros Banks" ("we're in hard need for a humane immigration policy") and in the last verses of "Tunnel of Love" and "Racing in the Street."

One fan pointed to arrangements that shifted subtly from previous ones, giving "Cynthia" a less cheerful tone than the studio recording. And "Saint in the City" sounded like more like the early demo recording from 1972, when a 22-year-old kid sang for a shot at a recording contract. In reviewing Grand Rapids, noted Springsteen's "focus and intensity: 'The Rising,' though played nightly, stood out as exceptional, as did 'Further On (Up the Road)' with a particularly aggressive intro and drawn-out ending."

It may seem early to return to a tour that Columbus represented so well. But Springsteen truly made the most of the solo acoustic format, and as July 2005 turned to August, tour premieres and lesser-played numbers began to fall like summer rain. In the five shows from Columbus through Milwaukee, 61 different songs appeared, remarkable by any performer's standard. Grand Rapids brings the first official releases of keyboard arrangements for "The River," "Nothing Man," "I Wish I Were Blind," and "Racing in the Street"; the last song played here (and again, not in Columbus) is "Ain't Got You." A virtual box set from that week would make an astounding document. But not yet: fans await official recordings from tours that have yet to emerge (The Rising 2002/'03; The River 1981), ones that are surely in the works.

Order now from Also read Erik Flannigan's latest essay on the blog, "On Any Given Wednesday: Bruce Springsteen Devils & Dust Tour 8/3/05."
- February 2, 2018 - by Jonathan Pont, with additional reporting by Jason Berkley - Devils & Dust tour photographs by Riku Olkkonen


Jo Lopez, an old friend of Clarence Clemons who became his saxophone tech, also wound up becoming the tour photographer for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. You've seen his work at, as the band toured the world for Working on a Dream, Wrecking Ball, and High Hopes, as well as on the covers of London Calling: Live in Hyde Park and Rolling Stone, and in the pages of Backstreets (see #91 for our interview with Jo).

This summer, you can see his work up close in the U.K., as his new exhibition "Photographing Bruce Springsteen" has 12 stops across the country, one-night-only events at British horse racing courses and motor racing circuits.

Organized by Off Beat Lounge, "Photographing Bruce Springsteen" features
stunning on- and off-stage images, including rehearsal and "down-time" shots never seen by the public before, from New Jersey to Cape Town, and Sao Paolo to Barcelona. Lopez will be in attendance himself, talking about his work with Clarence and Bruce.

"I'm delighted to be able to tour this collection of photographs," Jo says. "The time I spent with Bruce and the band is very special to me, and selecting the images for this tour has fired up many wonderful memories. I'm delighted that fans will get to see some of my more close-up work. It means a lot to have originally selected these shots with Bruce at the time, too!"

  • July 10 - Newmarket Racecourse - Suffolk
  • July 12 - Brands Hatch Race Circuit - Longfield
  • July 13 - Brands Hatch Race Circuit - Longfield
  • July 17 - Carlisle Racecourse - Cumbria
  • July 19 - Aintree Racecourse - Liverpool
  • July 20 - Cheltenham Racecourse - Gloucestershire
  • July 24 - Exeter Racecourse - Devon
  • July 26 - Epsom Racecourse - Surrey
  • July 27 - Epsom Racecourse - Surrey
  • July 31 - Oulton Park Race Circuit - Taporley
  • August 1 - Oulton Park Race Circuit - Taporley
  • August 3 - Warwick Racecourse - Warwick

All events will run from 7:30pm to 9pm for standard admission tickets, with VIP ticket holders gaining access at 6:30pm for a Q&A session with Jo and private viewing. Visit for tickets and more information.
- January 31, 2018 - photographs by Jo Lopez


Congratulations to Steven Van Zandt: the New Jersey Hall of Fame is pulling him in. After being announced as one of 51 nominees for the honor in November, the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has been named as one of 21 to be inducted in the Jersey hall's Class of 2017. As reports, Governor Phil Murphy made the announcement today at Trenton's New Jersey State Museum, with some of Steven's fellow inductees including Debbie Harry, Meryl Streep, Al Leiter, and the Four Seasons.

The New Jersey Hall of Fame currently has no permanent physical location, but the induction ceremony will be held in a space Stevie and many of us know well: at the Paramount Theater on the Asbury Park boardwalk, May 6.
- January 30, 2018 - photograph by Geoff Robinson [London, November 4, 2017]

Today's Salisbury Post catches up with local resident George Theiss, Springsteen's bandmate and vocalist in the Castiles 50 years ago: "Springsteen, George and [his wife] Diana have reconnected in the past year. Near the end of 2016, Springsteen called George out of the blue, only to learn his old bandmate was in the hospital, having just been diagnosed with lung cancer.... Through radiation and chemotherapy, the 68-year-old Theiss is 40 pounds lighter but doing well and enjoying his retirement with Diana."

