Springsteen on Broadway (2018) - full transcript

The intimate, final performance of Bruce Springsteen's 236-show run at Jujamcyn's Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway.

[crowd cheering and applauding]

[cheering grows louder]

DNA, your natural ability,
the study of your craft,

a development of
and devotion to an aesthetic philosophy.


Naked desire for fame, love, adoration,

attention, women,

sex, a buck.

Then, if you want to take it
all the way out to the end of the night,

you will need a furious fire
in your belly

that just don't quit burning.

These are some of the elements
that will come in handy

should you come face-to-face

with 80,000 screaming rock 'n' roll fans.

-[audience laughs]
-[clicks tongue]

Because these are fans who are waiting
for you to pull something out of your hat,

out of thin air,
something out of this world.

Something that, before the faithful
were gathered here today,

was just a song-fueled rumor.

Now, I come from a boardwalk town

where everything is tinged
with just a bit of fraud.

[audience laughs]

So am I.

In 1972,
I wasn't any race-car-driving rebel.

I wasn't any corner street punk.

I was a guitar player
on the streets of Asbury Park.

But I held four clean aces.

I had youth, I had a decade
of hard-core bar band experience

already behind me.

I had a great group of musicians
and friends

who really knew my playing style,
and I had a magic trick.

Now I'm here tonight
to provide proof of life

to that ever-elusive,
never completely believable,

particularly these days, us.

That's my magic trick.

And like all good magic tricks,

it begins with a setup.

[playing "Growin' Up"]

[audience applauds and cheers]

♪ I stood stonelike at midnight ♪

♪ Suspended in my masquerade ♪

♪ I combed my hair
Till it was just right ♪

♪ And commanded the night brigade ♪

♪ I was open to pain
And crossed by the rain ♪

♪ And I walked on a crooked crutch ♪

♪ I strode all alone
Through a fallout zone ♪

♪ Came out with my soul untouched ♪

♪ I hid in the clouded wrath
Of the crowd ♪

♪ When they said, "Sit down," I stood up ♪

♪ Ooh-ooh ♪

♪ Growin' up ♪

♪ Well, the flag of piracy flew
From my mast ♪

♪ And my sails were set wing to wing ♪

♪ I had a jukebox graduate
For first mate ♪

♪ She couldn't sail
But she sure could sing ♪

♪ I pushed B-52
And bombed 'em with the blues ♪

♪ With my gear set stubborn on standing ♪

♪ I broke all the rules
Strafed my old high school ♪

♪ Never once gave thought to landing ♪

♪ I hid in the clouded warmth
Of the crowd ♪

♪ When they said, "Come down"
I threw up ♪

♪ Ooh-ooh ♪

♪ Growin' up ♪

Now, I've never held an honest job
in my entire life.

[audience laughs]

I've never done any hard labor.

I've never worked nine to five.

I've never worked five days a week
until right now.

[audience laughs]

[crowd whooping, applause]

-I don't like it.
-[audience laughs]

I've never seen the inside of a factory,
and yet, it's all I've ever written about.

Standing before you is a man

who has become wildly
and absurdly successful

writing about something
of which he has had...

[in low voice]
absolutely no personal experience.

[audience laughs and claps]

[in normal voice] I-- I made it all up.

[audience laughs]

That's how good I am.

[audience laughs loudly]

[applause and whooping]

Now, how?

I'm sure you're wondering,
how did this great miracle come to pass?


in the beginning...

there was a great darkness
upon the waters.

As a child, there was Christmas,
your birthday, summer vacation,

but the rest of life was a lifeless,
sucking black hole.

A lifeless, sucking black hole
of homework, church,

school, homework, church,

school, homework, church,

school, green beans,

green beans, fucking green beans.

[audience chuckles]

But then,
in a blinding flash of sanctified light,

a human being and just a kid,

just a kid from the southern sticks.

But, a... new kind of man.
And he split the world in two.

And suddenly...

a new world existed.

The one below your belt.

[audience laughs]

[Bruce] And...

above your heart.

On a Sunday night in 1956,

at 39 1/2 Institute Street,
into a cold-water flat

and into the mind of a seven-year-old kid.

The revolution had been televised!

Right under the noses

of the powers that be!

Who, if they'd have known
what was actually happening

and the great changes...

the changes that were about to come,

they would have shut this shit down.

[audience chuckles]

Or more likely signed it up real quick.

Because we, the unwashed,
the invisible, the powerless, the kids,

would want more.

Now more life...

more love and more sex
and more hope...

and more truth...

and more power.

And more soul.

And most of all, more rock 'n' roll.

[audience cheers and applauds]

So I sat with my mom,
my little seven-year-old mind on fire,

staring into a blue tube as fun happened.

Fun, the real kind.

The joyful, life-affirming, hip-shaking,

ass-quaking, guitar-playing,

mind- and heart-changing,
race-challenging, soul-lifting bliss

of a freer existence.

A freer existence exploded
into unsuspecting homes

all across America.

On a regular Sunday night.

The world had fucking changed.

In an instant.

In a sweating, wet orgasm of fun.

And all you needed to do

to get a taste of it...

was to risk being your true self.

Because a rock 'n' roll genie
had been let out of the bottle

and he told us that if you were...

♪ Born in the USA ♪

...my fellow citizens,
these feelings, these freedoms,

this fun...

was your birthright.

I listened, I believed,
and I heard a mighty call

to action.

-[stops playing]
-So I studied my new hero.

I know today he's got the same
two arms, two legs, two eyes that I got.

Yes, he's a human Adonis.

And I'm...



...pathetically creepy.

[audience chuckles]

But I'll figure that part out, all right?

The one thing he had
that I didn't have was strapped

around his waist.

It was the guitar!

The guitar,
or as my father had christened it,

"that fucking guitar."

[audience laughs]

But that fucking guitar was the key!

It was the sword in the stone!

It was the staff of righteousness!

And they sell 'em
at Western Auto downtown

for 25 dollars!

[audience chuckles]

So I begged and I pleaded with my mother

just to rent me,
'cause we couldn't afford to buy,

a guitar from Mike Diehl's Music School
on South Street.

One Saturday afternoon,
I brought it home.

And I sat on the living room couch,

and I unlatched its full alligator case,

and I slowly opened it up,

and up from the green velvet lining...

came the sweet smell...

of a cherry wood cocktail of power,

pleasure, salvation,

dreams, and dreams and dreams.

So I took lessons, dedicatedly.

I took lessons for two solid weeks...

and I quit.

[audience chuckles]

It was too fucking hard.

[audience laughs]

Learning the guitar,
not only was it fucking hard,

but the lessons were boring!

Just give me the three magic chords,

And let me twist...

and shout!

But I was a seven-year-old kid
and my hands barely fit around the neck

and I couldn't waste my mother's
hard-earned cash week after week,

so very shortly, I knew.
That back it was gonna have to go.

But the morning before I returned it,
I strapped it on one more time.

I took it out into the backyard
where the neighborhood kids were,

and I put on my first show.


I slapped it, I shook it, I shouted,

I sang voodoo nonsense.

I burned a hole in the grass,

I shook my little seven-year-old ass.

♪ Whoo ♪

Most importantly, I posed with it!

That's the shit!

[audience laughs and applauds]

I danced with it,
I did everything but play it.

I couldn't do that.

I sucked so bad and the kids laughed
and laughed and laughed

at my silly ass.

And we brought it back that afternoon.

But riding back home
with my mom in the car...

I sat in the backseat and I was quiet.

I was thinking...

I was a little disappointed in myself.

But somewhere inside...

somewhere inside,
I knew that for a moment,

just a moment,

in front of those kids in that backyard...

Mm... I smelled blood.

[continues playing "Growin' Up"]

♪ I took monthlong vacations
In the stratosphere ♪

♪ You know, it's really hard
To hold your breath ♪

♪ Swear I lost everything
I ever loved or feared ♪

♪ I was the cosmic kid
In full costume dress ♪

♪ My feet, they finally took root
In the earth ♪

♪ But I got me a nice little place
In the stars ♪

♪ I swear I found the key
To the universe ♪

♪ In the engine of an old parked car ♪

♪ I hid in the clouded wrath
Of the crowd ♪

♪ When they said, "Sit down," I stood up ♪

♪ Ooh-ooh ♪

♪ Growin' up ♪

♪ Ooh-ooh ♪

♪ Growin' up ♪

And it was bye-bye, New Jersey,

I'm gonna be airborne!

[audience cheering and applauding]

Now, everybody...

everybody has a love-hate relationship
with their hometown.

It's just built into the equation
of growing up.

If you take me.

I'm Mr. Born to Run.

I'm Mr. Thunder fucking Road.

[audience chuckles]

I was born...

to run, not to stay.

My home, New Jersey...

it's a death trap.

[audience laughs]

It's a suicide rap.

Listen to the lyrics, all right?

I gotta get out, I gotta hit the highway,

I'm a road running man,
I got the white line fever in my veins.

I am gonna bring my girl
and I have had enough

of the shit that this place dishes out.

I am gonna run, run, run, and I'm...

well, I'm never coming back.

I currently live ten minutes
from my hometown.

[audience laughs and applauds]

But, uh... "Born to Come Back" or, uh...

-[audience chuckles]
-Who would have bought that shit?


Nobody, nobody.

[playing softly]

In our front yard,
only a few feet from our porch

stood the grandest tree in town.

It was a towering,
beautiful copper beech tree.

And on sunny days,
I lived under its branches.

