The Boss is back: Bruce Springsteen launches 2024 tour with a joyous Phoenix concert

bruce springsteen tour 2024

When Rolling Stone invited readers to vote for the greatest live acts of all time in 2011, it’s doubtful the results came as a huge surprise to anyone.

Not only did Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band win the popular vote, they did it without “a close second anywhere in sight."

And that’s because their concerts were — and are , as they reminded us as Springsteen relaunched his postponed world tour on Tuesday, March 19, at Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix — the stuff of legends.

Springsteen and The E Street Band stretch the boundaries of what it means to prove it all night while chasing moments of transcendence that can range from deeply moving to profoundly silly.

Bruce Springsteen setlist 2024: Every song he sang at Phoenix tour relaunch

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Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band relaunched their tour in Phoenix

The last time Springsteen brought the E Street Band to Phoenix , on a tour in 2016 re-exploring “The River,” they turned in a 3½-hour concert whose truly awe-inspiring six-song encore ended in a spirited revival of the Isley Brothers’ “Shout.”

The fans who flocked to Footprint Center on Tuesday night were on a pilgrimage to see the relaunch of the E Street Band’s first tour since then — a tour cut short in 2023 as Springsteen was treated for peptic ulcer disease, a potentially serious gastrointestinal condition.

Springsteen turned 74 in late September 2023. Four days later, he broke the news that he’d been forced to postpone all remaining concerts booked for 2023 “out of an abundance of caution.”

Naturally, I went into the Springsteen concert on Tuesday night assuming I might feel the need to make allowances for age and health and everything those words imply, especially when used that close together.

But the Springsteen who rocked that arena in Phoenix on Tuesday didn’t need my well-intentioned qualifiers.

He 'just kind of shot through the roof': How Phoenix radio made Bruce Springsteen the Boss

Springsteen brought his A-game to the relaunch of his world tour

The man brought his A-game at the helm of an 18-member E Street Band (or 17 if you’re not counting Springsteen as a member of that band, which seems a bit ridiculous) in a breathless journey through their glory days with an energy that only seemed to flag in the course of their nearly three-hour performance when the song itself demanded it.

He’s certainly scaled back on the physicality of his performance style.

There were no bent-knee slides across the stage. No leaping to rival a young Pete Townshend. But the sense of showmanship remains, from the playful rapport of Springsteen's onstage antics with the members of the E Street Band to the charming self-awareness of his dance moves to that moment toward the end where he tore his shirt open for no apparent reason other than to entertain.

His voice has aged a bit since the first time he followed that iconic shout of “1-2-3-4” with “the highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last-chance power drive.” But he’s too good a singer to let that compromise the essence of his vocals, settling into a more conversational delivery on “Born to Run” that made it feel like you were hearing those same lyrics for the first time after knowing them for nearly 50 years while also sidestepping the high notes.

Springsteen and the E Street Band are on a search-and-rescue mission

My favorite Springsteen memory is the E Street Band reunion show I saw in 1999 at the Meadowlands in Jersey, where the Boss announced that they were on a “search-and-rescue mission” to regenerate, rejuvenate and otherwise rekindle the spark that is “the majesty, the mystery and the ministry of rock ‘n’ roll.”

Of course they were.

And 25 years later? Springsteen seemed as committed as ever to that search-and-rescue mission, from the time he and his bandmates made their entrance one-by-one to set the tone with “Lonesome Day,” one of three songs they played from “The Rising,” to the raucous rendition of “Twist and Shout” that brought the encore to a joyous climax, having been requested by an 18-year-old fan whose sign said this was his first Springsteen concert.

That kid obviously picked a good night to be introduced to what it means to witness Springsteen in his element, leading the E Street Band in a 29-song overview of his career.

Highlights ranged from 'Born to Run' to 'Dancing in the Dark'

The setlist made its way through countless classics, reaching back to his first album, “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.,” for a loose-limbed “Spirit in the Night,” and touching on a number of the most beloved songs on “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” as well as “No Surrender,” “Dancing in the Dark” and other crowd-pleasing highlights of “Born in the U.S.A.,” a 17-times-platinum mainstream-saturating exercise in world domination that remains his most successful album.

They also dusted off a handful of the soul and R&B songs Springsteen covered on his latest album, 2022’s “Only the Strong Survive,” and three songs from his latest album of original material, “Letter To You,” including the solo acoustic version of “I’ll See You In My Dreams” that brought the encore to a haunted finish.

But what made that concert special went beyond what songs they played.

The E Street Band remain a force of nature, despite the loss of Clarence Clemons — “the Big Man” as his joining of the band is celebrated even now in “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” — and Danny Federici, who played organ, glockenspiel and accordion from the time they put the band together in Belmar, New Jersey, until his death in 2008.

Springsteen honored their memory during “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," during which their images were flashed across the screens above the stage.

The new, expanded E Street Band was brilliant

The current edition of the E Street Band is a three-guitar army with Springsteen, the Valley's own Nils Lofgren and Steven Van Zandt taking turns in the spotlight, two great keyboard players (Roy Bittan and touring member Charles Giordano), violinist Soozie Tyrell, the stellar rhythm section of drummer Max Weinberg and bassist Garry Tallent, and 44-year-old Jake Clemons still doing an excellent job of honoring his uncle, Clarence Clemons, who died in 2011, with the swagger (and physical stature) one would need to even try to fill those shoes.

There’s a flashiness to Lofgren’s soloing that’s undeniable while Springsteen squeezes out the sparks in solos that rely more on the power of each individual note and how it’s phrased, as evidenced on “Prove It All Night,” in particular, while indulging in some low-end twang Duane Eddy would’ve envied on a fantastic “Letter to You.”

The E Street Band’s ranks are further fleshed out in their current incarnation by four backup singers, a four-man horn squad and percussionist Anthony Almonte.

It was quite the crowded stage.

Springsteen kept the banter to a minimum in Phoenix

Springsteen's legend is based in part on his conversational approach to showmanship, as evidenced by the classic monologues captured on “Live/1975–85.” 

But he kept the chit-chat to a minimum for much of Tuesday’s concert.

Taking the stage in a red-and-black flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled extra high, he greeted the fans with a quick “Good evening, Arizona. 1-2-3-4” and barely said another word until he’d made it through “The Promised Land,” the 10th song of the night.

Springsteen eulogized his teenage bandmate George Theiss

His first big monologue was 14 songs deep, after “Mary’s Place,” when he introduced the poignant “Last Man Standing” with the story of George Theiss, a bandmate he met at 15.

“It was 1965,” he began.

“I was 15 years old and I had been playing guitar for about six months when one summer afternoon, I heard a knock on my door and it was George Theiss, a school friend of mine, and he was looking for a guitar player to audition for his band.”

Springsteen passed the audition in a “shotgun shack” and “embarked on the greatest adventure of my life,” he said. “I played in my first real rock ‘n’ roll band and it lasted for three years. As kids. Three years! That’s a lifetime for teenagers.”

Fast forward 50 years and a much older Springsteen is visiting Theiss on his deathbed as his former bandmate is dying of cancer.

“He only had a few days to live,” Springsteen said. “And I realized that his passing would leave me as the last living member of that first band, the Castiles.”

Springsteen spoke of 'death's final and lasting gift to us'

Death brings a certain clarity, Springsteen said. “Death’s final and lasting gift to us, the living, is you get an expanded vision of the life you can live yourself. George’s death made me realize, again, just how important it is to try and live every moment you’re here.”