The Post's Mark Wineka talked with Theiss about his pre-Castiles bands (The Five Diamonds, The Sierras), practicing at Marion and Tex Vinyard's house, the Freehold High School principal ordering the Castiles to get haircuts, and more. Read "George and the Boss: Theiss is forever linked to his glory days of playing, writing songs with Springsteen."
- January 28, 2018 - The Castiles (c. 1967) photograph courtesy of Billy Smith [L-R: Vinnie Maniello, Theiss, Curt Fluhr, Springsteen, Paul Popkin]

photograph courtesy of 825 Records

Vocalist Curtis King Jr. is certainly recognizable to Bruce Springsteen fans the world over. He first started working with Bruce in 2006 as a part of the touring Seeger Sessions Band and later became a member of the extended E Street Band for the 2009-2014 tours.

In addition to his work with Springsteen, Curtis has had a long and successful career in the music business. As a backup singer and studio musician for more than three decades, Curtis has worked with a who's-who list of music industry giants: from Duran Duran, David Bowie, and Billy Joel, to Madonna, Joe Cocker, and countless others. Curtis has also appeared over the years on Saturday Night Live and on Late Show with David Letterman, backing up musical guests like Stevie Wonder and Darlene Love.

Curtis was nice enough to sit down recently with Backstreets writer Erik Remec to talk about the release of his very first solo album Changing Face and about his experiences working 20 feet from Springsteen.

You've had a very successful career in the music business for over 30 years, so what made you decide that this was the right time to put out your first solo album?
I started going into the studio around 1996 and tried recording just to see if I could do it. I played around in the studio a bit, but then the tours called. I got a call from Duran Duran to go out on tour, and then Carly Simon asked me if I would go out on tour with her [while I was on tour with Duran Duran]. As crazy as it was, the open dates I had were the dates that she had booked. So she flew me back and forth between Duran Duran and her tour. Along the way I recorded a song here and there; you know, at least I was writing, but it just wasn't coming together.

I had a lot of songs, but it became a whole other journey of finding the songs that I felt fit me. I had written songs that I liked, but they were not necessarily for me — maybe a cool song from a writer's perspective, but now I'm thinking of me as the artist, so I had to start writing from that vantage point. It just took awhile to kind of find my own voice in all of that.

I officially started, believe it or not, just the year before Bruce called for the Seeger Sessions Tour, in 2005. My [Changing Face] co-producer Butch Jones had been bugging me about really locking in on the album, and as soon as I lock in, Bruce Springsteen called.

Verona, Italy, October 5, 2006 - photograph by Mauro Regis

So how did the whole Bruce thing start?
I got a call from Steve Jordan [drummer/producer who has worked with Patti Scialfa among many others] in 2006. He said that Bruce Springsteen had been auditioning male singers for the Seeger Sessions Band and hadn't come up with anybody that he liked, and he thought I would be the perfect guy for him. I'm really grateful to Steve Jordan for helping me out like that.

The band was rehearing at the Convention Center, I think, at the time. So I walk in, and Bruce introduces me to the guys, and then he starts to sing and asks me to harmonize with him. I sang some harmonies, and Bruce says, "Okay, that sounds good, come up on stage." I said, "But I don't know the material!" And Bruce says, "Don't worry — you'll learn it along the way." That was my audition!

Continue reading our Q&A with Curtis King Jr.

- January 26, 2018 - interview by Erik Remec


A couple of online opportunities to score a pair of Springsteen on Broadway tickets have cropped up recently. Over at eBay, there's an auction of two 11th Row Center Orchestra seats for the April 11 performance. All auction proceeds will be donated to the Sister District Project. Bidding closes Monday, and right now the minimum bid is $6,999. Anyone who wants to skip the bidding process altogether may consider buying the pair outright for $9,999. Click here for details.

1/26 Update: The minimum bid has been lowered to $2,499.

