Springsteen Stumps The Band
During the last leg of the 2007-08 “Magic” tour, Springsteen filled many shows with requests hand-printed on signs passed up to the stage. As the tour progressed, sometimes almost one third of each night’s performance would turn out to be unique as The Boss & Company replaced songs on the evening’s set list with songs listed on fans’ signs.
This year Springsteen has added a new twist to the sign requests – stump the band – when he and E Street are often challenged to play songs they’ve never performed. Or, for that matter, even know.
For instance, the following fan video captures Springsteen and the band May 2 in Greensboro, N.C., playing the old McCoys / Rick Derringer 60’s hit “Hang On Sloopy.” By the way the crowd responds, you would think he’s playing “Born To Run.”
This next vid, which was featured on BruceSpringsteen.net, shows Springsteen telling the audience during his April 21 appearance at Boston’s TD Banknorth Garden that the band “doesn’t know this song.” The song in question is ZZ Top’s “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide,” and sure enough, the band doesn’t know it. But that doesn’t stop them from cranking out a more than decent performance.
This next one is too easy. After all, any bar band worth its tequila salt knows how to play “Wild Thing.” But ya gotta admit, Springsteen and E Street turned in a killer rendition on April 24 in Hartford, Conn.
One of the more unexpected attempts to stump the band happened during the second month of the tour in Uniondale, N.Y., at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where, instead of bar band classics like “Wild Thing” or “You Really Got Me,” the band was challenged with the old Gamble & Huff-produced soul classic – “Expressway To Your Heart.”
Finally, another clip from Boston, but this one’s from the second night at TD Banknorth when Springsteen and the band rocked the arena with The Ramones’ “I Want To Be Sedated.” An especially good performance when you consider the light crew as well as the band hadn’t rehearsed the number beforehand.
Jam bands aside, it’s not often an arena-level tour leaves so much up to chance every time they walk on stage. However, the Springsteen / E Street “Stump The Band” selection each night is one of the tour’s most popular moments. And the most talked-about the morning after.