And with that, the stage was set for “Last Man Standing,” a haunted highlight of his latest album of original material, “Letter to You.”

The tribute to his fallen bandmate carried over into “Backstreets,” one of several emotional highlights that ventured into existential territory.

He didn’t mention the loss of his mother, Adele Ann Springsteen, who died in January at 98. But there’s no doubt that she was on his mind.

Even "Night Shift," the Commodores cover from "Only the Strong Survive," felt like it tied into the existential theme.

After bringing the show to a crowd-pleasing climax in an encore packed with some of Springsteen’s most enduring calling cards, from “Born to Run” to “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” “Glory Days,” an anthemic “Dancing in the Dark” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” Springsteen sent the other members of the E Street Band away after a joyous “Twist and Shout” to end the night with a solo acoustic rendition of “I’ll See You in My Dreams.”

"I'll see you in my dreams," he sang. "We'll meet and live and laugh again. I'll see you in my dreams, yeah, around the river bend. For death is not the end and I'll see you in my dreams."

Springsteen apologized for postponing his Phoenix concert

But first, he said he was sorry he had to reschedule his world tour.

“First, I want to apologize if there was any discomfort because we had to move the show last time,” he said. “I had a mother (expletive) of a bellyache. I hope we didn’t inconvenience you too much.”

Then after making a plea on behalf of St. Mary’s Food Bank , he brought the concert to an existential close with “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” a suitably haunted reflection on the friends he lost along the way.

It was a fitting close to a concert steeped in existential musings by a legend who invited us to take that long walk on his first release with “Growin’ Up.”

More than 50 years later, Springsteen is still growin’ up, inviting us to come along. It’s a beautiful thing if you’re willing to let your guard down and experience the ride.  

Bruce Springsteen setlist 2024: Every song he played in Phoenix

Here’s every song Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played at Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

  • “Lonesome Day”
  • “No Surrender”
  • “Two Hearts” (with snippet of “It Takes Two” by Marvin Gaye/Kim Weston)
  • “Darlington County”
  • “Prove it All Night”
  • “Darkness on the Edge of Town”
  • “Letter to You”
  • “The Promised Land”
  • “Spirit in the Night”
  • “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” (Ben E. King cover)
  • “Night Shift” (Commodores cover)
  • “Mary’s Place”
  • “Last Man Standing”
  • “Backstreets”
  • “Because the Night”
  • “She’s the One”
  • “Wrecking Ball”
  • “The Rising”
  • “Thunder Road”
  • “Born to Run”
  • “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”
  • “Glory Days”
  • “Dancing in the Dark”
  • “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”
  • “Twist and Shout” (The Top Notes/Isley Brothers/Beatles cover by sign request)
  • “I’ll See You in My Dreams”

Reach the reporter at  [email protected]  or 602-444-4495. Follow him on X  @ EdMasley .

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Bruce Springsteen, born September 23, 1949, is an American rock singer and songwriter. Hailing proudly from the Jersey Shore, he is known for his literate and poetic lyrics, working-class sentiments, and marathon live shows.

Springsteen is lauded as one of the best songwriters of all time. His lyrics deal with working-class struggles, values, and desires. The verses in Springsteen's songs often tell stories about people who have fallen on hard times. Known for his political and social activism, his song lyrics repeatedly address those issues within the context of the everyday struggles of the common man.

Springsteen is considered an originator of heartland rock, a subgenre of rock music associated with the working class in the Rust Belt and Midwestern US. Other prominent heartland rock musicians include Tom Petty and Bob Segar.

Springsteen grew up in Freehold, New Jersey, with his parents and two younger sisters, Virginia and Pamela. His father held numerous working-class jobs during his lifetime and struggled with mental health issues that became more severe as he aged. Springsteen was a loner throughout his childhood and adolescence, preferring to play his guitar over socializing with his classmates and peers. His family eventually moved to California when Springsteen was 19 years old, but he chose to remain in New Jersey.

After watching an Elvis Presley performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, a 13-year-old Springsteen felt inspired to take up music, and his mother bought him his first guitar. Springsteen began to play publicly at trailer parks and local venues like Elks Lodges. In his early 20s he performed in a string of bands, including the Beatles-influenced Castiles, the hard rock bands Earth and Cream, and the big band Dr. Zoom & the Sonic Boom. He later created the Bruce Springsteen Band, which was the first group to feature legendary saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

Springsteen signed to Columbia Records in 1972 and released two albums in 1973: Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. The albums were both recorded with his backing band, featuring Danny Federici, Vini Lopez, David Sancious, Garry Tallent, and Clemon. The two albums were met with critical acclaim, but neither was a financial success. Lopez and Sancious soon departed, making way for drummer Max Weinberg and pianist Roy Bittan. The revised line-up, now dubbed The E Street Band, made its debut on Springsteen’s breakthrough album Born to Run in 1975.

Following years of financial and contractual legal disputes with producers, Springsteen didn’t release any material until 1978 with the album Darkness of the Edge of Town. Despite a fresh wave of heartland rock musicians and a new trend toward the punk/new wave scene, the album performed well in the charts and earned good reviews.

Springsteen’s career took off in the 80s. He released the two-LP The River in 1980, featuring the hits “Hungry Heart” and “Fade Away,” the experimental Nebraska in 1982, and the hugely-popular and internationally-acclaimed Born in the U.S.A. in 1984. All performed well, and Born in the U.S.A. sold over 15 million copies and earned the songwriter his first of 20 Grammy Awards.

At the same time, Springsteen and the band staged a long series of impressive and energetic live shows. Springsteen released a five-LP CD box set titled Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Live/1975-85, which became certified platinum 13 times.

With a swelling fan base, consistent critical acclaim, and considerable commercial success, it seemed Springsteen could do no wrong. The singer continued this trend with the release of Tunnel of Love in 1987, then simultaneously released Human Touch and Lucky Town in 1992. The latter two were recorded with a new back up after Springsteen dissolved the E Street Band in 1989.

Following the release of a Greatest Hits album in early 1995 and another low-key folk album in the same vein as Nebraska titled The Ghost of Tom Joad, Springsteen released a whopping four-CD box set of unreleased material that highlighted the songwriter’s prolific talents. The E Street Band returned for a performance upon Springsteen’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which was followed by a world tour and the album Live in New York City.

Springsteen subsequently released the albums The Rising in 2001, a reflection on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the folk-styled Devils & Dust in 2005, the rock-inspired Magic in 2007 Working on a Dream in 2009; a box-set rerelease of Darkness on the Edge of Town in 2010, Wrecking Ball in 2012, and High Hopes in 2014.

Springsteen released a compilation album titled Chapter and Verse in September 2016 that contained previously-unheard material dating back to the mid-1960s. Following the album's release, Springsteen embarked on The River 2016 Tour. The tour became the highest-grossing global tour of 2016, pulling in nearly US $3 million worldwide. Springsteen penned an autobiography in 2016 as well. The book, titled Born to Run, climbed to the top of the New York Times Best Sellers List.

In late 2018, a live album Springsteen on Broadway was released. The album reached number 11 on the US Billboard chart.

In 2020, Springsteen released the singles "Letter to You" and "Ghosts," leading up to the release of his 20th studio album, Letter to You.

On December 14, 2021, Springsteen gave a surprise performance at the John Henry's Friends benefit concert for autistic children.

Following the release of the singles "Turn Back the Hands of Time," "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)," "Don't Play That Song," and "Nightshift," Springsteen's most recent studio album was announced in September 2022 and was released that November. Only the Strong Survive featured multiple covers of classic soul songs from the ’60s and ’70s.