If the Sister District Project's politics run too blue for your blood, or if your pockets just ain't that deep, don't forget the ongoing Springsteen on Broadway contest over at As we reported previously, the winner will receive not just a pair of tickets to one of Springsteen on Broadway’s final performances, but also a private meet-and-greet with Bruce, an autographed guitar, and air transportation to and from New York City with four-star lodging in the Big Apple. Entries to this contest are made via donations to the Bob Woodruff Foundation. An online donation as small as $10 generates at least 100 entries into the contest; the more you donate, of course, the better your chance to win. Click here to enter the contest, which ends on February 20 at 11:59 pm PT. The winner will be announced on or around March 1.
- Updated January 26, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting


And for the birthday trifecta, it's Danny Clinch — shown here at a Light of Day jam, because when he puts down his camera it's usually to pick up a harp. Happy birthday Danny!
- January 24, 2018 - photograph by A.M. Saddler


Young Danny Federici's mom was very proud of her boy — wouldn't you be? Thinking of Danny today on his 68th birthday, and reminding you that the Danny Fund continues its good work supporting melanoma research.
- January 23, 2018 - photograph courtesy of Danny Federici

Original E Street Band drummer Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez is 69 today, born January 22, 1949.
- January 22, 2018 - photograph by Rose A. Montana

Max Weinberg returned to Late Night last week to kick off a mighty tellyvision two-fer: Thursday night, above, he was back at 30 Rock to hold down the beat for Glen Hansard, performing "Roll on Slow" on Late Night with Seth Meyers. On Friday, Max's episode of Blue Bloods aired on CBS, with his guest turn as Mario Vangelis. You can watch "Erasing History" now at
- January 22, 2018


Thank goodness it turned out to be somebody with the necessary chops. For one night only (at least for now,) Philly-based professional musician Jim Boggia is bringing Bruce Off Broadway: A Ukelele Tribute To The Boss to the Big Apple on Saturday, January 27 at Arlene's Grocery. Tickets are a whopping $10 each and yes, there is a "Verified Fan" process that works as follows: Got ten bucks? Congrats; you're verified. Now click here to buy your tix.

Go ahead, laugh it up — after all, that's a big part of the idea. At the same time, however, this also promises to be an evening of well-performed Springsteen covers by somebody who actually has learned how to make his ukulele talk. Boggia, who's performed or recorded with many famous musicians in addition to gigging and recording on his own over the past two decades, is a talented pro as well as a Springsteen fan.

For a preview of what to expect, check out Boggia's recently released video clip of him and his uke taking on "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" and a 2016 clip of "Thunder Road" getting ukefied, too (with a bit of "Born to Run" playing as the credits roll.) Act fast before Bruce Off Broadway sells out and you're forced to pay secondary-market prices as high as... FIFTEEN bucks!
- January 18, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting

On January 16, Chris Christie's second term as the 55th governor of New Jersey came to an end. On January 17, the first day of the rest of his life, Christie crossed the river to take in some theater: Springsteen on Broadway, of course. Today, the New York Times set the occasion to music.

Well they kicked the old governor out of Trenton last night
Kicked him out of the mansion, too
But down on Broadway, he was getting ready for a night
Seems like the Boss can carry him through...

Continue reading Nick Corasaniti's "On Stage Was Springsteen, in the Audience, Chris Christie"
- January 18, 2018


January 2018 has been both frenetic and freezing, bringing with it another Light of Day Winterfest without Bruce Springsteen. Unlike other years in which Bruce was absent from the festivities, however, concertgoers purchased tickets for the annual event knowing its longtime champion would not be appearing on the Paramount Theatre stage for Saturday night's main event. But as they've done for the last couple Bruce-less years, fans showed up to support the musicians, the organization and its cause. The more-than-respectable attendance figures for this year's 18th annual Light of Day festivities demonstrate that the event has indisputably transformed Asbury Park into a winter destination for music tourists of all stripes regardless of Bruce's plans.

Light of Day stalwart Joe D'Urso - photograph by A.M. Saddler

This year's optimistic theme was "Eighteen to Life Without Parkinson's," and Light of Day founding artists Joe Grushecky, Joe D'Urso, and Willie Nile once again were the backbone of the operation, supporting not just Saturday night's Birthday Bash for the indomitable Bob Benjamin, but the entire international concert series. Other returning artists included John Easdale (Dramarama), Jeffrey Gaines, Garland Jeffreys, and James Maddock, as well as the standout Remember Jones, whose dynamic, versatile band has gained a nationwide following performing both originals and tribute shows.

Remember Jones - photograph by A.M. Saddler

The evening, which was capped by the return to Light of Day of Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg and his Big Band, followed typical LOD structure of full-band main stage performances interspersed with emcees and acoustic performers like Gaines, whose melodic cover of Sam Cooke's "Twistin' the Night Away" was one of the highlights of the evening.