Its roots were a fort for my soldiers
and a corral for my horses.

And I was the first on my block

to climb high into its upper reaches,

leaving behind a world that...

I didn't care for much already.

And up near the top,
I had the wind in my face

and I had all the dreaming room

that you could want.

On slow summer nights,
I'd sit beneath its arms

with my pals like the cavalry at dusk,

just listening and listening...

for the evening bells
of the ice cream man,

and my grandmother's voice
calling me in to bed.

I lived on Randolph Street
with my sister, Virginia,

she was a year younger than me,

my parents, Adele and Douglas,
my grandparents, Fred and Alice,

and my trusty dog Saddle.

We lived spitting distance
from the Catholic Church,

the priest's rectory, the nuns' convent,

the St. Rose of Lima Grammar School,
all of it

just a football's toss away,

across a field of wild grass.

I literally grew up surrounded by God.

Surrounded by God...

and my relatives.

'Cause we had cousins
and aunts and uncles

and grandmas and grandpas

and great-grandmas and great-grandpas,

all of us were jammed
into five little houses

on two adjoining streets.

And when the church bells rang,
the whole clan would hustle up the street

to stand witness to every wedding
and every funeral

that arrived like a state occasion

in our little neighborhood.

My sister and I, we'd pick up
the thrown rice from the weddings,

pack it away in small brown paper bags
and take it home and save it,

and run up the street and throw it
at the next wedding...

and the next wedding...

and the next wedding.

We also had front row seats
to watch the townsmen

in their Sunday suits carry out
an endless array...

of dark wooden boxes

to be slipped into the rear
of the Freeman's Funeral Home

long black Cadillac

for the short ride

to St. Rose Cemetery hill
on the edge of town.

And there...

all our Catholic neighbors,
all the Zerillis,

all the McNicholases,
all the Springsteens who came before...

they patiently waited for us.

On Sundays,

as my mom tended to our graves,

my sister and I...

we played hide-and-seek
amongst the gravestones.

[whispers] I gotcha.

[in normal voice]
Now, when it rains in Freehold...

When it rains,

the moisture in the humid air
blankets the whole town

with the smell of moist coffee grounds
wafting in from the Nescafé plant

on the town's eastern edge.

Now, I don't like coffee,

but I loved that smell.

It was comforting. It united our town,

just like our clanging rug mill,

in a common sensory experience.
There was a place here.

You could hear it, you could smell it.

A place where people made lives

and where they worked
and where they danced

and where they enjoyed small pleasures
and played baseball and...

and suffered pain.

Where they had their hearts broke

and where they made love,

had kids...

where they died...

and drank themselves drunk
on spring nights.

And where they did their very best,

the best that they could,

to hold off the demons,
outside and inside,

that sought to destroy them...

and their homes, their families,

and their town.

Here, we lived in the shadow
of the steeple,

crookedly blessed in God's good mercy,
one and all.

In the heart-stopping, pants-dropping,

race-rioting, freak-hating,

soul-shaking, redneck,


heartbreaking town...

of Freehold, New Jersey.

[playing "My Hometown"]

♪ I was eight years old
And running with ♪

♪ A dime in my hand ♪

♪ Into the bus stop to pick up a paper ♪

♪ For my old man ♪

♪ I'd sit on his lap
In that big old Buick ♪

♪ We'd steer as we drove through town ♪

♪ He'd tousle my hair
And say, son, take a good look around ♪

♪ This is your hometown ♪

♪ Your hometown ♪

♪ Your hometown ♪

♪ In '65, tension was running high ♪

♪ At my high school ♪

♪ There was a lot of fights
Between the black and white ♪

♪ There was nothing you could do ♪

♪ Two cars at a light
On a Saturday night ♪

♪ In the backseat, there was a gun ♪

♪ Words were passed
In a shotgun blast ♪

♪ Troubled times had come ♪

♪ To my hometown ♪

♪ Yeah, to my hometown ♪

♪ To my hometown ♪

♪ Now Main Street's whitewashed windows
And vacant stores ♪

♪ Seems like there ain't nobody ♪

♪ Wants to come down here no more ♪

♪ They're closing down the rug mill ♪

♪ Across the railroad tracks ♪

♪ Foreman says these jobs are going
Boys ♪

♪ And they ain't coming back ♪

♪ To your hometown ♪

♪ To your hometown ♪

♪ To your hometown ♪

♪ Last night, me and Kate
We laid in bed ♪

♪ Talking about getting out ♪

♪ Packing up our bags ♪

♪ Maybe heading south ♪

♪ I'm 35, we've got a boy ♪

♪ Of our own now ♪

♪ Last night, I sat him up
Behind the wheel ♪

♪ Said, son, take a good look around ♪

♪ This is your hometown ♪

♪ Your hometown ♪

♪ This is your hometown ♪

[audience applauding and cheering]

My father worked
as a 16-year-old floor boy

in that rug mill.

And then he went off to war.
When he came home, he got married.

They shut the rug mill down,
and so he went to work

on the Ford Motor plant line
in New Brunswick.

Then he worked at the Nescafé plant
in Freehold,

worked in a plastics factory in town.

He was a truck driver, a bus driver,
drove a taxi.

He lived mostly at home,
except for his second home,

which was a little local bar
in the center of town.

Now, to a child, bars in Freehold
were these citadels of great mystery.

[audience chuckles]

When you walked through barroom doors
in my hometown,

you entered the mystical realm of men.

On the rare night
that my mother would call my father home,

we would slowly drive through town
until we drew to a stop

outside of a single lit door.

She'd look at me and say,
"Go in and get your dad."

[clicks tongue]
This both thrilled and terrified me.

Thrilled me,
because I had been given the license

by my mother,

-the law...
-[audience chuckles]

...to go into the bar!

I'm a kid!

But it terrified me,

because to enter the bar

is to enter my father's privileged,
private, and sacred space.

He was not to be disturbed
when he's down at the bar.

-Everybody knew that.
- [audience chuckles]

So, I would walk in.

And I was waist-high, and like a Jack
who climbed some dark beanstalk

into a land of giants,

all I remember is the men towering
over me on their way out the door.

Now, once you were in,
to the left against the wall

was a line of red leather booths

that were filled
with husband and wife tag team drinkers.

Now, they were your hard-core regulars,

there night after night
after night, all right?

Now, to the right was the bar,

a line of stools filled by a barricade
of broad working-class backs,

clinking glasses, too loud laughter,
and very few women.

I would stand there lost in the noise
and the hustle of the crowd

and I would drink in
that dim smell of beer

and booze and aftershave.

That, to a kid,
that was the scent of adulthood.

It was the scent of manhood.

I wanted some of that, you know?

Finally, somebody would notice me
and draw me over to my pop.

Now, my view from the floor
was the first thing I'd see

is the chrome legs of the barstool.

Then I'd see his black shoes,
white socks, dark green work trousers,

powerful legs and haunches.

My dad, till the day he died,
had the legs and an ass of a rhinoceros.

[audience laughs]

And-- and his trousers always looked
like they were stretched,

stretched over those legs and ass somehow.
I don't know how.

He was always busting out, you know?

Uh, then I would see
his black Garrison work belt,

his green work shirt, and then his face.

By the time I got there,
his face was flushed red,

red as a tomato because he was Irish,

and whatever he drank
went straight to his face.

All right? He couldn't hide a thing
when he came home, you know? Uh...

And not only was it red,
but it was like... [mumbles]

...it was, like, distorted, too,
into some sort of booze mask, you know,

by... by Mr. Schlitz and-- and...

It was so foreign to me as a child that,



Fuck, I don't know! [laughs]

But it was scary, and he'd be peering
down over his shoulder,

down through cigarette smoke
and he'd be looking at me like,

"I've never seen you before
in my fuckin' life."

[audience gives scattered applause]

[audience chuckles]

I'd then uttered the immortal words
that I was sent to deliver,

"Mom wants you to come home."

[audience laughs]

I'd hear, "Go outside.
I will be right out."

And I would follow my breadcrumb trail
back out the barroom door,

I would hop into the backseat
and I would inform my mother...


"Um, he'll be right out.
He'll be right out."

[playing harmonica]

♪ Last night I dreamed that ♪

♪ I was a child ♪

♪ Out where the pines grow ♪

♪ Wild and tall ♪

♪ I was trying to ♪

♪ Make it home through the forest ♪

♪ Before the darkness ♪

♪ Darkness falls ♪

♪ I heard the wind rustling ♪

♪ Through the trees ♪

♪ And ghostly voices ♪

♪ Rose from the fields ♪

♪ I ran with my heart pounding ♪

♪ Down that broken path ♪

♪ With the devil ♪

♪ Snappin' at my heels ♪

♪ I broke through the trees and ♪

♪ There in the night ♪

♪ My father's house stood ♪

♪ Shining hard and bright ♪

♪ The branches and brambles ♪

♪ Tore my clothes and scratched my arms ♪

♪ But I ran till I fell ♪

♪ Shaking in his arms ♪

♪ I awoke and I imagined ♪

♪ The hard things that pulled us apart ♪

♪ Would never again ♪

♪ Tear us from each other's hearts ♪

♪ I got dressed, and to his house ♪

♪ I did ride ♪

♪ From out on the road
I could see its windows ♪

♪ Shining in light ♪

♪ But I walked up the steps ♪

♪ And I stood on the porch ♪

♪ And a woman I didn’t recognize ♪

♪ She came and spoke to me
Through a chained door ♪

♪ Well, I told her my story ♪

♪ And who I'd come for ♪

♪ She said, "I'm sorry, son
But no one by that name ♪

♪ Lives here anymore" ♪

Now, those whose love we wanted
but didn't get,

we emulate them.