After 40 years of cultivating a reputation as a relentless, high-energy performer, Springsteen is still touring regularly. He's headlined nearly 20 tours over the course of his musical career, and is known for his marathon performances. One of his shows at Citizens Bank Park lasted an astonishing 4 hours and 4 minutes.

The singer and musician has maintained remarkable popularity over his prolific career, selling over 64 million albums in the US, 120 million albums worldwide. He has earned 20 Grammy awards, two Golden Globes, and is an inducted member of both the Rock & Roll and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. President Barack Obama awarded Springsteen the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

In May 2022, Springsteen announced a 2023 international tour with the E Street Band, the first since 2017. The tour will continue across the US through 2023 before heading to Europe. To keep up with Bruce Springsteen tour dates and venues, check out his official website.

Live reviews

True to his ‘everyman’ image, Springsteen is obviously the master of ceremonies no matter who is on stage with him, but he manages to do so without grandstanding. Steven Van Zandt (who will always be Silvio Dante to me) and Nils Lofgren were always at the mic with him. Jake Clemons was allowed to shine on sax in tribute to his late uncle as well. Max Weinberg was always projecting from the big screens that hung above, all while holding things down from the back of the stage. Even when the crowd was yelling “Bruuuuuuce” as he came down the platform into the audience for some crowd surfing during “Hungry Heart”, there was no doubt that the whole thing was a group effort – a true family affair. The audience was the tenth member of the E Street Band as well. When Springsteen’s fingers weren’t on his guitar or snapping and waving around, he used them to slap and shake every outreached hand available to him. “Denver, I got a crush on you!” “I’ve got one question, where are the marijuana gummy bears!” “Let me hear all you mountain girls out there!” I’m sure every audience receives the same treatment, but when he’s in your city, it truly is the only city that matters.

At one point the crowd was tricked into supporting young love; the kind “without consequence or responsibility”. “It doesn’t exist! What are you applauding for?!” he joked, before reassuring the young couples in the crowd with “It’s not the real thing, but it’s a good place to start.” It was just another one of those simple, but profound truths Springsteen is famous for. The production value of the show was simple as well. The open stage allowed the audience to see the band from every angle. The trio of screens were situated up high and were there to augment the view for those in the 300 sections. No pyrotechnics or technological enhancements are need at a Bruce Springsteen show; it really is all about the music. That’s why I couldn’t help but wish the setting had been some place like Red Rocks instead of Pepsi Center. There is something just so real and human and natural about what he does, so it’s kind of sad that it had to take place in a corporate arena. But no matter the venue, we all continued the journey through the second half of The River without pause.

- See more at: http://ilistensoyoudonthaveto.com/2016/04/01/bruce-springsteen-pepsi-center-03-31-16/#sthash.sGvrl3UH.dpuf

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kmartini’s profile image

Bruce never disappoints! The usual 31/2 show was 4 hours last night. An apparently Christmas in jersey this year is in August because Santa Claus is coming to town.

Tenth avenue freeze out had Bruce walk/run to ( for the 2nd time in the night) to a platform in the middle of the floor, while the giant screens had a great tribute to band members who left us too soon.

4 lucky fans had a dream come true when Bruce allowed them on stage to sing/dance. The funniest being a sign that said 'who wants to dance with this old bald guy' to which Bruce said, 'I do!' And he danced with him to dancing in the dark... Class act in my opinion.

Now I know he can't play everything, however, no thunder road, glory days or trapped left this fan a little disappointed.

Bruce closed out the show with 'shout' as only Bruce does with a great firework display.

My advice? If you ever have a chance to go to a Bruce show--GO! His shows and set list are different every time and it's one of the best shows you will ever see!! Ive never actually counted but last night was probably somewhere between my 30-40th show and I may just go back next Tuesday. Hope to see you all there!

Critter21696’s profile image

You can say "there's nothing like seeing this band in concert" about almost any band if you like them enough, but Bruce Springsteen is on a completely different level.

This isn't just a musician. This is The Boss. This is Bruce Springsteen. A Springsteen concert is a unique experience every time. He's not afraid to go deep into his repertoire of songs, but he's also not scared to bust out the big hits when he feels like it. Whether it's 'Thundercrack' or 'I'm on Fire', he tears through every song like a man with true purpose.

It's clear, from the very beginning until the end, that this is a true musician, a true artist. Especially for someone who has been consistently performing for decade after decade, it's a rare and beautiful thing to see someone who still cares about what they do, even when it's a song that he has been performing for more than three decades. There's a reason why he will be remembered for a long, long time.

If you get a chance to see him the way I have, the way that millions have, please do not pass the chance up. If you never see Bruce perform live, you are doing yourself a great disservice.

Very very disappointing, we feel a bit cheated.

Stadium (standing) full of way too drunk people who constantly banged into you and barged in front of you spilling and throwing beer as they went. Folk standing have a full on conversation about Eastenders (honestly!) and shouting and bawling over the top of the "music". Impossible to see The Boss on the stage and struggled to see the big screens (due to said drunks pushing in and standing right in front of you and then point blank refusing to move, some getting stroppy when politely asked to move aside, one woman had her water completely knocked out of her hand beside us by a drunk girl who when reprimanded let loose a tirade of abuse to poor woman - who incidentally had got a shock as the girl came flying from nowhere)

The sound was terrible! The sound seemed to bounce off the stands and caused a really bad echo, which was actually painful to listen to! I struggled to make out which song he was singing quite a few times. Never ever going to Hampden again for a gig, been twice and both were bad. Waste of our hard earned money :( Only plus was the sun shone!

donna-stuart’s profile image

Every concert I have been to to see Bruce has been amazing - Wembley, Milton Keynes, 2 nights running at the Arsenal Stadium (the highlight!), Cardiff, Hyde Park and Coventry. I have been a fan of his since 1980 when I was studying in Freiburg, Germany and met a group of American students doing a Junior Year Abroad - one in particular was a fan and played Bruce to me - I was hooked.

My first concert was at Wembley, "Born in the USA", but the lyrics of earlier albums were the ones that had already seized my heart, especially 4th July, Asbury Park (Sandy). I have experienced so many emotions and especially great happiness listening to his music. It has been impossible to find anyone who can match him live, although I have been to many concerts by other great artists. There is no-one so incredible live as THE BOSS!

chris-wells-25’s profile image

Magnificent! There are very few artists who can play non stop for over three hours and leave you wishing it hadn't finished. I'd go again tomorrow.

He played lots of songs I know, most of his greats, but could have done another hour with some top songs he left out (Born in the USA, I'm on fire, Brilliant Disguise, etc). His voice is as good as it ever was (unlike Rod, Elton, Macca and others of similar age)

Audience interaction was fantastic. One guy came in a Santa suit. Bruce spotted him, got him up on stage and changed the set to do Santa Claus is coming to town, which just rocked the stadium. Lots of other examples throughout the night. A great gig from a great showman, true legend. Seen him twice, about 30 years apart, much better now than he was then.

CL8N’s profile image

34 song setlist.

3 hours 24 minutes on stage without a break.

Crowd surfing at 66 years of age.

20,000 fans on their feet.

What more is there to say?

The man is THE BOSS !!!

