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Springsteen’s first North American show took place in the city’s Reunion Park as part of the NCAA basketball tournament.
In classic style, Springsteen took the stage to the sounds of the Harlem Globetrotter’s theme, “Sweet Georgia Brown.” While dribbling the ball, the 64-year-old rocker quipped, “This has something to do with basketball.”
Springsteen’s longtime guitar tech Kevin Buell also got into the act, donning a referee uniform and mimicking a jump ball with guitarist Nils Lofgren.
The band then launched into the ’80s anthem, which was augmented by Springsteen’s horn section and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who made Eddie Van Halen‘s signature solo look astonishingly easy. Charles Giordano handled Van Halen’s synth solo to round out the song.
Sunday night’s show marked the first appearance Patti Scialfa has made with the band since September. Guitarist Steven Van Zandt was not at the show, prompting his wife, Maureen, to joke on Twitter, “For all you asking why StevieVanZandt is not on the Bruce US Tour — he is replacing Harry Styles from One Direction for a bit.”
The band braved the rain and played a 25-song set, which featured “Hungry Heart,” “Badlands,” “Spirit in the Night,” “Johnny 99,” “The River,” “No Surrender,” “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” “The Land of Hopes and Dreams,” “Born to Run,” “Glory Days,” “Dancing in the Dark” (with a lot of girls taking selfies of themselves onstage with The Boss), “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” “Thunder Road” and a cover of “Shout,” breaking in the middle to exclaim “I’m just a prisoner of the everlasting power of rock and roll!”
The E Street Band tour continues at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, and the group will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this Thursday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Watch the performance below:
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