It's the only way we have in our power

to get the closeness and the love
that we needed and desired.

So, when I was a young man
and looking for a voice

to meld with mine, to sing my songs,
and to tell my stories,

well, I chose my father's voice.

Because there was something sacred
in it to me.

When I went looking for something to wear,

I put on a factory worker's clothes,

because they were my dad's clothes.

And all we know about manhood
is what we have seen

and what we have learned

from our fathers,
and my father was my hero

and my greatest foe.

Not long after he died, I had this dream.

I'm on stage,
I'm in front of thousands of people

and my dad's back from the dead,
and he's sitting in the audience.

And suddenly, I'm kneeling next to him
in the aisle.

And for a moment,
we both watch the man on fire on stage.

And then, to my dad, who for years,

he sat at that kitchen table, unreachable,

in what I was too young

and I was too stupid
to understand was his depression.

Well, I kneel next to him in the aisle...

and I brush his forearm...

and I say, "Look, Dad,

that guy on stage.

That's how I see you."

♪ My father's house shines ♪

♪ Hard and bright ♪

♪ It stands like a beacon ♪

♪ Calling me in the night ♪

♪ Calling and calling ♪

♪ So cold and alone ♪

♪ Shining cross this dark highway ♪

♪ Where our sins lie unatoned ♪

[audience applauds]

Now, my mom
was a different story altogether.

I'm gonna release you
from suicide watch right now.

[audience chuckles]

Snap out of it! Come on.

Because my mother was bright, happy.

She'd merrily make conversation
with a broom handle.

She believed that there was good faith,
good heart, good hope in all citizens.

She gave the world a lot more credit,
perhaps, than it deserves,

but that was her way.

Now, on school mornings-- I hated school.

That's just Rock Star 101.

[audience chuckles]

If you don't hate school in my business,

please keep your fucking day job,
all right?

[audience laughs]

Because it's a sign.
It's a sign that, brother,

you're going nowhere, man. Nowhere.

You need to have hatred in your heart

to get to the top where I am, all right?

You've got to hate, all right? Uh...

So, of course I hated getting up.

And, uh, my mom had perfected
this technique in the morning

where she'd stand over my bed
with a glass of ice water

and give me 30 seconds.

You know, "Five, four, three, two..."

Boom! Niagara Falls.

I would get dressed,
I would drift downstairs to breakfast,

where I would feast daily
on a huge bowl of Sugar Pops.

A fine product...

[audience chuckles]

...with just one problem.

They don't put enough sugar
in those Sugar Pops.

So, I wasn't content
until I snowed more sugar

on my Sugar Pops
until they looked like the Himalayas.

And then... Mmm!
[in gruff voice] "Good!"

[in normal voice]
With a buzz on and a kiss from my mom,

I was off

with my sister, lumbering up the street
with our book bags

as my mom's high heels clicked lightly
in the other direction

toward Lawyers Title Insurance Company
in town center.

She was a legal secretary.

That was the job she did
since the day she got out of high school,

50 years that followed.

Goes to work, doesn't miss a day,
never sick,

never down, never complains.

Work doesn't appear to be a burden
for her,

but it's a source of energy
and of social pleasure.

Now, some evenings, I would meet my mother
at closing time,

and we would be the last
to leave the office,

and this was always a great privilege
to me.

I would have my mother all to myself.

And with the building empty,
her high heels would echo

down the long linoleum hallway.

And with the fluorescent lights out,
lawyers' cubicles empty,

secretaries' desks empty,
typewriters covered,

silent, the building was so still
after all the noise of the day.

You know, it was so--
It got so quiet, it was as if...

It-- It was as if the building itself
was resting

after a long day of service
in the interests of our town.

And then suddenly,
we'd be through the front door

and out on Main Street

in the five o'clock rush hour,
and she would stride along,

statuesque, and I would be running
alongside her just...

trying to keep up and I would be,
you know, looking up at her.

And, uh, it's a sight
that I've never, never forgotten.

My mother walking home from work.

It had some...

just some eternal impact on me.

You know? Uh...

She-- She always had
these very ethnic features.

She had...

coal-black hair, Italian olive skin,
and when she was young,

she wore that red lipstick
that was very fashionable

in the '50s.

And she'd be looking down at me
with a look that, for me,

was like the grace of Mary, you know?

Made me understand,
for the first time, how good it feels

to feel pride in somebody that you love,

and who loves you back.

You know, she let the town know
that we are handsome,

responsible members
of this shit-dog burgh,

pulling our own individual weight

doing what has to be done
day after day.

We have a place here that we have earned!

And we have a reason to open our eyes
at the break of each day

and breathe in a life
that's steady and good.

Now, my mom was truthfulness,
consistency, good humor,

professionalism, grace,
kindness, optimism, civility,

fairness, pride in yourself,

love, faith in your family,

commitment, joy in your work,
and a never-say-die thirst

for living, for living and for life.

And most importantly, for dancing.

My mother and her two sisters
were dancing machines, all right?

They grew up in the '40s
with the big bands and the swing bands

and they--
they learned to jitterbug and-- and...


It was in their bones, you know?

My mom is seven years into Alzheimer's.

And she's 93.

But dancing and the desire
and need to dance is something that...

it hasn't left her.

Remains an essential,
primal part of who she is.

It's beyond language.
It's more powerful than memory.

And when she comes in the door,
we make sure there's music on.

She wants to dance, you know?

Uh, these things were the embodiment
of my mother.

They were her heart.

She carried on and she carries on
as if they never,

never deserted her.

♪ Dirty old street
All slushed up in the rain and snow ♪

♪ Little boy and his ma
Shivering outside ♪

♪ A rundown music store window ♪

♪ That night on top of a Christmas tree ♪

♪ Shines one beautiful star ♪

♪ And lying underneath
A brand-new Japanese guitar ♪

♪ I remember in the morning, Ma
Hearing your alarm clock ring ♪

♪ I'd lie in bed and listen
To you gettin' ready for work ♪

♪ The sound of your makeup case
On the sink ♪

♪ And the ladies at the office ♪

♪ All lipstick, perfume
And rustlin' skirts ♪

♪ How proud and happy you always looked
Walking home from work ♪

♪ If Pa's eyes were windows
Into a world so deadly and true ♪

♪ You couldn't stop me from looking ♪

♪ But you kept me from crawlin' through ♪

♪ It's a funny old world, Ma ♪

♪ Where a little boy's wishes come true ♪

♪ Well, I got a few left in my pocket ♪

♪ And a special one just for you ♪

♪ It ain't no phone call on Sunday
Flowers or a Mother's Day card ♪

♪ It ain't no house on a hill ♪

♪ With a garden and a nice little yard ♪

♪ I got my hot rod down on Bond Street
I'm older ♪

♪ But you'll know me in a glance ♪

♪ We'll find us
A little rock 'n' roll bar ♪

♪ And we'll go out and dance ♪

♪ Well, it was me in my Beatle boots ♪

♪ You in pink curlers and matador pants ♪

♪ Pullin' me up off the couch ♪

♪ To do the twist
For my uncles and aunts ♪

♪ Well, I found a girl of my own now ♪

♪ And I popped the question
On your birthday ♪

♪ She stood waiting on the front porch
While you told me to get out there ♪

♪ And say what I had to say ♪

♪ Well, last night we all sat around ♪

♪ Laughing at the things
That guitar bought us ♪

♪ And I laid awake thinking ♪

♪ About the other things it's brought us ♪

♪ Well, tonight I'm takin' requests
Here in the kitchen ♪

♪ This one's for you, Ma
Let me come right out and say it ♪

♪ But if you're looking for a sad song ♪

♪ Hell, I ain't gonna play it ♪

♪ Ain't no phone call on Sunday
Flowers or a Mother's Day card ♪

♪ It ain't no house on a hill
With a garden and a nice little yard ♪

♪ I got my hot rod down on Bond Street ♪

♪ I'm older, but you'll know me ♪

♪ You'll know me in a glance ♪

♪ We'll find us
A little rock 'n' roll bar ♪

♪ We'll go out and dance ♪

♪ We'll find us
A little rock 'n' roll bar ♪

♪ And we'll go out and dance ♪

[audience cheers and applauds]

There's nothing like being young
and leaving someplace.

That was a feeling that, oh,

I loved.

Maybe that's why I became a musician.


Sleep late, stay up late.

And you do an awful lot of leaving.

Night I left Freehold for the last time,

I laid back on the couch,
it was perched high atop a load

of the band's junk furniture

in the back of an open flatbed truck
on a beautiful summer night.

I was 19 years old.

-[grunts] Ooh... that felt pretty good.
-[Bruce and audience chuckle]

Soft ocean breeze of the shore
was reaching all the way inland.

And as we drew through town,

for the very last time,

we were stopped by the police...

[audience chuckles]

...who informed us that there was a law
against moving after dark.

[audience chuckles]

[in high-pitched voice] What the fuck?

[in normal voice]
Who the fuck would know that?

Don't move your shit after dark?

What are we running off with,
Freehold's great antiquities?

[audience laughs]

The sun goes down,

they'll bust your ass in Freehold, son.

Anyway, they, uh...
They sent us on our way.

Glad to be rid of the town hippies,
I guess.