Meet Me in the City

The Ties That Bind

Sherry Darling

Jackson Cage

Independence Day

Hungry Heart

Out in the Street

Crush On You

You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)

I Wanna Marry You

Point Blank

Cadillac Ranch

I'm a Rocker

The Price You Pay

Drive All Night

Wreck on the Highway

Darlington County

Because the Night

She's the One

Backstreets

Thunder Road

Born to Run

Dancing in the Dark

Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Tenth Avenue Freeze-out

go22many’s profile image

Thank you for an awesome consert experience! Intense and very moving. It was a amazing evening. I had a great time! Don't remember the weather only the music! Please come back soon!

Only the Boss cold make the rain stop, and IT did at 21:30 pm. IT was altså of great songs an 3 hours and 10 min. Is impressiv. What A energy The Boss and the ESB has is amazing. It's A lifetime experience you wouldn't miss ever! Everything song is A highlights and it's hard to single out just noe or to. I was jumping up an down, with my hands in the air for 3 hours and 10 min. I had the best time ever...!

marie-korsmo’s profile image

OMG——HAVE LOVED BRUCE FOREVER!!! The River was my 1 st concert; I think The Rising was next, Devils and Dust, his acoustic tour etc etc. I think It’s been about 6 or 7. NEVER ENOUGH!!! I live in Wisconsin, read that one of our senators—Jon Erpenbach took a second job to follow Bruce’s concerts around. Don’t I wish!! Remember the old master card ads?? Here’s my version concerning Bruce: Tickets—75 dollars, Parking—20 dollars, Feeling like a teenager again for 3 hours: PRICELESS!!!

claramama’s profile image

I first saw Bruce in 1976 at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. Next, was at the Hanger in Hazlet, NJ where he just popped in and ended up jamming with Gary US Bonds. Next, saw him in San Diego at Jack Murphy Stadium. Then, he followed me (lol) to Italy where I saw him in Torino. Then he followed me to Iowa (lol) where my husband & I took our daughter to see him in Des Moines. Her first concert. I am waiting to see him again soon, where I will hold a sign saying, I AM A JERSEY GIRL!

flahesse’s profile image

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Bruce Springsteen at Olympiastadion, Helsinki, Finland

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Bruce Springsteen at Dyrskuepladsen, Odense, Denmark

  • Lonesome Day
  • No Surrender
  • Prove It All Night
  • My Love Will Not Let You Down
  • The E Street Shuffle
  • Reason to Believe
  • The Promised Land
  • Hungry Heart
  • Spirit in the Night
  • Working on the Highway
  • Darlington County

Bruce Springsteen at Heinz von Heiden Arena, Hanover, Germany

  • Candy's Room
  • Adam Raised a Cain
  • Into the Fire
  • Janey Needs a Shooter

Bruce Springsteen at Festivalpark, Werchter, Belgium

  • Darkness on the Edge of Town
  • My Hometown

Bruce Springsteen at Goffertpark, Nijmegen, Netherlands

  • Death to My Hometown
  • Letter to You
  • Waitin' on a Sunny Day
  • Light of Day
  • If I Was the Priest
  • Cadillac Ranch
  • Sherry Darling

Bruce Springsteen at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, Barcelona, Spain

  • Radio Nowhere
  • Atlantic City
  • The Power of Prayer

Bruce Springsteen at Estadio Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain

  • Something in the Night
  • The Ties That Bind

Bruce Springsteen setlists

Bruce Springsteen

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Most played songs

  • Born to Run ( 1840 )
  • Thunder Road ( 1546 )
  • The Promised Land ( 1501 )
  • Badlands ( 1303 )
  • Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out ( 1207 )

More Bruce Springsteen statistics

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? and the Mysterians [traditional] The A’s AC/DC The Ad Libs Bryan Adams Thomas S. Allen The Animals Arcade Fire The Archies Artists United Against Apartheid Burt Bacharach Bentley Ball Hank Ballard and the Midnighters The Band Dave Bartholomew The Beach Boys The Beatles Bee Gees Irving Berlin Chuck Berry Big Maybelle Bill Deal & The Rhondels Bon Jovi Gary “U.S.” Bonds Mars Bonfire Booker T. & the MG’s David Bowie The Box Tops John Henry ‘Perry’ Bradford Brinsley Schwarz James Brown Les Brown and His Orchestra Roy Brown Harry C. Browne Jackson Browne Boudleaux Bryant Tim Buckley Solomon Burke Robert Burns The Byrds Glen Campbell Johnny Cash The Champs Harry Chapin Ray Charles Los Chimberos Clarence Clemons & The Red Bank Rockers Claudine Clark The Clash

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23,161 people have seen Bruce Springsteen live.

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Bruce Springsteen’s Daughter Jessica Left Off 2024 Equestrian Olympic Team

By Tomás Mier

Bruce Springsteen ‘s daughter, Jessica Springsteen, will not represent the United States in the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. Over the weekend, U.S. Equestrian announced the list of athletes representing Team USA, but Jessica was not included.

The athletes to get the call to rep the U.S. are Kent Farrington, Laura Krant, and McLain Ward, with Karl Cool serving as an alternate. Farrington is ranked 6th in the world and will mark his third Olympics. Meanwhile, Kraut is ranked 35th, and Ward is ranked 15th. (Ward was part of gold medal-winning teams in 2004 and 2008, while Farrington helped the U.S. get silver in 2016.)

At the 2021 Games, Jessica helped earn a silver medal for the U.S. during her debut at the competition alongside Kraut and Ward. At the time, she was ranked 27th in the world. Today, Springsteen is ranked 127th.

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Before competing at the 2021 Games, Jessica told People that it would be the “biggest honor” to represent her country and spoke about her relationship with her stallion.

“Sometimes you get a horse, and it can take you a long time to get to know each other, but with him, we came together quickly, and we’ve been able to build on that ever since,” she said at the time. “We definitely have a lot of trust.”

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Jessica Springsteen, Bruce's daughter, not going to Paris Olympics

J essica Springsteen, the Olympic silver medal-winning equestrian daughter of rock legend Bruce Springsteen, will not be going for gold at the 2024 Summer Games in Paris. 

In a news release by U.S. Equestrian over the weekend, Springsteen was not listed on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games jumping team. The event, scheduled to be held in Versailles, France, starting on Aug. 1, will instead feature Florida resident Kent Farrington with their 2014 Oldenburg mare Greya, Florida resident Laura Kraut and their 2010 Hanoverian gelding Baloutinue, and New York resident McLain Ward and their 2013 KWPN gelding Ilex. California resident Karl Cool will serve as an alternate alongside their 2012 Selle Français mare Caracole de la Roque.

"We are very lucky to have three of the most experienced athletes in the sport riding horses that are in top form heading into the Games. Additionally, we have a strong alternate athlete horse combination in Karl and Caracole who have shown great recent form," Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland said in the news release. "Now that selection is complete, we are 100% laser-focused on Paris."

Springsteen made her debut Olympic performance at the 2021 Games in Tokyo. At the time, she was ranked 27th in the world, according to the International Federation for Equestrian Sports . Today, the 33-year-old is ranked 127th with 67 wins under her belt. 

But Team USA's equestrian jumping team will be in good hands this year. 

Farrington, 44, is ranked 6th in the world and second in Pan-American rankings, according to the federation, and Paris will mark his third Olympics. He was part of the silver-winning team at Rio in 2016. 

Kraut, 59, is ranked 35th in the world and 4th in Pan-American rankings. Kraut took home silver at the Tokyo Games and gold in Beijing in 2008, and in 2021, she was named the International Equestrian of the Year by the U.S. Equestrian Federation. 