Rob Dye (left) with Danny Clinch on harp - photograph by A.M. Saddler

Over the years, Light of Day performances have also become fitting moments to pay tribute to those who have passed on. This year was no different, as D'Urso honored recently deceased Smithereens singer/songwriter (and former Light of Day performer) Pat DiNizio with a set-opening "Behind the Wall of Sleep," and Nile opened with a cover of Tom Petty's "Running Down a Dream." Willie Nile was his usual ebullient self, and he had the audience up and dancing for the duration of his set, while Grushecky and band turned in a workmanlike performance that included standards like "Code of Silence" and "Pumping Iron, Sweating Steel" along with a couple of new songs from his upcoming album More Yesterdays Than Tomorrows.

Willie Nile, workin' on a mystery - photograph by A.M. Saddler

But the night belonged to La Bamba and his band; this year's iteration included both current and former Asbury Jukes like guitarist Bobby Bandiera, trumpeters Rich Gazda and Mike Spengler, saxophonist Stan Harrison, and keyboardist Jeff Kazee. In fact, there were so many exceptional ex-Jukes in the extra-large horn section that one hardly missed Ed Manion (who was just up the road in Red Bank with another ex-Juke named Van Zandt) or Rosenberg's onstage foil and partner-in-crime, Mark "The Loveman" Pender.

La Bamba has always used the Big Band format to satisfy his eclectic musical taste, and in typical fashion, Saturday night's set veered from jazz instrumentals to jump blues like "Let the Good Times Roll" to Curtis Mayfield's "Move on Up" to '70s urban soul like Bobby Womack's "Across 110th Street" before switching gears to honor Clarence Clemons with a rousing "Paradise by the C." Always a natty dresser, Rosenberg cut quite the figure in a shiny purple suit and matching fedora as he ran around the stage directing traffic.

Greg Kihn has a rendezvous with La Bamaba's Big Band - photograph by A.M. Saddler

Joining the festivities later in the set were Greg Kihn — who dropped in after his headlining show at nearby McLoone's to treat the audience to a couple power pop tunes including his cover of the Springsteen gem "Rendezvous" — and the irrepressible Gary U.S. Bonds, who was in rare form. Having spent most of the evening backstage waiting to go on (and consuming a glass of wine or two), he proceeded to rile up the crowd with snarky comments before getting down to business with "New Orleans," a rowdy audience sing-along on the Springsteen-penned "This Little Girl," and his classic "Quarter to Three."

Bonds fronts the swinginest band they'd ever had - photograph by A.M. Saddler

But they weren't done yet, as familiar strains of Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher" began to echo through the dusty rafters of the Paramount. (What good is a big band with an extra big horn section if you're not going to play some Jackie Wilson?) Bonds, ably supported as usual by his wife and daughter on backing vocals, enthusiastically traded verses with La Bamba as other performers meandered onstage to help close out the night. Indeed, the end was near, but not before an audience sing-along/band introduction on "Havin' a Party."

Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg - photograph by A.M. Saddler

It was a long evening and a long week. There were plenty of late nights and drafty venues from Convention Hall to Cookman Avenue. And between the weather and a little thing called Springsteen on Broadway, this year's Light of Day Winterfest could easily have been overlooked by music fans. But the strength and durability of the idea, driven by its indomitable founders and staff, by the countless artists who year after year devote their time and efforts, and by the fighting spirit of its inspiration, Bob Benjamin, have turned Light of Day into an essential annual ritual. After 18 years, it's about time.
- January 17, 2018 - Lisa Iannucci reporting - photographs by A.M. Saddler

- January 15, 2018

42 years after Bruce jumped the wall, Zimny & Landau take us inside Graceland

Finally, the world is ready for Thom Zimny's Elvis doc. Of course, you might remember Thom from such films as Wings For Wheels, The Promise, and The Ties That Bind.... As we've reported previously, Elvis Presley: The Searcher is his latest directorial project, an extensive HBO documentary he's been working on with producer Jon Landau, and we now have a premiere date: Saturday, April 14 at 8pm ET/PT.

This three-hour, two-film presentation focuses on Elvis Presley the musical artist, taking the audience on a comprehensive creative journey from his childhood through the final 1976 Jungle Room recording sessions. The films include stunning atmospheric shots taken inside Graceland, Elvis' iconic home, and feature more than 20 new, primary source interviews with session players, producers, engineers, directors and other artists who knew him or who were profoundly influenced by him.The documentary also features never-before-seen photos and footage from private collections worldwide, and includes an original musical score composed by Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready.