And so, I lay back on my couch

and I was watching
the tree branches rush above me

and the stars scrolling in the night sky,
and I remember

I felt absolutely wonderful.

I had nothing, no parents.

They had moved away
with my little sister Pam

to California in 1969.

My sister Virginia,
great soul that she is,

she got pregnant and had a baby at 18.

She left high school,
married a competitive bull rider

and they moved into the wilds
of southern New Jersey,

because that's where the cowboys live.

-[audience laughs]
-I ain't kidding.

The real joke is, 50 years later,

they're still together
and they still go to the rodeo.

[audience laughs and applauds]

Well, I had no money and no family
and no realistic future.

But yet, I remember laying on that couch
with the summer wind rushing over me

and, you know,
that-- that saltwater smell in the air

of the shore coming on, and thinking...

I was just happy.

I was happy.

I got it all, you know?
Maybe I did, you know?

Maybe there's nothing like that moment
in your life of being young and...

leaving someplace,
all that youthful freedom.

You feel-- Finally being untethered
from everything you've ever known:

the life you've lived, your past,
your parents,

the world you've gotten used to
and that you've loved and hated.

Your life laying before you
like a blank page.

It's the one thing I miss
about getting older,

I miss the beauty of that blank page.

So much life in front of you.

Its promise, its possibilities,
its mysteries, its adventures.

That blank page...

just laying there.

Daring you to write on it.

[playing "Thunder Road"]

[audience applauds]

♪ The screen door slams ♪

♪ Mary's dress sways ♪

♪ Like a vision she danced
Across the porch as the radio plays ♪

♪ It's Roy Orbison
Singing for the lonely ♪

♪ It's me, and I want you only ♪

♪ Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again ♪

♪ Don't you run back inside, darling
You know just what I'm here for ♪

♪ You're scared and you're thinking ♪

♪ That maybe we ain't that young anymore ♪

♪ Show a little faith
There's magic in the night ♪

♪ Ain't a beauty
But, hey, you're all right ♪

♪ Oh, and that's all right with me ♪

♪ You can hide neath your covers
And study your pain ♪

♪ Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain ♪

♪ Waste your summer praying in vain ♪

♪ For a savior to rise
From these streets ♪

♪ Well, I'm no hero, that's understood ♪

♪ All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood ♪

♪ With a chance to make it good somehow ♪

♪ Hey, what else can we do now? ♪

♪ Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair ♪

♪ Well, the night's busting open
These two lanes ♪

♪ Will take us anywhere ♪

♪ We got one last chance
To make it real ♪

♪ To trade in these wings
On some wheels ♪

♪ Climb in back
Heaven's waiting down on the tracks ♪

♪ Oh-oh, come take my hand ♪

♪ We're riding out tonight
To case this promised land ♪

♪ Oh-oh-oh, Thunder Road
Oh, Thunder Road, Thunder Road ♪

♪ Yeah, lying out there
Like a killer in the sun ♪

♪ Hey, I know it's late
But we can make it if we run ♪

♪ Whoa, oh, oh, Thunder Road, sit tight ♪

♪ Take hold, Thunder Road ♪

♪ Well, I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk ♪

♪ My car's out back
If you're ready to take ♪

♪ That long, long, long walk ♪

♪ From your front porch to my front seat ♪

♪ The door's open
But the ride, it ain't free ♪

♪ I know you're lonely
There's words that I ain't spoken ♪

♪ Tonight we'll be free ♪

♪ All the promises will be broken ♪

♪ There were ghosts in the eyes
Of all the men you sent away ♪

♪ They haunt this dusty beach road ♪

♪ In the skeleton frames
Of burned-out Chevrolets ♪

♪ They scream your name at night
In the streets ♪

♪ Your graduation gown
Lies in rags at their feet ♪

♪ In the lonely cool before dawn ♪

♪ You hear their engines roaring on ♪

♪ But when you get to the porch
They're gone ♪

♪ On the wind ♪

♪ So, Mary, climb in ♪

♪ It's a town full of losers ♪

♪ We're pulling out of here to win ♪

♪ La-da-da-da-da ♪

♪ La-da ♪

♪ La-da-da-da-da-da-da ♪

♪ La-da-da, da-da-da, la-da-da-da ♪

♪ La-da-da-da ♪

♪ Doo... ♪

[music resolves]

[audience cheering and applauding]

So... So, I'm 20 years old

and I'm living and playing
on the Jersey Shore

and I'm waiting to be discovered.

Now, I have some confidence.

I've been around a bit.

And without a doubt,

I am definitely the best thing
that I've ever seen.

[audience laughs]

I've already played in front
of every conceivable audience.

I have played firemen's fairs,

midnight madness, supermarket openings,
drive-in movies,

uh, in front of the concession stand
in between films.

I've played beach parties,
officers' clubs,

pizza parlors, coffee shops,

bowling alleys, trailer parks,
roller rinks, VFW halls,

CYO canteens, the Elks Lodge,
YMCA gymnasiums,

hockey rinks, county fairs, carnivals,
high school dances, weddings,

fraternity parties,
[loudly] bar mitzvahs...

-[audience laughs]
-...soul revues, battle of the bands,

Sing Sing Prison,
and Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital.

[audience laughing and applauding]

Send me your murderers and your maniacs
and let me entertain them, all right?

That's what I do. That's all true.

That's all before I was 23 years old.

I'm frustrated. I listen to the radio

and I think, "I'm as good as that guy.

I'm better than that guy.

So why not me?"

Answer: because I live
in the fucking boondocks, all right?

Let me explain this to you.
I live in the boondocks.

There's nobody here,
and no one comes down here.

It's a grave.

There was no Jersey, Jersey,
Jersey Shore, Jersey Almighty shit.

-[audience laughs]
-[scattered applause]

I invented that.

[audience laughing, cheering,
and applauding]

Before me...

Jersey was Jeserkhistan.


One of the little -stan things
that nobody knows a fucking thing about.

You know?

And New York was a million miles away

from the Jersey Shore.
In my little town as a child,

we knew no one who had ever been
to New York City.

[audience chuckles]

Jesus Christ, it was--
it was only an hour away!

[audience laughs]

But no, you might as well have said
you're going to the fucking Moon.

"Hey, we're going to the Moon,
you wanna go?" "No, no, no.

No, New York. No..." [mutters]

We were provincial.

Everybody was afraid
of the big city. [laughs]

And there was no Internet,
there was no ET, or MTV,

or cable TV, or satellite, or...

This is before anyone and everyone's
ass crack from Anyplace, USA...

could be seen all over the world,

uh, should they choose,
in the push of a key, in the next instant.

So who was gonna come
to the Jersey Shore

to discover the next big thing in 1971?

[no audible dialogue]

You're correct.

[audience laughs]


[audience laughs]

All we heard down there
was the sound of...

one hand clapping.

Wasn't gonna happen.

I had one shot.

My girlfriend
at the time did me a great favor.

Brought a guy who had
a successful recording band

down to the Student Prince,
our club in Asbury Park,

to discover us.

We got up on a little stage
in a club that fit 150 people.

It was about half full.

And we played for this guy

like we were at Madison Square Garden.

Everything we had, all night long.

We played five sets,
from 9:00 p.m. till 3:00 a.m.

At the end of the night,
I was soaked to my bones.

I got off the bandstand,
this guy walked up to me.

He looked me in the eye,
shook my hand and said,

"You guys are the best unsigned band
I've ever seen."

Then he slept with my girlfriend
and left town.

[audience laughs]

That's the end of that story.

[audience chuckles]

[scattered applause]

It's a sad ending.

I mean, I don't--
But that was enough for me.

I gathered together the men...

and I said, "Gentlemen,
we are going to have to leave

the confines of the Jersey Shore

and venture into parts unknown...

if we want to be seen,

heard by anybody or discovered."

I found a manager, surfboard manufacturer
from the West Coast--

he'd moved East-- by the name
of Carl Virgil "Tinker" West.

Now, together, he,
Mad Dog Lopez, and myself

we lived in the surfboard factory.

In the industrial wastelands
of Wanamassa, New Jersey.

Tinker said he had some remaining
rock 'n' roll contacts in San Francisco.

So we all got excited,
and he said if we could get there,

something might happen.

So we saved up all our money
until we had $100.

All right?

And then me, Danny Federici,
Mad Dog Lopez,

Little Vinnie Roslin, our bass player,

rigged out Danny's station wagon
for the drive.

Put a mattress in the back
for the drivers to spell each other

and to sleep in on the way out there.

We rigged Tinker's old '40s flatbed
to carry our equipment

and we had three days
to make it across the country

for a New Year's Eve gig
in Big Sur, California.

Now, three days means

those are gonna be thousand-mile days.

You can make it, but you can't stop.

You stop for gas and for nothing else.

You drive, drive, drive, drive,
72 hours straight.

Somebody's driving all the time
around the clock.

Now, of course, we lost Danny

and the entire station wagon
full of drivers

-in Nashville, Tennessee.
-[audience chuckles]

Now, there's no cellular phones.

Young people, take a moment.

[audience laughs and applauds]

[Bruce] Let's try it.

Imagine a world
without the cellular phone.

When you lose someone

in that world
without the cellular phone...

oh, they're fucking lost.

[audience laughs]

There's no device.

You can't get in touch with them.
They're gone!

Out of your life!

[audience chuckles]

Into the ether.

So now, it's just Tinker and me,
Tinker's dog,

thousands of miles to go,

and we got several problems.
One is I have no license.

