Bruce Springsteen Opens the US Tour With A Van Halen Cover

Kevin Buell, Springsteen’s guitar tech, comes out dressed as a referee and holds up a basketball for a tip off between Bruce and Nils.(The latter wins despite being shorter, because although Bruce is undeniably in better shape, Nils is the better athlete.) But instead of “Badlands” or “We Take Care Of Our Own,” what do we hear instead?

“Jump.” By Van Halen.

Yeah, that just happened.

I blame Morello, but not in a serious ‘blame’ way, but it is likely given that he was the one who asked if there was an intersection between AC/DC and the E Street Band.

It was cold and it was the first show after some time off, and although we know they have rehearsed some, it was cold and wet and miserable. It was the type of weather not friendly to reeds or guitar strings or throats. It was hard for the crowd, and Bruce had to work the crowd hard. It took a toll, you could see it by the end of the night. There’s nothing more that Bruce Springsteen relishes than working an audience who might be a little subdued for whatever reason, but it was hard, hard work tonight for everyone.

We have been hired here tonight to bring the spirit to Dallas. We have been hired here tonight – in a light monsoon- to bring the spirit to Dallas.

Bruce walked on railings. Bruce leaned on the crowd, and then he jumped in shallowly at one point and had them surf him from one platform to the other. He brought people up onstage. “Dancing” became a selfie-fest to the point of absurdity, with Bruce declaring, “Selfie, selfie, selfie, selfie, selfie” at the very end, words I never thought I would hear onstage. (It was kind of adorable, though, how he made sure that the littlest dancers who couldn’t squirm their way into the selfie-fest still got their own. Just kind of.)

Nils is in Stevie’s spot and has not quite settled in yet, as there were cues that he did not quite make due to the fact that he was playing guitar. Garry Talent took one of them prominently, and with a big grin on his face, during “No Surrender.”

It wasn’t quite a Born In The USA show but almost, short of that big band BITUSA that would have fit right in. They are still firing on all cylinders even if they are a tiny bit rusty; they will shake that off quickly.

And Patti was back tonight; who knows if she will be back for good, although I certainly expect her to be at Thursday’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance. Bruce was visibly pleased to have her up there with him, whispering conspicuously to her during the bows with the result being that she remained onstage during an acoustic “Thunder Road,” accenting the refrain. It was gorgeous.

See you Thursday.