Bruce Springsteen is one of the many interview subjects represented in the film, along with late greats Scotty Moore and Tom Petty.

One month prior to the premiere, Zimny and Landau will appear at the SXSW Festival in Austin, for a March 14 panel discussion also featuring executive producer Priscilla Presley. Further details in the HBO press release.
- January 12, 2018


New single and new Springsteen cover from Jersey-based duo
Nalani & Sarina have started off 2018 right with "Young & Inexperienced," the debut single from their forthcoming album. They also kindly recorded another Springsteen cover for us to share with our readers: "We Take Care Of Our Own," in a beautiful arrangement for two guitars and voices.

The twenty-something Flemington-NJ-based Bolton twins, who perform regularly both on their own and backed by a full rock band, recently talked to us about "Young & Inexperienced," "We Take Care Of Our Own," and the connections they make between the two songs.

"'Young & Inexperienced' was based on some of our closest friends, people we've known since at least high school," said Nalani. Finding decent-paying, meaningful work after college has proven to be much more difficult than their friends expected. Of course one of them eventually uttered the oft-heard complaint, "I can't get the job without the experience, but I can't get the experience without the job." For these people, it was "a real punch in the gut," added Sarina. "This is the real world." Yet Nalani & Sarina themselves have known about that world for quite some time, since deciding to pursue full-time careers in music right after high school.

Writing and recording "Young & Inexperienced" was a way for them to give voice to all-too-common concerns about finding work, money and, most important, respect.

As for their recording of "We Take Care Of Our Own," first and foremost it's one of their favorite Springsteen songs. "Being younger fans," they told us, "the first Springsteen album we really got into was Wrecking Ball. The version of 'We Take Care of Our Own' that opens the album, of course, just rocks, but we also were bowled over by his solo acoustic version, like the one he performed at Stand Up For Heroes." They also agree that Springsteen's line "Where's the work that'll set my hands, my soul free?" connects especially well with the issues raised in "Young & Inexperienced," and both songs take phrases that have become clichés and convert them into meaningful pleas for recognition and dignity.

Their FREE mp3 of "We Take Care of Our Own" is on our Downloads page, where you also can check out other recordings that Nalani & Sarina have shared previously. "Young & Inexperienced" is available from online music services including Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon. For more, visit
- January 12, 2018 - report and photographs (from Light of Day Philly 2018) by Shawn Poole

Originally available as a digital download, Nils Lofgren's Blind Date Jam is now on DVD for the first time — and Nils will be autograping copies just for us. Click here to pre-order and reserve yours!

Blind Date Jam is an 80-minute impromptu jam session that we recorded to capture the magic of the moment at Cattle Track gallery in front of a small group of friends.

Featuring Greg Varlotta on guitar, keys, trumpet, trombone and tap dance, Gary Bruzzese on drums, and John Willis on bass. You'll see me presenting ideas on the spot, talking through the chords brießy and launching in to each piece. It's primitive, rough and inspired jamming that I feel and hope as music fans you'll enjoy. Amy designed a beautiful southwest set for us to play on and produced the adventure with me. I hope some of you decide to check it out.

I'll autograph copies of this limited run DVD ordered through Backstreets. If you try it and enjoy it, please spread the word for us as this is a grassroots, homegrown endeavor. Best and enjoy! — Nils

See all Latest Additions at Backstreet Records here.
- January 11, 2018

Thinking of Clarence Clemons on his 76th birthday, we can't help but smile at this series of images shared with us by director/photographer Nick Mead (click to enlarge). As work continued on his Who Do I Think I Am? documentary, Mead put this triptych together from a personal shoot he did with his friend.

"It's another example of Clarence taking me out of my comfort zone — even when he's no longer physically around," Mead tells Backstreets. "Two things I avoid when photographing are color and laughter. Here they are in all their glory. Blessed to share this image on his birthday. Miss him every day."

We hope Clarence Clemons Day brings you color and laughter, too.
- January 11, 2018

Greg Kihn makes his first appearance at Light of Day this Saturday night in Asbury Park, playing at McLoone's Supper Club along with the Ben Arnold Band. Showtime is 7pm; it wouldn't be at all surprising to see him turn up later that evening on the big stage across the boardwalk at the Paramount Theatre for the LOD Main Event (aka Bob Benjamin's Birthday Bash), headlined by La Bamba's Big Band featuring Gary U.S. Bonds.