Second problem is I don't have a clue
as to how to drive.

And by that, I mean the man

who would very, very shortly
write "Racing in the Street"...

[audience laughs]


That's how good I am.

Because, at 21,
I had never driven a fucking block.

Around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m.,

Tinker's eyes glass over
and he says, "I'm fried.

I need to get some sleep.
It's your turn to drive."

I go, "Tink, I can't drive."

He says, "Springsteen,
there's nothing to it.

Idiots all over the world are doing it,
all right?"

He pulls me into a parking lot.
He puts me behind the wheel.

I start grinding gears,
pumping the clutch,

jerking the truck all over the lot--
It's a 1940s manual transmission.

I can't get past first gear!

After a moment Tinker says,
"This isn't going to work,

but I got another idea."

He gets in the driver's seat.

He slips in the clutch.
He smoothly shifts it into first.

He eases out on the clutch.

He gets that truck going
on a sweet little roll,

looks at me and says,
"Now let's switch seats."

[audience laughs]

And that's what we did.

I was fine in second, third, and fourth
and I could keep it in between the lines

as long as I didn't have to stop
or go near first gear.

If I've gotta do either of those things,
I have to wake up Mr. West.

All right? Now, it doesn't matter

because he's awake anyway,

because the guy who can't drive
is driving!

[audience laughs]

You're not gonna sleep through that!

So... [mumbles]

You'd be surprised how far
you can go across this big country

without having to stop. You know, it's...

it's a long ways between things out there,

and, man, I drove my share

of 2,000 miles...

in second, third, and fourth gear.

[chuckles, laughing]

Without killing anybody.

[audience chuckles]

Uh... And we made it on time,
you know, but, uh...

that trip was...

-[strums Fsus chord]
-[clicks tongue]

...was where I saw the United States
at its fullest

and as a young man, I was overwhelmed
by its size and its beauty, and...

this is a short piece
from the book about...

riding across the country
for the very first time.

[plays chords]

The country was beautiful.

And I felt a great elation at the wheel
as we crossed the western desert at dawn.

The deep blue, purple shadowed canyons.

The pale yellow morning sky

with all of its color drawn out,

leaving just
the black silhouetted mountains

in your rearview mirror.

Then with the eastern sun rising
at our backs,

the deep reds and the browns
of the plains and the hills

came to life slowly in front of us.

Your palms turn salty white
on the wheel from the aridity.

Morning woke the Earth
into this muted color.

And then came the flat light
of the midday sun

and everything stood revealed
as pure horizon.

Just sky, sky, sky, and more sky.

Lowering onto two lanes of blacktop

and disappearing into nothing.

My favorite thing.

Then the evening
with the sun burning red into your eyes

and dropping gold
into the western hills in front of you.

All felt like home to me.

And I fell into a lasting love affair
with the desert.

[playing "The Promised Land"]

♪ On a rattlesnake speedway
In the Utah desert ♪

♪ I pick up my money
And head back into town ♪

♪ Driving across
The Waynesboro county line ♪

♪ I got the radio on
And I'm just killing time ♪

♪ Working all day in my dad's garage ♪

♪ Yeah
Driving all night chasing some mirage ♪

♪ Pretty soon, darling
I'm gonna take charge ♪

♪ Well, the dogs on Main Street howl
'Cause they understand ♪

♪ If I could take this moment
Into my hands ♪

♪ Mister, I ain't a boy ♪

♪ No, I'm a man ♪

♪ I believe there’s a promised land ♪

♪ I've done my best now
To live the right way ♪

♪ I get up every morning
Go to work each day ♪

♪ But your eyes go blind
And your blood runs cold ♪

♪ Sometimes I feel so weak ♪

♪ So weak I want to explode ♪

♪ Explode and tear this whole town apart ♪

♪ Take a knife and cut this pain
From my heart ♪

♪ Try to find somebody itching
For something to start ♪

♪ Well, the dogs on Main Street howl
'Cause they understand ♪

♪ If I could take one moment
Into my hands ♪

♪ Mister, I ain't a boy ♪

♪ No, I'm a man ♪

♪ I believe there’s a promised land ♪

♪ There's a dark cloud rising
From the desert floor ♪

♪ I packed my bags and I'm heading
Straight into the storm ♪

♪ Gonna be a twister
To blow everything down ♪

♪ That ain't got the faith
To stand its ground ♪

♪ Blow away the dreams
That tear you apart ♪

♪ Blow away the dreams
That break your heart ♪

♪ Blow away the lies
That leave you nothing ♪

♪ Nothing but lost and brokenhearted ♪

♪ Well, the dogs on Main Street howl
'Cause they understand ♪

♪ If I could take this moment
Into my hands ♪

♪ Mister, I ain't a boy ♪

♪ No, I'm a man ♪

♪ I believe there’s a promised land ♪

♪ I believe there’s a promised land ♪

♪ I believe ♪

♪ There’s a promised land ♪

[audience cheering and applauding]

So, it's-- it's 1980.

I'm 30 years old, I'm on another
cross-country trip with a buddy of mine

and we stop outside of Phoenix to gas up.

[inhales] Go into a small-town drugstore,

I'm rifling through a rack
of paperback books,

I come across a book
called Born on the Fourth of July

by a Vietnam veteran named Ron Kovic.

Now, his book was a testimony
of the experience

that he'd had as a combat infantryman
in Southeast Asia.

A week or two later,

I'm bunked in at the fabulous
Sunset Marquis motel in Los Angeles.

Uh-- For the uninformed,
it's kind of an upscale,

-lowlife rock star hangout, all right?
-[audience laughs]

Uh, small world theory.

Small world theory proves itself
once again.

I'd been seeing a young guy
with shoulder-length hair

sitting in a wheelchair
by the pool for several days.

So, one afternoon he rolled up to me
and said, "Hi, I'm Ron Kovic.

I wrote a book
called Born on the Fourth of July."

I said, "Jeez. I just-- I just read it.
And it-- it destroyed me."

He spent the afternoon talking to me
about many returned soldiers

who were struggling
with a wide variety of problems,

and he wanted to know if I'd take a drive
with him to the vet center in Venice...

meet some
of the Southern California veterans.

So I said, "Sure."
The next day, we headed out there,

and I'm usually pretty easy with people,
but once we were at the center,

I didn't know how to respond
to what I was seeing. Uh...

Talking about my own life
to these guys seemed frivolous.

You know?

There was homelessness and drug problems
and post-traumatic stress and...

young guys my age
dealing with life-changing...

physical injuries.

And it made me think about my own friends
from back home.

Walter Cichon.

Walter Cichon was the greatest
rock 'n' roll front man

on the Jersey Shore
in the bar band '60s.

He was in a group called The Motifs,

and he was the first real rock star
that I ever laid my eyes on.

He just had it in his bones.
He had it in his blood.

It was in the way that he carried himself.

On stage, he just was deadly.

He was raw and sexual and dangerous,

and in our little area he taught us,
by the way that he lived,

that you could live your life
the way you chose.

You could look the way you wanted to look,

you could play the music
you wanted to play,

you could be who you wanted to be,

and you could tell anyone
who didn't like it

to go fuck themselves.

-[audience laughs]
-Walter had a...

guitar-playing brother, Raymond.

Raymond was...

tall, tall, kind of sweetly clumsy guy,

one of those big guys
who just isn't comfortable with his size.

You know, uh, he's always, like,
"Ooh. Ooh."

Knocking into shit wherever he is.
And wherever that is,

there is just not enough space
for Raymond, for some reason.

And, uh...

But the strange thing was
he was always dressed impeccably

with a pastel shirt, long pointed collar,
sharkskin pants, nylon socks,

spit-shined pointy-toed shoes,
slicked-back black hair

with a little curl that would come down
when he was playing the guitar.

Uh, Raymond was my guitar hero.

He was just a shoe salesman in the day.

And, uh, Walter, I think,
worked construction.

They were only a little bit older
than we were,

never had any national hit records,
never did any big tours,

but they were gods to me.


the hours I spent standing
in front of their band,

studying, studying, studying,
class in session.

Night after night,
watching Ray's fingers fly

over the fretboard,
and Walter would scare...

the shit out of half the crowd.

Oh, man.

They were essential to my development
as a young musician.

I learned so much
from Walter and from Ray.

And my dream,

my dream was I just wanted
to play like Ray

and walk like Walter.

And then there was Bart Haynes.

Bart Haynes was the drummer
from my first band, The Castiles.

He was the first real drummer
I ever played with.

He was an absurdly funny kid,

classic class clown,
was a good, good drummer...

with one strange quirk--
couldn't play "Wipe Out" by The Surfaris.

[audience laughs]

This may not seem so critical to you
right now, I understand.

But in those days,

your skills, your mettle,

your self-worth as a drummer
and as a human being

was tested in front of your peers
once an evening

by your performance of "Wipe Out."

Now, Bart could play
every other fucking thing,

but when it came to "Wipe Out"...

beyond his capabilities!

[audience laughs]

It was tragic.

You know, uh...

One day he got off...

got up off the drum stool,
he joined the Marines, and...

Walter and Bart... [exhales]

...they were both killed in the war
in 1967 and '68.

Bart was the first young man
from our hometown

to give his life in Vietnam.

So, I really didn't know what to say
to the guys that I was meeting in Venice.

I sat there for most of the afternoon
and I just listened.

Then in 1982, I wrote
and I recorded my soldier story.

It was a protest song, a GI blues.