Ward, 49, is ranked 15th in the world and 1st in Pan-American with 257 wins since 2010. Ward made their Olympic debut in Athens in 2004 and competed again in Beijing in 2008, winning gold both times. At the 2016 and 2020 Games, he took home silver. 

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What do last-minute tickets cost to see zach bryan on tour in 2024.

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Zach Bryan rocks out on guitar in concert.

On July 4, Zach Bryan dropped his fifth studio album “The Great American Bar Scene.”

What makes this release remarkable is twofold.

First, the 19-track record hit shelves just ten months (!) after the 28-year-old singer put out his self-titled album “Zach Bryan.” Secondly, it should also be noted that the busy country singer has been tirelessly playing sold-out concerts at arenas, stadiums and festivals all over North America on his ‘The Quittin’ Time Tour’ this past year.

Given the quick turnaround, one might be led to believe “The Great American Bar Scene” would be a bit of a letdown given how quickly it came together and how little free time Bryan has on his hands.

Thankfully, that’s not the case.

“It’s got Zach’s signature sound but also has signs of growth through his lyrics and at times songs that feel like he’s paying homage to other esteemed musicians like Jason Isbell and Bruce Springsteen,” author and noted Zach Bryan super-fan Clayton Porter said.

“Don’t let anyone add class to it, it’s one hardworking great American album, enough said.”

If you want to hear the debut these new songs on the road, tickets are available for all 39 upcoming ‘Quittin’ Time Tour’ concerts from now until December.

That includes his final two gigs at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Wednesday, Dec. 18 and Thursday, Dec. 19 .

At the time of publication, ticket prices start at $80 before fees on Vivid Seats.

Wondering how much it will cost to see the 2024 Grammy Award-winning Bryan at the concert closest to you?

You’re in the right place, Revivalists.

We’ve got everything you need to know and more about the remainder of Zach Bryan’s 2024 ‘The Quittin’ Time Tour’ below.

All prices listed above are subject to fluctuation.

Zach Bryan tour schedule 2024

A complete calendar including ‘Quittin’ Time Tour’ dates, venues and links to the cheapest tickets available can be found here:

(Note: The New York Post confirmed all above prices at the publication time. All prices are in US dollars, subject to fluctuation and include additional fees at checkout .)

Vivid Seats is a verified secondary market ticketing platform, and prices may be higher or lower than face value, depending on demand. 

They offer a 100% buyer guarantee that states your transaction will be safe and secure and your tickets will be delivered prior to the event.

Still curious about Vivid Seats? You can find an article from their team about why the company is legit here .

Bourbon and Beyond 2024

In mid-September, Bryan will headline at Louisville, KY’s star-studded, four-day Bourbon and Beyond Festival .

Big name headliners joining him include Dave Matthews Band, Matchbox Twenty, Tyler Childers, Beck and The National.

Want to go?

Single and multi-day Bourbon and Beyond Festival passes can be found here .

Zach Bryan set list

In March, Bryan kicked off his tour at Chicago’s United Center.

While he’ll likely incorporate more “The Great American Bar Scene” songs into his upcoming concerts, here’s what he performed back on opening night, courtesy of  Set List FM :

01.) “Overtime” 02.) “Open the Gate” 03.) “God Speed” 04.) “The Great American Bar Scene” 05.) “Fifth of May” 06.) “Tishomingo” 07.) “Deep Satin” 08.) “Oklahoma City” 09.) “Nine Ball” 10.) “Boys of Faith” 11.) “’68 Fastback” 12.) “Better Days” 13.) “Condemned” 14.) “Tourniquet” 15.) “Oklahoma Smokeshow” 16.) “I Remember Everything” (with Kacey Musgraves) 17.) “East Side of Sorrow” 18.) “Dawns” 19.) “Highway Boys” 20.) “Something in the Orange” 21.) “Heading South” 22.) “Burn, Burn, Burn” 23.) “Hey Driver” 24.) “Quittin’ Time” Encore:

25.) “Revival”

Zach Bryan new music

As you may recall, Bryan released his fifth studio album “The Great American Bar Scene” on Independence Day this year.

Clocking in at 63 minutes — yet never even coming close to wearing out its welcome — the earnest, warts and all singer delivers more of his no-frills, middle American poetry that celebrates life’s small pleasures and devastating heartbreaks.

After a few plays, our team fell in love with the spoken word, chills-inducing lead track “Lucky Enough (Poem)” as well as the harmonica-heavy “The Great American Bar Scene” and rousing Springsteen-esque “American Nights.”

The show-stopping “Oak Island,” twinkly “Bass Boat” and the Springsteen duet “Sandpaper” also stand out.

However, “Towers,” a hair-raising gospel tune, towers above the rest of the album. Fingers crossed, it becomes a tour staple complete with a choir.

Want to hear for yourself?

You can give “The Great American Bar Scene” a spin here .

Zach Bryan opening acts

Need to brush up on Bryan’s special guests so you can sing along with them at the show of your choosing?

We’re here to help.

You can find each act’s most-streamed song on Spotify below.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit:   “If We Were Vampires”

Sheryl Crow:   “All I Wanna Do”

Sierra Ferrell:   “In Dreams”

the Middle East:   “Blood”

Matt Maeson:   “Hallucinogenics”

Levi Turner:  “Allergy Season”

Country stars on tour in 2024

Like your country with a little bit of soul?

Here are just five of our favorite roots-y country artists like Bryan that you won’t want to miss live these next couple months.

•  Chris Stapleton

•  Sturgill Simpson

•  Luke Combs

•  Tyler Childers

•  Kacey Musgraves

Wondering who else is on the road? You ought to check out our list of the  50 biggest concert tours in 2024  to find out.

Why you should trust ‘Post Wanted’ by the New York Post

This article was written by Matt Levy , New York Post live events reporter. Levy stays up-to-date on all the latest tour announcements from your favorite musical artists and comedians, as well as Broadway openings, sporting events and more live shows – and finds great ticket prices online. Since he started his tenure at the Post in 2022, Levy has reviewed a Bruce Springsteen concert and interviewed Melissa Villaseñor of SNL fame, to name a few. Please note that deals can expire, and all prices are subject to change.

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The nearly forgotten story of the 'Born in the U.S.A.' remixes

In 1984, Born in the U.S.A. made Bruce Springsteen the biggest rock star in the world. Along the way, one chapter of the album's legacy has nearly vanished from official history: club remixes of three of the album's biggest singles.

In 1984, Born in the U.S.A. made Bruce Springsteen the biggest rock star in the world. Along the way, one chapter of the album's legacy has nearly vanished from official history: club remixes of three of the album's biggest singles. Illustration by Jackie Lay. Photos by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis and SGranitz/WireImage (Getty Images) hide caption

In the service of creating his landmark 1984 album, Born in the U.S.A. , it had taken Bruce Springsteen two years, multiple studio sessions, several alternate track listings and close to 100 songs to get to the point where he felt that he had a record that was ready to release. “I finally stopped doing my hesitation shuffle,” he confessed in his 2016 autobiography, Born to Run . In the spring of 1984, he signed off on the final song list and the label brass were invited to hear the finished product.

What Does 'Born In The U.S.A.' Really Mean?

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What does 'born in the u.s.a.' really mean.

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America, The Playlist

Springsteen had been on Columbia Records since he was signed by John Hammond — the same producer who’d discovered Bob Dylan — in 1972, and they’d stood by him through the previous six albums. That included two early records that didn’t sell well, a lawsuit by his former manager that prevented him from recording for two years and a habit of giving away songs that other artists then made into hits (“Because the Night,” his co-write with Patti Smith and “Fire” by The Pointer Sisters , for example), while still elusively chasing his own. But with his seventh record, Springsteen was finally ready to get out of his own way and make a bid for the higher echelons of success.