Kihn covered Bruce Springsteen's "For You" on 1977's Greg Kihn Again, his second album. He also famously released Springsteen's "Rendezvous" way before Bruce ever did, on his 1979 album With the Naked Eye.

Always curious about the backstory, I was excited to have him on the Bruce Brunch on 105.7 The Hawk at the Jersey Shore this past Sunday. He delivered and then some.  Plus, he talks about playing Alcatraz with The Big Man. Tough to beat that. Listen below.

Light of Day hits New York City tonight, with Bonds headlining the Cutting Room, and then takes it to the streets of Asbury Park on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The festivities will include a live broadcast of the Bruce Brunch on Sunday morning from the Anchor's Bend in the Grand Arcade at Convention Hall, including plenty of bleary-eyed special guests.  Come hang with us!

Full details about this year's festival at
- January 10, 2018 - Tom Cunningham reporting

Max Weinberg is flexing his acting muscles again, following his recent recurring role on CBS's Hawaii Five-0 with a guest spot on Blue Bloods. In a new episode on January 19 called "Erasing History," the Mighty One is featured as a character by the name of Mario Vangelis.

"I play a mobbed-up New York real estate developer who is 'liked' for a hit on a guy," Max tells Backstreets. "I had an absolute blast doing several scenes with Donnie Wahlberg and Marisa Ramirez, who plays his partner Baez — both fantastic actors and people!"

Above, Wahlberg and Weinberg rehearse Mario's interrogation; below, Mr. Vangelis speaks with Detective Baez.

Tune in to Blue Bloods on CBS, Friday, Janauary 19, at 10pm Eastern. Also visit Max's new site at for tour dates (including Jukebox, Big Band, Quintet, and speaking engagements), as well as news, videos, and photos.  
- January 10, 2018


Tonight, Bruce Springsteen returns to the stage for the first time in 2018, to resume the regular Tuesday-to-Saturday schedule of Springsteen on Broadway after a holiday break. Last time Bruce performed the show, shortly before New Year's, Patti Scialfa had been out with the flu for five shows running (see 2017 setlists here). We hope she's feeling tip-top and back on the boards again tonight.

Springsteen on Broadway is currently booked to run through June 30 at the Walter Kerr Theater. In addition to the ongoing Lucky Seat lottery for each performance, the Bob Woodruff Foundation offers another chance at seeing the show: their donate-to-win contest includes not only tickets for one of the show's final performances, but also a meet-and-greet with Springsteen, an autographed guitar, travel and lodging.

Visit to donate and enter, with all proceeds benefitting the Bob Woodruff Foundation and their efforts to stand up for heroes.
- January 9, 2018


Benefit show with "new" band is a 35-song stunner
As hard as it is to believe, we're more than 25 years past the time when Bruce Springsteen released dual solo records, Human Touch and Lucky Town, and undertook a year-long tour to support them — his first without the E Street Band. Today's archive series installment marks the first complete show from that era to emerge: Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, June 24, 1993, a benefit billed as "A Concert to Fight Hunger." It touches all the bases that made the music from that era compelling and features a guest segment that shook the building. And the recording restores a moment that many know about but few actually got to hear.

This performance came at the end of a time where listeners found themselves divided over Springsteen's bold new step. No band can match the power of the E Street Band, which for my money is the best there ever was. In 1992 and '93, many fans wouldn't accept anyone on stage with Springsteen except the E Streeters. Sprung from his comfort zone, however, he basked in the freshness his new backing musicians brought. And he worked his ass off, playing more lead guitar than on E Street tours in the '80s and huge performances throughout. Full disclosure: I loved it. I saw 21 shows in 1992 and '93 and had a blast. To this day, two remain among my personal favorites: the Count Basie rehearsal show on March 23, 1993 and the one released today.

A year earlier, Bruce had played 11 nights in the same building, the first ones in the U.S. with his new band. Then, setlists combined material from the new albums and earlier classics. Some fans who otherwise were accepting of the new band thought the shows didn't depart enough from the E Street era. Among them was Los Angeles Times rock critic Robert Hilburn, who laid out his thoughts in a provocative feature during the New Jersey stand. When the tour resumed in Los Angeles (perhaps not coincidentally the writer's home base) in the autumn, sets included more '92 material and less from before, meeting Hilburn's challenge. He wrote again, stating, "I never thought I'd again see a Springsteen performance as stirring as the one he put on Thursday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena." Yet more change came when the tour headed back to Europe in the spring of 1993.