The verses are just
an accounting of events.

The choruses were a declaration
of your birthplace...

and the right to all of the blood
and the confusion

and the pride and the shame
and the grace...

that comes with birthplace.

In 1969, Mad Dog, Little Vinnie,
and myself,

we were all drafted on the exact same day.

All three of us.

We rode together early one Monday morning
from the Selective Service Office

on probably the unhappiest bus
that ever pulled out of Asbury Park,

because we were on our way

to what we were sure
was going to be our funeral.

We'd seen it already, up very close.

When we got to the Newark Draft Board,
we did everything we could not to go.

And we succeeded, all three of us.

When I go to Washington,

and I have the occasion
to visit Walter and Bart,

I'm glad that Mad Dog's, Little Vinnie's,

for that matter,
my name isn't up on... on that wall.

But it was 1969, and thousands
and thousands of young men to come

would be called, simply sacrificed,

just to save face for the powers that be

who, by then, already knew.

They knew it was a lost cause.

And still, thousands and thousands...

of more young boys.

So, uh...

So I do sometimes wonder
who went in my place.

Because somebody did.

♪ Born down in a dead man's town ♪

♪ The first kick I took
Was when I hit the ground ♪

♪ You end up like a dog
That's been beat too much ♪

♪ Till you spend half your life
Just covering up ♪

♪ I was born in the USA ♪

♪ Born in the USA ♪

♪ I got in a little hometown jam ♪

♪ So they put a rifle in my hands ♪

♪ Sent me off to a foreign land ♪

♪ To go and kill the yellow man ♪

♪ I was born in the USA ♪

♪ Born in the USA ♪

♪ Come back home to the refinery ♪

♪ Hiring man says
"Son, if it was up to me" ♪

♪ Went down to see my VA man ♪

♪ He said, "Son, don't you understand?" ♪

♪ I had a brother at Khe Sahn
Fightin' off the Viet Cong ♪

♪ They're still there ♪

♪ He's all gone, gone ♪

♪ He had a woman he loved in Saigon ♪

♪ I got a picture of him in her arms ♪

♪ In her arms ♪

♪ Down in the shadow
Of the penitentiary ♪

♪ Out by the gas fires of the refinery ♪

♪ I'm 40 years burnin' down the road
The road, the road, the road ♪

♪ The road, the road
The road, the road, the road ♪

♪ I've got nowhere to run ♪

♪ I've got nowhere to go ♪

♪ I'm a long gone daddy ♪

♪ In the USA ♪

♪ I'm a cool, cool rocking daddy ♪

♪ In the USA ♪

[audience applauds]


a real rock 'n' roll band
evolves out of a common place and time.

Bands come out of towns,
out of a city, out of a neighborhood.

And they come along
at a particular moment, you know?

Bands are all about what happens
when musicians

who come from the same streets,

with the same passions and influences,
go in search of lightning and thunder!

They come together in a whole

that is greater than the sum
of their parts.

They may not be the best players.
That's not necessary.

They need to be the right players
and when they play together,

there is a communion of souls

and a natural brotherhood
and sisterhood manifests itself,

and a quest, a quest is begun.

You're in search of something,

an adventure's undertaken.

And you ride shotgun.

In a real band, the principles of math
get stood on their head.

And one plus one equals three.

[playing "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"]

[audience applauds]

Now one plus one equals two,
that happens every day.

That is not magic. That's the grind.

That's when you get up, one,

go to work, one, go to bed...

-[some audience members] Two.
-[audience laughs]

Two, geniuses, two. [laughs]

But when one plus one equals three,
that's when your life changes

and you see everything new.

And these are days
when you are visited by visions...

when the world around you
brings down the spirit,

and you feel blessed to be alive.

It is the essential equation of love.

There is no love without one plus one
equaling three.

It's the essential equation of art.

It's the essential equation
of rock 'n' roll.

It's the reason the universe
will never be fully comprehensible.

It's the reason "Louie Louie"
will never be fully comprehensible.

[audience laughs]

And it's the reason true rock 'n' roll

and true rock 'n' roll bands
will never die.

[continues playing
"Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"]

[audience applauds]

♪ Teardrops on the city
Bad Scooter searching for his groove ♪

♪ Whole world walking pretty
And you can't find the room to move ♪

♪ Everybody better move over, that's all ♪

♪ I'm running on the bad side
With my back to the wall ♪

♪ Tenth Avenue freeze-out ♪

♪ Tenth Avenue freeze-out ♪

♪ I'm stranded in the jungle ♪

♪ Trying to take in
All the heat that they're giving ♪

♪ Yeah, the night is dark
But the sidewalk's bright and lined ♪

♪ With the light of the living ♪

♪ From a tenement window
A transistor blasts ♪

♪ Turn around the corner
Things got real quiet real fast ♪

♪ I walked into
A Tenth Avenue freeze-out ♪

♪ Tenth Avenue freeze-out ♪

♪ And I'm all alone ♪

♪ I'm all alone ♪

♪ And I can't go home ♪

♪ I can't find my way back home now ♪

Now, Gary, Danny, Little Steven,
Mighty Max, Professor Roy,

Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa,
that is my one plus one equals...

-[audience] Three!
-Excellent, grasshopper.

[audience laughs]

But nobody captured
my audience's imagination

or their hearts like Clarence.

[audience cheers and claps]

Clarence was...

Clarence was a figure
out of a rock 'n' roll storybook,

and together, we told a story
that was bigger than...

any of the ones I'd written in my songs.

It was the story where,
not only did Scooter and the Big Man

bust the city in half...

but we remade the city.

We remade the city,
shaping it into the kind of place

where our friendship
and our love for one another

wouldn't have been
such an exceptional thing.

First night I saw Clarence,
he came walking out of the shadows

towards the bandstand,

nodded to me, got up,
stood to my right for the very first time.

He picked up his saxophone.

And when he played...

[playing piano]

When he played,
he whispered that story in my ear.

And then we whispered it into your ear.

And we carried it together for a long...

a long, good time.

The Big Man was big.

Everything about him.

His personality, his size, his laugh...

the sound of his saxophone.

When I first heard it, I thought it was
the biggest sound I ever heard.

And it was.

His heart and his problems,
they were big.


But he was elemental in my life.

And losing him was like losing the rain.

If I were a mystic... [sighs]

If I were a mystic,
I guess Clarence and my's friendship

would lead me to believe
that we-- we stood together

in other older times.

You know, in, uh...

in other lives.

Along other rivers.

In other ancient cities.

In other fields...

working side by side,

with the sun setting,

doing our modest version of God's work.

I'll see you in the next life, Big Man.

[audience applauds]

[continues playing
"Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"]

♪ When they made that change uptown ♪

♪ And the Big Man joined the band ♪

[audience clapping and whooping]

♪ From the coastline to the city, oh ♪

♪ The little pretties raise their hands ♪

♪ I'm gonna sit back
Right easy and laugh ♪

♪ When Scooter and the Big Man
Bust this city in half ♪

♪ With a Tenth Avenue freeze-out ♪

♪ Tenth Avenue freeze-out ♪

Ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it
for the biggest man you ever saw.

[audience cheering, clapping]

Clarence "Big Man" Clemons!

[applause continues]

And the legendary...

-[audience] Street Band!

That's it!

♪ Oh yeah ♪

♪ It's all right ♪


[audience cheering and clapping]

All right, all right,
she is the queen of my heart!

She is my flaming beauty!

-[man] Patricia!
-My Jersey girl.

She is a great songwriter.

She's one of the loveliest voices
I've ever heard.

She is smart, tough... but fragile.

[audience laughs]

Don't forget that part.

If we love those in whose company's
reflected the best of us,

that's the light that she shines on me.

In 1984 one night, I'm hanging out
at the Stone Pony

and this beautiful redhead shows up,
sits in with the Sunday night house band.

And that is the night
I fell in love with Patti's voice.

She got on stage, this blaze of red.

She performed a great version
of The Exciters' hit song "Tell Him."

So the first line of the first song
I ever heard Patti sing was...

[plays "Tell Him"]

♪ I know something about love ♪

[audience laughs]

She does. Ladies and gentlemen,
Patti Scialfa.

[audience cheering and clapping]

[applause continues]

Thank you.

[playing "Tougher Than the Rest"]

♪ Well, it's Saturday night ♪

♪ You're all dressed up in blue ♪

♪ I been watching you awhile ♪

♪ Maybe you’ve been watching me too ♪

♪ So somebody ran out ♪

♪ Left somebody's heart in a mess ♪

♪ Well, if you're looking for love ♪

♪ Honey, I'm tougher than the rest ♪

♪ Some girls, they want a handsome Dan ♪

♪ Or some good-lookin' Joe ♪

♪ On their arm, some girls ♪

♪ Like a sweet-talkin' Romeo ♪

♪ Well, round here, baby ♪

♪ I learned you get what you can get ♪

♪ So if you're rough enough for love ♪

♪ Honey, I'm tougher than the rest ♪

♪ Well, the road is dark ♪

♪ It's a thin, thin line ♪

♪ But I want you to know ♪

♪ I'll walk it for you anytime ♪

♪ Maybe your other men ♪

♪ Couldn't pass the test ♪

♪ If you're rough and ready for love ♪

♪ Honey, I'm tougher than the rest ♪

♪ Yeah, the road is dark ♪

[both] ♪ It's a thin, thin line ♪

♪ But I want you to know ♪

♪ I'll walk it for you anytime ♪

♪ Maybe your other men ♪

♪ Couldn't pass the test ♪

♪ If you're rough and ready for love ♪

♪ Honey, I'm tougher than the rest ♪

♪ Well, it ain't no secret ♪

♪ I've been around a time or two ♪

♪ Well, I don't know, baby ♪

♪ Maybe you've been around too ♪

♪ Well, there's another dance, honey ♪

♪ All you gotta do is say yes ♪

♪ And if you're rough and ready for love ♪

♪ Honey, I'm tougher than the rest ♪

♪ If you're rough enough for love ♪

♪ Baby, I'm tougher ♪

♪ Than the rest ♪

[audience cheering and clapping]

Yeah, trust...