The record company was ecstatic. Al Teller, at the time the label’s highest ranking executive, told Springsteen and manager Jon Landau that he predicted that the album would sell 10 million copies in the U.S. (it ended up selling 17 million) and that he saw at least five hit singles (there were seven), and put together a two-year promotional plan in order to make that happen.

For his part, Springsteen pitched in with an international tour, but was also more willing to engage in other sales efforts than he had been previously. So while he hadn’t wanted any part of appearing in a video to support 1982’s Nebraska , he enlisted Brian DePalma and danced onstage with a then-unknown Courteney Cox in a video for “Dancing in the Dark” that MTV showed at the top of every hour.

When Columbia suggested enlisting a producer to create a 12” dance remix of “Dancing in the Dark,” Springsteen agreed and was given a list of names to choose from. The idea of something disco-adjacent was still, at this point, uncharted territory for an artist so deeply rooted in rock and roll, but it was absolutely a destination of choice and not a random decision on the part of the label to which the artist had no input.

The dance remix — often an extended version of a song with the balance shifted toward the beat, rebuilt to be played in dance clubs — already had become currency for electronic and pop-adjacent bands, and would soon become standard for a record’s release plan. It was a harbinger of the way rock and pop and soul and dance would intermingle in the mid-'80s, a melding of genres that widened the horizon for artists and music fans. That vista seemed to vanish a year or two later, and with it, the kind of broad acceptance and understanding of cross-genre pollination that made the presence of a Springsteen song on the dance chart feel different , sure, but also cool as hell. But once that horizon closed, even the very existence of the remixes as part of Springsteen’s history seemed to vanish.

Arthur Baker was the name that Springsteen chose from that list of potential remixers. Baker grew up as a rock and roll kid in Boston — he’d even seen early Springsteen shows there — and after studying record production and working as a DJ, had made a name for himself as a producer and remixer in hip-hop. His work in 1982 on Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force’s “ Planet Rock ” was genuinely groundbreaking, its liberal borrow of Kraftwerk transformed into a different shape, echoing everywhere on dance floors and in what felt like the very air of New York City. The next year, Baker would perform the same trick with the bouncy keyboard riff of “ Girls Just Wanna Have Fun ,” taking it out of an AOR (album-oriented rock) cubicle and elevating it further afield, one of many facets that helped Cyndi Lauper become a household name in the early ‘80s.

The “Girls” remix is what got Baker the nod for “Dancing in the Dark.” Born in the U.S.A. co-producer Chuck Plotkin told Billboard in 1985 that what Team Springsteen had liked about it was, “It was adventuresome enough to constitute something new, but also kept in mind the meaning of the original.” Speaking to NPR this spring, Baker says that when it came to the Springsteen assignment, he didn’t want to rob the remixes of their origins as rock and roll songs. “I use[d] his guitar solo on it, it sounds amazing," he says of "Dancing in the Dark." "To me, it doesn’t sound like a dance mix. I didn’t put a house beat underneath it or anything, I did try to stay organic with it.” Springsteen was actually in the studio with Baker, watching him work during the “Dancing in the Dark” remix sessions, and Baker tells the story of Bruce going out for a beer run when they temporarily lost power.

If you heard it in the summer of 1984, or if you can track it down now (one hint: look on YouTube), the first thing you’d notice in Baker's “Dancing in the Dark” remix is how the rhythm track completely envelops you before you get any clues as to what the song is. The keyboard intro hits later, with the delay making the first few lines more impactful. The remix makes the song larger; it’s not just a bright pop tune any more, and it’s just barely hugging the border with rock and roll — it’s still on the edges, but could make a break for it at any second. And Springsteen’s vocals in the original beautifully convey frustration and exasperation up front, but you physically, tangibly feel the distance in the remix. Baker engineered the feeling of a larger room, a more vast expanse — which, for a song that’s about isolation and alienation, is an essential reading.

But not everyone agreed with this new direction, especially within the core fanbase Springsteen had been building for over a decade. In the fall of 1984, Backstreets Magazine , the professional-grade fan publication devoted to the Boss, declared, “The 12” remix version of ‘Dancing in the Dark’ is unequivocally the biggest piece of s*** ever to be pressed onto vinyl and adorned with Bruce Springsteen’s name … Simply put, I can’t believe Springsteen actually released this monster canine of a record.”

That opinion wasn’t an outlier — rock radio wasn’t particularly inclined toward the project either. The remix was released at the same time that the single was No. 2 on the Hot 100 (it would lose out to the No. 1 spot because of Prince ’s “When Doves Cry,” a worthy opponent) and right as the album hit No. 1. Baker told NPR, “I woke up one morning and I heard [on the radio], ‘That was a controversial Arthur Baker remix.’ That's how I woke up. And they were taking phone calls and some guy said ‘Someone should kill that guy.’ ” There was also a theme, Baker recalls, of, “I’m sure Bruce had nothing to do with this. He would never let this happen!”

These weren’t the only voices, but it was a sentiment voiced by many fans who had been there since Springsteen’s earliest days, and it feels like this might be one of the reasons that, to this day, the remix has never been released on CD and has not made its way onto streaming services, despite the fact that it was successful by any widely accepted metric. “Dancing In The Dark” went to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart — it was on the chart for three and a half months — and was the best-selling 12” of the year. In The Village Voice , Robert Christgau called the remix “one of the all-time Phil Spector tributes and about as disco as, I don't know, John Mellencamp gone Motown.”

The existence of the 12” remix didn’t eliminate the album version, which was still right there , and in constant rotation on both AM and FM radio. It was just something new, something else. Springsteen took a chance releasing this particular set of songs. It was, in many ways, a brave and bold move. Baker’s contribution matched Springsteen’s, and then amplified it: The remix was an improv-level “yes, and” to what the Boss had already accomplished. Springsteen had decided he was ready to further test the edges of his abilities, and Arthur Baker said, “Great, I’ll drive.” Baker got the assignment to remix the next two singles as well.

“Cover Me,” the album’s second single, was the next song handed to Baker. The track was originally written for Donna Summer , but either Springsteen or manager Jon Landau recognized that he should hold onto it. Here, Baker opens with the keyboard riff, rightly zeroing in on it as the beating heart of the song. That melody line captures the feeling of passionate longing; it is the first thing you hear in the “Undercover Mix” version, the first of four separate versions, including Dub I, Dub II and the ubiquitous shorter Radio Edit.

Baker’s work on “Cover Me” represents the most drastic departure from the original of his three Born in the U.S.A. remixes, but as with “Dancing in the Dark,” Baker doesn’t jettison the rock and roll, he just deploys the focus differently. The guitar licks go in and out, but they’re still very much a presence. The wonder in this version is dance powerhouse Jocelyn Brown’s incredible backing vocals that echo and accompany the main melody line, adding to the intended heat of the composition. Her vocals are not a Baker addition — her track was on the master tapes that were handed over to him, which means that this was an approach considered at some point during the recording of this song. (Baker clarified to NPR that he can’t say whether Bruce himself did, just that they were on the master tapes.)