That model carried the June 24 performance: ten songs from the new records, the new opening acoustic set, more prominent use of the backing singers, and of course the surprise appearances by Clarence Clemons and fellow E Street Band members who joined for a long encore. There was no debate about direction or which songs belonged: it was a night of celebration. Judging from the resounding crowd response, all fans were on board 100 percent and loved every minute. It was the best performance of the 1992-'93 tour.

The sole New Jersey date was something of a homecoming one-off (the tour would end two nights later at Madison Square Garden, a concert to benefit the Kristen Ann Carr Fund), and fans anticipated something big would happen. The afternoon of the 24th, Clarence Clemons went on WFAN radio with Mike and the Mad Dog and revealed that he would be in the building. That fueled the fire even more: as the lights went down, there was a buzz in the air.

In keeping with the evening's theme, Springsteen opened with a beautiful take on Woody Guthrie's "I Ain't Got No Home," with Bruce's friend Joe Ely joining for a verse. Three solo acoustic numbers followed, including fan-favorite "This Hard Land" — the outtake wouldn't be officially released until 1995, and its debut at the Count Basie rehearsal show had stunned fans. Otherwise, the first set stuck to the 1992-'93 standards, starting with fiery takes of "Better Days" and "Lucky Town." It concluded with its customary trifecta: "Leap of Faith," "Man's Job," and "Roll of the Dice." One notable addition: a gorgeous take on Emmylou Harris' "Satan's Jewel Crown." This arrangement shone, just the kind we'd waited to hear with this new cast of players.

At intermission, rumors of guest appearances by much of the E Street Band circulated. Buzz gave way to shock when the second set opened with Bruce and Roy Bittan on "Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?" (Its surprise performance at the Count Basie was the first since December 31, 1975.) "Because the Night" followed and brought the energy higher. Patti Scialfa joined for "Brilliant Disguise" and "Human Touch." Later, a spine-tingling thematic sequence began with "Who'll Stop the Rain" and tour staple "Souls of The Departed."

Usually, "Souls" led into "The Star Spangled Banner"/"Born in the U.S.A.," but on this night, Bruce dropped in a note-perfect version of "Living Proof," with a powerful vocal that was stunning. He was a new father, and the song's theme clearly translated — and from a unique place, too: except for this night, the song always appeared in the first set. Normally "Souls"/"Born in the U.S.A." made for a dark pairing but here, he brought light to the sequence with one of the era's pivotal songs. On "Born in the U.S.A.," listen for an altered vocal delivery, distinct from other performances on the tour. The set closed with the standard "Light of Day," capping the best set of music I saw the 1992-'93 band play.

Joe Ely returned to open the encore with a blistering version of his own "Settle For Love." The opening line "You say you want drama, I'll give you drama" would prove prophetic: there was much drama to come. "Glory Days" followed with special guest Little Steven, the first confirmation that the buzz might be true. "Thunder Road" was next, which Bruce and Roy played, as they had every night of the tour. Then the cavalcade of guests continued: Bruce introduced Southside Johnny with some gentle ribbing about the South's move to Connecticut. Standing together at center stage, Bruce, Steve, and Southside launched into "It's Been a Long Time," singing about decades of friendship together. At its conclusion, Southside thanked Bruce for all the help over the years.

Then Bruce turned back to the mic and counted the band into "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out." The crowd let out a roar of recognition. At the back of the stage, the Miami Horns appeared. A quarter century on, I remember this moment like it was yesterday. I was in the fourteenth row, and the entire crowd on the floor was standing on their chairs. As the horns burst in, the crowd's energy rose even higher, like everyone had just received a shot of adrenalin. And then Bruce arrived at the middle of the song and sang, "Well, the change was made uptown…" Suddenly, the building was shaking in a way you wouldn't think was possible, with the most thunderous ovation I've ever heard. If I close my eyes, I can still hear that roar. The Big Man had joined the band.

The song came to a close. The ovation at that volume continued for a full minute. Bruce and Clarence hugged. Bruce remarked, "Damn, can't have the Big Man here without doing this one. It's the Jersey set here. Only for the Garden State!" and launched into "Born to Run." The crowd's frenzy continued.

Now, as exciting as "Tenth Avenue" had been, there was one minor problem: Clarence's sax was pretty much inaudible. Bruce was aware of this, so as the "Born to Run" sax solo approached, he stuck his mic into Clarence's sax. This time, the classic solo, perhaps the signature E Street Band moment, boomed throughout the arena. In a way, it was fitting. Fortunately, today's release includes the "Tenth Avenue" solo, and whatever problem kept the sax from being heard in the monitors and PA is gone. Now, all these years later, this important moment in Bruce's performing history is fully audible and accounted for.