Trust in a relationship's a fragile thing.

Uh... Always been a little complicated
for me

because trust requires allowing others

to see as much of our real selves
as we have the courage to reveal.

But, I mean, uh...

I don't want to see my real self.
Why would...?

Why would others want to?
You know? [laughing] But...

But it means allowing others to see
behind our many masks,

the masks we wear, overcoming that fear.

Or rather, learning how to love
and how to trust in spite of it.

That takes a little courage...

and a very strong partner.

'Cause in this life,
you make your choices,

you take your stand,

and you awaken
from that youthful spell of immortality

where it feels like the road
is gonna go on forever.

And you walk alongside your chosen partner
with the clock ticking.

And you recognize that life is finite,
that you've got just so much time.

And so together...

you name the things that will give
your life in that time its meaning,

its purpose, its fullness,
its very reality.

And this is what you build together.
This is...

what your love consists of.

This is what you...

This is your life, you know?

And these are things
that you can hold onto

when the storms come,

as they will.

♪ I hold you in my arms ♪

[audience applauds]

♪ As the band plays ♪

♪ What are those words whispered, baby ♪

♪ As you turn away? ♪

♪ I saw you last night ♪

♪ Out on the edge of town ♪

♪ I wanna read your mind
To know just what I've got ♪

♪ In this new thing I've found ♪

♪ So tell me what I see ♪

♪ When I look in your eyes ♪

♪ Is that you, baby ♪

♪ Or just a brilliant disguise? ♪

♪ A-ha, ah-ah-ise ♪

♪ I heard somebody call your name ♪

♪ From underneath our willow ♪

♪ I saw something tucked in shame ♪

♪ Underneath your pillow ♪

♪ Well, I've tried so hard, baby ♪

♪ But I just can't see ♪

♪ What a woman like you ♪

♪ Hmm, is doing with me ♪

♪ So tell me who I see ♪

♪ When I look in your eyes ♪

♪ Is that you, baby ♪

♪ Or just a brilliant disguise? ♪

♪ A-ha, ah-ah-ise ♪

♪ Now look at me, baby ♪

♪ I'm struggling to do everything right ♪

♪ And then it all falls apart ♪

♪ Oh, when out go the lights ♪

♪ I'm just a lonely pilgrim ♪

♪ I walk this world in wealth ♪

♪ I wanna know if it's you I don't trust ♪

♪ 'Cause I damn sure don't trust myself ♪

♪ Now, you play the loving woman ♪

♪ I'll play the faithful man ♪

♪ But just don't look too close ♪

♪ Into the palm of my hand ♪

♪ Yeah, we stood at the altar ♪

♪ The gypsy swore our future was right ♪

♪ But come the wee, wee hours ♪

♪ Maybe, baby, the gypsy lied ♪

♪ So when you look at me ♪

♪ You better look hard and look twice ♪

♪ Is that me, baby ♪

♪ Or just a brilliant disguise? ♪

♪ A-ha, ah-ah-ise ♪

♪ Tonight, our bed is cold ♪

♪ I'm lost in the darkness of our love ♪

♪ God have mercy on the man ♪

♪ Who doubts what he's sure of ♪

♪ Mmm ♪

♪ Mmm ♪

♪ Ooh, ooh ♪

[audience applauds]

Patti Scialfa!

[audience cheers]

She's a badass!

Gonna add this song to our set tonight.

All right, this is the final days
of Patti's first pregnancy.

I receive a surprise visit
from my father at my home in LA.

You know, he had driven 500 miles,

to knock on my door.

That's his style.

So at 11:00 a.m., we sit

in the sunlit dining room
and we're nursing morning beers.

-That's his style.
-[audience laughs]

It's my father's breakfast of champions.

When my dad, never a talkative man,
right, blurted out,

"You've been very good to us."

And I nodded that I had, you know?
And, uh...

And then he says,
"And I wasn't very good to you."

[mumbles] And the room just...

well, stood still...

as to my shock, the unacknowledgeable
was being acknowledged.

If I...

If I didn't know better,
I would have sworn an apology...

of some sort was being made.

And it was.

Here in the last days, before I was...

to become a father,
my own father was visiting me...

to warn me of the mistakes
that he had made,

and to warn me not to make them
with my own children.

[sighs] To release them
from the chain of our sins,

my father's and mine
and our fathers' before.

That they may be free...

to make their own choices
and to live their own lives.

We are ghosts or we are ancestors
in our children's lives.

We either lay our mistakes,
our burdens upon them

and we haunt them.

Or we assist them in laying
those old burdens down,

and we free them from the chain
of our own flawed behavior.

And as ancestors,
we walk alongside of them,

and we assist them
in finding their own way

and some transcendence.

My father...

on that day, was petitioning me

for an ancestral role in my life

after being a ghost for a long, long time.

[clicks tongue] He wanted me to write
a new end to our relationship,

and he wanted me to be ready
for the new beginning

that I was about to experience.

It was the greatest moment
in my life with my dad.

And it was all that I needed.

Yeah. [sighs]

♪ Out where the creek
Turns shallow and sandy ♪

♪ And the moon comes
Skimmin' away the stars ♪

♪ The wind in the mesquite
Comes rushin' over the hilltops ♪

♪ Straight into my arms ♪

♪ Straight into my arms ♪

♪ I'm riding hard
Carryin' a catch of roses ♪

♪ And a fresh map that I made ♪

♪ Tonight I'm gonna get birth naked
And bury my old soul ♪

♪ And dance on its grave ♪

♪ I'm gonna dance on its grave ♪

♪ It's been a long time comin', my dear ♪

♪ It's been a long time comin' ♪

♪ But now it's here, now it's here ♪

♪ Well, my daddy, he was just a stranger ♪

♪ Lived in a hotel downtown ♪

♪ When I was a kid, he was just somebody ♪

♪ Somebody I'd see around ♪

♪ Somebody I'd see around ♪

♪ Now down below and pullin' on my shirt ♪

♪ I got some kids of my own ♪

♪ If I had one wish ♪

♪ In this godforsaken world, kids
It'd be ♪

♪ Your mistakes would be your own ♪

♪ Yeah, your sins would be your own ♪

♪ It's been a long time comin', my dear ♪

♪ It's been a long time comin'
But now it's here ♪

♪ Now it's here ♪

♪ Out 'neath the arms of Cassiopeia ♪

♪ Where the sword of Orion sweeps ♪

♪ It's me and you, Rosie
Cracklin' like crossed wires ♪

♪ You breathin' in your sleep ♪

♪ You breathin' in your sleep ♪

♪ There's just a spark of campfire
Left burnin' ♪

♪ Two kids in a sleeping bag beside ♪

♪ Reach neath your shirt ♪

♪ Lay my hands across your belly
And feel ♪

♪ Another one kickin' inside ♪

♪ And I ain't gonna fuck it up this time ♪

♪ Oh, it's been a long time comin'
My dear ♪

♪ Oh, it's been a long time comin' ♪

♪ But now it's here ♪

♪ Now it's here ♪

[audience cheering and clapping]

[Bruce] All right.

I never believed that people come
to my shows

or to rock shows in general
to be told anything.

[audience chuckles]


I do believe that they come
to be reminded of things,

to be reminded of who they are
at their most joyous,

at their deepest when life feels full.

It's a good place to get in touch
with your heart and your spirit.

It's good to be amongst the crowd,

be reminded of who we are
and who we can be collectively.

Music does those things pretty well.

Sometimes, they can come in pretty handy.

And particularly these days,
when some reminding

of who we are and who we can be
isn't such a bad thing.

You know?

[audience applauds]

I-- I refer back to the weekend
of the March for Our Lives

when we saw all those young people
in Washington,

and citizens all around the country,

remind us of what faith in America

and what real faith in American democracy

and how sacred that is.

[crowd whooping and clapping]

You know...

that weekend, you just saw
what it actually looked and felt like.

It was just encouraging

to see all those people out on the street

and all that righteous passion alive
in the service of something good.

To see it's still there,

at the center of the beating heart
of our country...


in spite of what we've been going through.
And it was a good day, you know?

It was just...

it was just one good day.

But it was a necessary day.

Because these are times
when we've also seen folks marching,

and in the highest offices of our land,
who want to speak to our darkest angels,

who want to call up the ugliest
and the most divisive ghosts

of America's past.
And they want to destroy the idea

of an America for all.
That's their intention.

That's what we've been seeing,
in the outrage

of the broken families on the border,

and in hate-filled marches
on American streets this year.

Things I never thought
I would see again in my lifetime.

Things that I thought
were dead and gone...

forever, on the ash heap of history.

You know...

We've come too far and worked too hard,

too many good people paid
too high a price,

paid with their lives,
to allow this to happen now.

You know... [mumbles]

There's been too much hard work done,

and sacrifice.