Baker tells NPR that he was told that Springsteen was struggling with the live arrangement of “Cover Me": “They said, 'He doesn’t want to play the song live, and we want to put it out as a single, can you do something with it?' ” Listening now to Springsteen’s live version from that era (you can hear a recording from the Meadowlands in 1984 thanks to his official live archive series), the link between the two is clear: echo and reverb on the vocals, keyboards leveled up high in the mix, Patti Scialfa reprising the Jocelyn Brown harmonies. In concert, “Cover Me” swung with purpose as opposed to the straight-ahead rock and roll of the studio version. There would always be some flaming hot guitar work, too, before going back to the themes of the intro, the echo of “Cover me, baby … the whole world is out there … just trying to score … I’ve seen enough … I’ve seen enough …. ” It made the girls swoon.

The "Cover Me" Dub versions — Dub I vs Dub II — adhere to more strict definitions of the terminology. Dub mixes in reggae traditionally jettisoned the vocals, boosted the rhythm section and added echo or reverb. Dub I opens with congas and vocals, while Dub II goes deeper, remaining percussion-heavy while leaning hard on the organ riff, Springsteen’s vocals emerging in snippets, both solo and paired with Jocelyn Brown’s harmonies. The guitar solo gets its space, floating in and catching you by surprise, carrying most of the space of the chorus and into the next verse, popping up again just when you think it’s done. The Dub versions are sexier; they identify the song’s intention and enliven it. They have more depth; they offer a moment to take a breath in the corner of the club, but you still want to keep moving.

“That’s my favorite of the three, because that one I easily can play out now in a cool club, and people will really dig it, and I really like it,” Baker says. “It had the vibe to me, a Jamaican reggae, the vocal, you could have Black Uhuru cover that, you could have a reggae artist cover that, with that bass line.” “Cover Me” got as high as No. 11 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and hung around on the chart for about three months.

The last of Baker’s remixes on this project was for the title track, the album’s third single. Unlike the previous singles, “Born in the U.S.A.” was a straight-ahead rock anthem, better suited to fist-pumping singalongs rather than sharp dance floor moves. And what Baker created was less a remix than a deconstruction: He took the recording and amplified every distinct element of it. Max Weinberg ’s elegantly martial drumming and Garry Tallent’s rolling bass were pushed up front or at least equal to the vocals, with the keyboards running behind, playing support. The delicate chimes of the glockenspiel kept things from getting too heavy, especially as he let the track build to the song’s climax — and then stripped it all back down to the basics on the bridge, before one last glorious surge. The Freedom Dub is even more drastic, with its focus on what sounds like just the kick drum track before introducing a lusher version of the melody.

Billboard approvingly noted at the time that "the dub suggests that anything in 4/4 time could be a hip-hop, and is Baker’s most liberal re-interpretation to date of another producer’s work,” but the “Born in the U.S.A.” remix didn’t chart or gain the critical accolades of the others. It’s less a dance number than a sound sculpture. That’s what makes it the most interesting of the three, and an antidote to the sadly misunderstood anthem the song had become , thanks to everyone from Ronald Reagan to Walter Mondale trying to claim it (and by extension, the star who made it) to their benefit in an election year.

The fanbase’s disapproval of the remixes at the time was definitely a symptom of the tail end of the “Disco Sucks” phenomenon, where anything that smacked of dancing was seen as off-limits in a rock and roll context. Speaking with NPR, Baker said, “I don’t want to say that it was racist; it was, you know, anti-dance.” But later, talking about writing “Cover Me” for Donna Summer, Springsteen himself commented, “I disliked the veiled racism of the anti-disco movement.” And at a basic level, it was a symptom of Springsteen’s fans feeling a sense of loss (or at least annoyance — the new influx of fans made it even harder to get what was already a tough ticket) in having to share their guy with a wider, broader audience.

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A Long Road To 'High Hopes': An Interview With Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen's American Dream, Beautiful And Bleak

Springsteen's American Dream, Beautiful And Bleak

When trying to parse why the remixes have been relegated to the dustbin of history, the fan reaction back in the day might offer some clues, or at least context. But it’s still an unfortunate omission. Born in the U.S.A. was a watershed moment for Bruce Springsteen. It’s the album most identifiable with him on an international scale, and everything from the b-sides to videos, the artwork to the band’s onstage regalia are important elements of the story. It’s probably worth noting that there has been no Born in the U.S.A. box set, the kind of expected retrospective offering from an artist at his level that rounds up outtakes and almost-rans never before released to the public. The remixes were, and they are absolutely part of the story, and yet they have been out of circulation for decades.

Springsteen has spoken at length about how he made a deliberate choice with Born in the U.S.A. to reach for the masses. “There was value in trying to connect with a large audience. It was a direct way you affected culture. It let you know how powerful and how durable your music might be,” he said in 1998. And the reality was — and still is — what Springsteen told Kurt Loder in Rolling Stone in the middle of it all back in 1985, “I was always so protective of my music that I was hesitant to do much with it at all. Now I feel my stuff isn’t as fragile as I thought." (NPR asked Springsteen to talk about the remixes for this article, but through a spokesperson, he declined, citing his tour schedule and other commitments.)

Despite the fact that the only way you can hear the remixes these days is if you own the vinyl or find a carefully digitized upload from a dance music historian , you can still hear their influence today, particularly in the way “Dancing in the Dark” has evolved over the last 40 years: The way audiences (especially in Europe, where the remixes were even more popular) have been fond of singing back the “whoa-oo-ooo’s” after every line of the verse is a direct lift from Baker’s “Blaster” remix. And if you listen to any versions of the song from the 2024 tour, the current live version of “Dancing In The Dark” is as close to the remix as it’s ever been. The horn section, especially, adds the same kind of sweetness, dimension and texture Baker first isolated in his production.

No wonder Baker’s view on the project is that they were successful: “I’m really proud of [the remixes] because they were all three really different types of mixes and songs. And I think they all did what they were meant to do. He was happy with them. And they still sound good.”

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Zach Bryan Brings In Bruce Springsteen for a Feature on ‘The Great American Bar Scene,’ a Record Steeped in the Boss’ Quieter Side: Album Review

John Mayer and John Moreland also pop up with guest spots on Bryan's mostly contemplative, occasionally boisterous fifth album.

By Chris Willman

Chris Willman

Senior Music Writer and Chief Music Critic

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Zach Bryan 'The Great American Bar Scene'

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“The Great American Bar Scene” actually feels a lot less stark than last year’s self-titled record did. I think I’ll still end up preferring that album more, as the one that turned me on to Bryan, with its peculiar, low-fi self-production values — probably the same reason that I expect rank-and-file fans who had a few minor complaints about that will take more of a shine to this one. For better or worse, there are no live and crushingly loud bullfrogs included on the new record. (I miss ’em.) But “slicker” is a relative thing when it comes to Zach Bryan records, and even the part of his fan base that overlaps with Luke Bryan’s would probably argue that they come to him because they’re attracted to organic produce, too. And so there are plenty of tracks among the 19 that have not much more to them than acoustic guitar and the stray Dobro, with house drummer Jake Weinberg being asked to tap lightly or even sit things out so often, you’d think this was a bluegrass record. There’s no evidence Bryan is looking for a fresh banger to replace “Revival” as his inevitable show-closer; it’s kind of stunning, really, when someone who draws crowds as big Bryan’s is spending so little time manipulating the rabble-rousing dial. But I suspect he’s onto something: medium-tempo is the new barnburner.