The guests left the stage. A beautiful version of "My Beautiful Reward," the closing track from Lucky Town, gave fans a chance to catch their breath. Joe Ely came back out with Patti and Soozie Tyrell for a foot-stomping "Blowin' Down This Road." The Jersey theme continued with a rollicking "Having a Party" with Southside, Steve, and the horns, making an arena in East Rutherford feel like a hot summer night on the Shore. It was now after midnight but the show wasn't over yet: another E Streeter, Mighty Max Weinberg, took the stage to drum on "Jersey Girl." As the final notes faded, Bruce thanked everyone for coming out and slid right into Curtis Mayfield's and The Impressions' "It's All Right." Incredibly, it was the 35th song of the night. The song's refrain "it's all right to have a good time" was the perfect note to send people out on, ending a night that lucky fans will always remember.

Aside from a live version of "Leap of Faith" (recorded on August 6, 1992, at Brendan Byrne), the only official material released from this tour was XXPlugged, recorded at Warner Hollywood Studios on September 22, 1992. Today's addition replaces an audience recording that fans traded (and Crystal Cat released as Meadowlands Night). Different versions of the recording shared a glaring issue: "Born to Run" cut off just before the final verse. Now we have a complete account, the first from the 1992-'93 tour, and hope the series finds a spot for the March 23 rehearsal show at the Count Basie in the future!
- January 5, 2018 - Hal Schwartz reporting

Editor's Note: As we finished today's review, news broke that Brendan Byrne, who served two terms as New Jersey governor, passed away last night at age 93. Springsteen played the first concert in the arena named for Byrne in 1981; this release documents the 28th and final time he played there before the name of the venue was changed. Backstreets offers its sympathies to Governor Byrne's family and friends.

If you're snowed in like we are, this could be the perfect time to settle in with The Story of the Big Man, a fan-made documentary that runs more than five hours long. Created by Dennis P. Laverty, who has also posted lengthy docs to Vimeo on Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and Elvis Presley's Influence on Bruce Springsteen, his new labor of love similarly culls and compiles extant footage to tell the story of Clarence Clemons. No need to fall down a YouTube rabbit hole when Laverty does it for you, sequencing an abundance of obscure footage to recount Clarence's life and career.

Thanks to Jay Lustig for pointing us to the film — read more about it at his site,
- January 4, 2018

Courtesy of NHL Studios, Max and Jay Weinberg at Monday's Winter Classic, where Max Weinberg's Jukebox served as house band.
- January 4, 2018

Bruce Springsteen may not have released an album or a single in 2017, but he still made Barack Obama's list of his favorite music of the year. On Facebook, Obama shared "the books and music that I enjoyed most... From songs that got me moving to stories that inspired me," and he included a live performance from Bruce as a bonus selection: "'Born in the U.S.A.' by Bruce Springsteen (not out yet, but the blues version in his Broadway show is the best!)"

Though Springsteen on Broadway is dark this week for a little New Years vacation, Springsteen will get back to playing that "Born in the U.S.A." blues and all the rest of it, Tuesday through Saturday nights, beginning January 9.
- January 2, 2018

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'Springsteen on Broadway': How's the Boss Holding Up 5 Months In? [Variety]
Reese Witherspoon loved Springsteen on Broadway, y'all []
Talk About a Dream and more on Pitchfork's list of "8 Best Bruce Springsteen Books"
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Oprah "moved to the marrow of my being" by Springsteen on Broadway []
Photographer Bryan Derballa's 11 Minutes with Bruce Springsteen

Updated 3/21/18

We also post all known concert dates for some of our favorite Jersey Shore (and Shore-adopted) musicians:

Willie Nile
Bobby Bandiera
Southside Johnny
John Eddie
Joe D'Urso... and more.

For more information on upcoming shows such as these, check out our Concert Calendar.


Many from the Springsteen community banded together to preserve this Asbury Park landmark.... and Tillie has now been saved!

Check our Save Tillie page for the latest developments.


Organized by Backstreets in 2001, this storehouse of Boss books and magazines is the largest such collection outside of Bruce's mother's basement. Thanks to the generosity of fans around the world, total holdings are now well over 15,000. But the collection is by no means complete.

Check out the Springsteen Special Collection page for more info.

With the Ticketmaster / Live Nation merger approved, we encourage fans to get involved to help protect ticket-buyers.

Check our Fight the Monopoly page for the latest developments

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