Springsteen rocks SXSW
March 16th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Springsteen rocks SXSW

Bruce Springsteen's 62 now. He lost his lead sideman and good friend, Clarence Clemons, last year.

But The Boss can still put on a show.

The veteran rocker gave a free concert in Austin, Texas' 2,700-seat Moody Theater Thursday night for attendees of the South By Southwest music conference, and although he didn't play "Born to Run," it's doubtful anyone came away disappointed.

Joined by a parade of special guests, Springsteen and his E Street Band played for more than two-and-a-half hours in what amounted to a final rehearsal for their upcoming international tour.

"We've got some old friends with us. And we've got some new friends with us," Springsteen told the audience. "But the mission of the E Street Band remains the same."

For his first tour in three years, Springsteen complemented his usual bandmates with a horn section, several backup singers, an extra percussionist and a violin player. But the absence of Clemons, and longtime keyboard player Danny Federici, who died in 2008, was clearly felt.

"I don't know where we go when it's over," Springsteen told the audience while introducing the band. "But I know some of us are still here. And if you're here, and we're here, then they're here."

Jake Clemons, Clarence's nephew, filled in admirably for his late uncle on saxophone, although the set list mostly avoided songs with signature Clarence moments, such as "Jungleland" and its epic sax solo. During “Tenth Avenue Freezeout,” Springsteen paused after the line, “When the Big Man joined the man …” and held his microphone toward the heavens in tribute.

Springsteen seemed to take special delight in the eight songs he played from his new album “Wrecking Ball,” which just supplanted Adele’s “21” as the top seller in the country.

He also tossed in a handful of older staples, including “Badlands” and “Thunder Road,” although he ignored his ‘80s commercial heyday and the “Born in the USA” album completely.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer threw himself into each song with his usual intensity – even leaping into the crowd on "Waiting for a Sunny Day" – although he got winded a few times and complained good-naturedly about having to give a SXSW keynote speech earlier in the day.

The last third of the show featured a series of guest performers, from Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello to reggae star Jimmy Cliff, who joined Springsteen to sing his classics “The Harder They Come” and “Many Rivers to Cross.” Springsteen also invited one of his early heroes, The Animals’ Eric Burdon, onstage to duet with him on the ‘60s hit, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.”

By the encore, the stage was crowded with singer-songwriter Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo and members of indie band Arcade Fire, who teamed up with Springsteen & Co. for a rollicking version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” that had the audience singing along. (Given the political tenor of Springsteen’s new album, the song came across like a rallying cry for the Occupy movement.)

“Thanks for being part of our test run," Springsteen said before leaving the stage. He and the band kick off their North American tour Sunday in Atlanta.


soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Juli

    This is my fiгѕtt time payy a visit at here and i am actuaally pleaasant to rrad all
    att alone place.

    January 6, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MARGARET

    MY FRIENDS AND I SAW THE SHOW THIS PAST MONDAY NIGHT...HE'S 62 YEARS OLD..HE IS STILL THE BOSS.
    NO LIP SYNC...ITS ALL THE BOSS AND THE E STREET BAND, MY FRIENDS AND I ARE READY FOR NEWARK IN MAY.
    THE GREAT BAND EVER

    April 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ROLLIN SD

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CzLCu0Z46I&w=640&h=390]

    March 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MARGARET

    got my tickets...love you babe!

    March 19, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. bossman

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vALnRfYbP4&w=640&h=390]

    March 19, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. squawks

    Thank you for your concert in Austin, Mr. Springsteen. You made SXSW!!!!!!

    March 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Samantha

    This article didnt do the show anywhere near the justice it deserved! It has to be the best concert Ive ever seen!! Love his shows! THE BOSS RULES!

    March 16, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. nbafan

    That comment was for Pinnochio.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. nbafan

    Who the 'F' cares?

    March 16, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Pinnochio

    He is still the boss. Always did like his ruff voice. Did I tell you that I am getting a rescued cat?

    March 16, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,052 other followers