Oh, and if you like albums that start off with a poem, “The Great American Bar Scene” begins that way, just like the previous album, albeit at several times the length. “If I’m Lucky Enough” is a statement-of-purpose and vision chart that includes aspirations from the past (“I’ll meet some kids in school that still know how to play instruments”), future (“I’ll have some kids and teach them that we are all the same / Sufferin’ the smilin’ silhouettes of every passin’ day”), and eternal (with the hope “to only die on hills that are closest to my heart”). He’s already thrown out an album’s worth of aphorisms, over an ambient guitar, in the five minutes before the singing part begins. Having been so outrightly confessional with that spoken-word overture, he turns to fiction in the first proper song, “Mechanical Bull,” the acoustic-slide-guitar-driven lament of a former rodeo cowboy who’s only likely to take rides inside barrooms from here on out. The theme isn’t especially original, but Bryan gets some great lines in, saying he gets “a little sad in the eve’nins / Knowin’ I’ll  never get a beatin’ / Like being young and dumb again.”

Occasionally, he’s going the more overtly “Nebraska”-ian, short-story route, like “Oak Island,” in which he identifies himself as “Mickey” and goes looking for a wayward brother who’s run afoul of some thugs, looking to straighten things out by any means necessary because “no blood in the mud I’s raised in spends   life on the run.” (The contractions “I’s,” “we’s,” “they’s” and “you’s” pop up a lot in Bryan songs.)

And he has insisted that the album’s first single, “Pink Skies,” a song about a family funeral, has nothing to do with his mother’s untimely death, which he’s written about a lot in previous albums, but sprang out of his funereal imagination. In that one there’s a poignancy to the imagery about emptying a family homestead for a sale that anyone grieving the loss of a family elder may relate to: “Clear the drawers / Mop the floors / Stand tall / Like no one’s ever been here, before or at all.” For all the sadness inherent in that, “Pink Skies” has to be the most cheerful-sounding song about the rituals of gathering for last rites since Lyle Lovett’s “Since the Last Time.” Bryan believes in tears, but not tearjerking, and so a number like “Pink Skies” that flirts with tougher emotions ends up being as stoic as it is bittersweet.

If there’s a complaint to be made about any of the songwriting here, it’s that sometimes some of Bryan’s best lines feel like they could belong as much in another song as the one they’re in. He can skip around between incidents, emotions and time frames so much within a single song that it’s not always easy to tell whether he’s being deliberately elliptical or just has a case of lyrical ADHD. At 28, he’s good — very good, in fact — but still has some growth ahead of him in achieving the discipline of songwriting heroes like Springsteen and Jason Isbell. The song “Northern Thunder” feels like it’s about to become a real statement of Where Zach Bryan Is Now, with its pithy summary of his post-Navy rise to fame: “Mama, I made a million dollars on accident / I was supposed to die a military man / Chest out too far with a drink in my hand / But I’ve got folks who like hearing me rhyme.” But when just a few lines later he claims that “it ain’t been my week, ain’t been my year,” it begs more questions than the tune is prepared to answer. Maybe Bryan just means to tell us that it’s lonely at the instant-top, but the song isn’t really developed enough to explain whether his smashing breakout success really coincided with an annus horribilus, or whether these lines just tumbled out kind of randomly.

Speaking of Nashville, Bryan lets his uneasy, borderline-adversarial relationship with the mainstream country community come to the fore as possible subject matter just once, in “Like Ida,” where he seems to be addressing a woman who might’ve gone to Music City to hit it big. “When you make it to Nashville,” he sings, “You can tell by one hat tilt / That shit just ain’t my scene / I like out of tune guitars / And taking jokes too far / And my bartender’s Extra Damn Mean.” The way that he capitalizes Extra Damn Mean in the lyric sheet certainly suggests he’s making an EDM joke; who knows if it’s because he’s experienced the same thing many people in the industry have — that at so many official country music functions, the DJ is playing electronic dance music, not country. Anyway, by the end of the song, Bryan is slamming just about everything mainstream, making callouts to the “sound of that rusty door hinge” and proclaiming, “That bullshit you see on the late-night TV / Is a long way from our beatin’ hearts.”

That sentiment borders on being the heartland version of indie rabble-rousing. But it’s hard to doubt for a second that Bryan really means it when he declares that he’s marching to the beat of his own heart’s different drummer. And when someone like him comes along who’s determined to do things his own way and not via the accepted media and industry channels, you have to wonder if his notoriously system-bucking qualities will inspire fans to embrace him as a mere complement to the Luke Bryans of the world, or, for a few of them anyway, as an actual replacement.

“The Great American Bar Scene” is not a glad-handing kind of record. It’s not even an album that goes out of its way to ingratiate itself as, like, bar music. (Bryan promoted the album by giving some of the songs out in preview form to 23 bars across the nation, and you may wonder whether the bartenders had to turn up these mostly quiet numbers extra-loud to be heard over the din.) The singer-songwriter loves his band, who he’s brought along from his Oklahoma days, as anyone who’s seen his concerts know. But he’s not always worried about putting all of them to use at once, that’s for sure. Many songs begin with acoustic finger-picking, and quite a few of them stay there. This balladic emphasis could wear out its welcome, too, without enough variation over 19 tracks, and so it’s welcome when he mixes things up a bit. “American Nights” is one of these standouts, for the way it takes a big volume jump on the second verse and ends up with a deliciously dry snare drum sound and a cool, miniaturist band feel you wouldn’t mind hearing a lot more of.

As for the Mayer collab, the guest artist does not lend a lead vocal to his track, just lead guitar, in such short and tasteful dollops that it almost seems not indulgent enough — but “Better Days” is one of the better numbers. Springsteen’s guest spot is a vocal one, of course, on “Sandpaper,” and it’s nice to hear the master and student together — laconic on laconic — along with the addition of some baritone guitar from Chris Braun. Maybe it’s a bit peculiar to hear Springsteen, a guy who is not in his 20s, keep repeating the lyrics’ autobiographical refrain about “27 seasons,” but you could write that off as Bryan dueting with his nostalgic future self. The drums are played as light rim shots, an obvious nod to the percussion on Springsteen songs like “I’m on Fire,” even though the Jake Weinberg who plays drums in Bryan’s band is a different Jake Weinberg than the same-named drummer who is Max Weinberg’s son.

When the album gets to its climax, of sorts, that turns out to be “Pink Skies,” the teaser track that everybody’s already heard for weeks. But it’s a nice touch when the song is extended for about 50 seconds longer than what you’ve previously heard, with a coda that has a couple of Bryan’s band members taking over the lead vocals. It’s a beautiful touch that reinforces the communal spirit of the song… and of Bryan’s whole humble vibe. (It’s not the first time that Bryan pulls off this neat trick on the album; “Northern Thunder” ends with background vocalist Bree Tranter unexpectedly getting the final line all to herself.)

“Pink Skies” is followed by a lovely epilogue, “Bathwater,” which ends things on an even more subdued moment, notwithstanding the line where Bryan veritably shouts, “Boy, get up and dance.” There’s a bit more country music commentary that comes along in rounding out the album, as the song laments the “808 beats” in the “songs (that) used to free me,” and also the whole faux-outlaw imagery of the modern genre. “Now everyone knows an outlaw, country to the core,” he sings, “but the only outlaw I’ve known served in the Corps. And I ain’t heard ‘Shake the Frost’ in a couple years or more.” Closing an album out with twin nods to his military background and to Tyler Childers, with a bit of shade toward Nashville, is very Zach Bryan. And it’s a good portent of a future in which the singer-songwriter, for all of his hero worship of Springsteen and others, stands a fairly decent chance of being remembered as a one-of-one.

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