There's a beautiful quote by Dr. King

that says,
"The arc of the moral universe is long,

but it bends toward justice."

It is important to believe in those words
and to carry yourself

and to act accordingly,
to live with compassion.

And to have faith
in that what we're seeing now,

it's just another hard chapter...

in the long, long, ongoing battle

for the soul of the nation.

[audience applauds]

♪ Men walkin' along the railroad tracks ♪

♪ Goin' someplace there's no goin' back ♪

♪ Highway patrol choppers
Comin' up over the ridge ♪

♪ Hot soup on a campfire
Under the bridge ♪

♪ Shelter line stretchin'
Round the corner ♪

♪ Welcome to the new world order ♪

♪ Families sleepin' in their cars
In the southwest ♪

♪ No home, no job, no peace, no rest ♪

♪ Well, the highway is alive tonight ♪

♪ But nobody's kiddin' nobody
About where it goes ♪

♪ I'm sittin' down here
In the campfire light ♪

♪ Searchin' for the ghost of Tom Joad ♪

♪ He pulls a prayer book out
Of his sleeping bag ♪

♪ Preacher lights up a butt
And takes a drag ♪

♪ Waitin' for when the last shall be first
And the first shall be last ♪

♪ In a cardboard box
Neath the underpass ♪

♪ Got a one-way ticket
To the promised land ♪

♪ You got a hole in your belly
And a gun in your hand ♪

♪ Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock ♪

♪ Bathin' in the city aqueduct ♪

♪ Well, the highway is alive tonight ♪

♪ Where it's headed, everybody knows ♪

♪ I'm sittin' down here
In the campfire light ♪

♪ Waitin' on the ghost of Tom Joad ♪

♪ Now Tom said ♪

♪ "Mom, wherever there's a cop
Beatin' a guy ♪

♪ Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries ♪

♪ Where there's a fight against the blood
And hatred in the air ♪

♪ Look for me, Mom, I'll be there ♪

♪ Wherever somebody’s fightin'
For a place to stand ♪

♪ Or a decent job or a helpin' hand ♪

♪ Wherever somebody's strugglin'
To be free ♪

♪ Look in their eyes, Mom
You'll see me" ♪

♪ Well, the highway is alive tonight ♪

♪ Where it's headed, everybody knows ♪

♪ I'm sittin' down here
In the campfire light ♪

♪ With the ghost of old Tom Joad ♪

[audience applauds]

[strumming softly]

♪ Can't see nothin' in front of me ♪

♪ Can't see nothin' coming up behind ♪

[audience applauds]

♪ I make my way through this darkness ♪

♪ Can't feel nothin'
But this chain that binds me ♪

♪ Lost track of how far I've gone ♪

♪ How far I've gone
How high I've climbed ♪

♪ On my back's a sixty pound stone ♪

♪ On my shoulder, a half mile of line ♪

♪ Come on up for the rising ♪

♪ Come on up, lay your hands in mine ♪

♪ Come on up for the rising ♪

♪ Come on up for the rising tonight ♪

♪ Left the house this morning ♪

♪ Bells ringing filled the air ♪

♪ Wearin' the cross of my calling ♪

♪ On wheels of fire
I come rollin' down here ♪

♪ Come on up for the rising ♪

♪ Come on up, lay your hands in mine ♪

♪ Come on up for the rising ♪

♪ Come on up for the rising tonight ♪

♪ Yeah, li, li, li, li, li-li, li, li ♪

♪ Li-li-li, li, li, li, li-li, li ♪

♪ There's spirits above and behind me ♪

♪ Faces gone black, eyes burnin' bright ♪

♪ May their precious blood bind me ♪

♪ Lord, as I stand
Before your fiery light ♪

♪ Li, li, li, li, li-li, li, li ♪

♪ Li-li-li, li, li, li, li-li, li ♪

♪ I see you, Mary, in the garden ♪

♪ In the garden of a thousand sighs ♪

♪ There's holy pictures of our children ♪

♪ Dancin' in a sky filled with light ♪

♪ May I feel your arms around me ♪

♪ May I feel your blood mix with mine ♪

♪ A dream of life comes to me ♪

♪ Like a catfish dancin'
On the end of my line ♪

♪ Sky of blackness and sorrow
A dream of life ♪

♪ Sky of love, sky of tears
A dream of life ♪

♪ Sky of glory and sadness
A dream of life ♪

♪ Sky of mercy, sky of fear
A dream of life ♪

♪ Sky of memory and shadow
A dream of life ♪

♪ Your burnin' winds
Fill my arms tonight ♪

♪ Sky of longing and emptiness ♪

♪ Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life ♪

♪ Come on up for the rising ♪

♪ Come on up, lay your hands in mine ♪

♪ Come on up for the rising ♪

♪ Come on up for the rising tonight ♪

♪ Hey, li, li, li, li, li-li, li, li ♪

♪ Li-li-li, li, li, li, li-li, li ♪

♪ Li-li-li, li, li, li, li-li, li, li ♪

♪ Li-li-li, li, li, li, li-li, li ♪

♪ A dream of life ♪

♪ A dream of life ♪

♪ A dream of life ♪

[audience applauds]

I always--
I always thought I was a typical American,

and so I fought my whole life,
and I studied and I played

and I worked,

'cause I wanted to hear and I wanted
to know the whole American story.

I wanted to know my story
and your story.

I felt like I needed to understand
as much of it as I could

in order to understand myself.

You know? Who was I? And...

where I came from and what that meant.

What did it mean to my family?
Where was I going?

Where were we going together
as a people?

And-- and what did it mean
to be an American?

And to be a part of that story
in this place and in this time.

I wanted to be able to celebrate
and honor its beauty,

its power.

And I wanted to be able
to be a critical voice

when I thought that
that's what the times called for.

But most of all,

more than anything else, I wanted
to be able to tell that story well to you.

That was my young promise to myself.

And this was my young promise to you.

From when I was a very young man,

I took my fun very seriously.

-[audience laughs]
-You know? [chuckles]

And this is what I have pursued
as my service.

I still believe in it as such.
This is what I've presented to you

all these years
as my long and noisy prayer,

as my magic trick.

-[crowd whooping, clapping]

I wanted...

I wanted to rock your very soul!

And have you bring it home
and pass it on and...

I wanted it to be sung and altered by you
and your folks and your children,

should they be interested.

I wanted it to be something
that you could call on

when things were good.

And, uh...

and when things were not so good.

You know, that it might strengthen,
help make sense of...

your story and your life the way
that you strengthen me and help me

make sense of my life.
You've provided me with purpose,

with meaning and with a great,
great amount of joy.

I hope I've done that for you

and that I've been
a good traveling companion.

[audience cheering and clapping]

Remember that the future
is not yet written.

So when things look dark,
do as my mighty mom would insist,

lace up your dancing shoes
and get to work.

[audience cheering]

[playing "Dancing in the Dark"]

♪ I get up in the evenin' ♪

♪ And I ain't got nothing to say ♪

♪ I come home in the mornin', ♪

♪ I go to bed feelin' the same way ♪

♪ I ain't nothin' but tired ♪

♪ Man, I'm just tired
And bored with myself ♪

♪ Hey there, baby ♪

♪ Hmm, I could use just a little help ♪

♪ You can't start a fire ♪

♪ You can't start a fire without a spark ♪

♪ This gun's for hire ♪

♪ Even if we're just dancin' in the dark ♪

♪ Messages keep getting clearer ♪

♪ Radios on and I'm movin'
Round the place ♪

♪ I check my look in the mirror ♪

♪ Wanna change my clothes
My hair, my face ♪

♪ Man, I ain't gettin' nowhere ♪

♪ Just livin' in a dump like this ♪

♪ There's somethin' happenin' somewhere ♪

♪ Mm, baby, I just know that there is ♪

♪ You can't start a fire ♪

♪ You can't start a fire without a spark ♪

♪ This gun's for hire ♪

♪ Even if we're just dancin' in the dark ♪

♪ Sit around gettin' older ♪

There's a joke here somewhere.

[audience laughs]

When I figure it out, I'll let you know.

[audience chuckles]

♪ All I know is that it's on me ♪

♪ Shake this world off my shoulders ♪

♪ Come on, baby, have a laugh on me ♪

♪ Stay on the streets of this town ♪

♪ Oh, and they'll be carvin' you up
That's right ♪

♪ Say you gotta stay hungry ♪

♪ Well, I'm just about starvin' tonight ♪

♪ I'm dyin' for some action ♪

♪ Sick of sittin' around here
Tryin' to write this book ♪

♪ I need a love reaction! ♪

[audience cheering, whooping]

♪ Come on now
Baby, gimme just one look ♪

♪ You can't start a fire ♪

♪ Sittin' round cryin' over
A broken heart ♪

♪ This gun's for hire ♪

♪ Even if we're just dancin' in the dark ♪

♪ You can't start a fire ♪

♪ Worryin' about your little world
Fallin' apart ♪

♪ This gun's for hire ♪

♪ Even if we're just dancin' in the dark ♪


[audience cheering]

♪ Even if we're just dancin' in the dark ♪

[audience clapping]

♪ Hey, baby ♪

♪ Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah ♪

[audience cheering and applauding]

♪ Grab your ticket and your suitcase ♪

♪ Thunder's rollin' down this track ♪

♪ Oh, you don't know
Where you're goin' now ♪

♪ But you know you won't be back ♪

♪ Well, darlin', if you're weary ♪

♪ Lay your head upon my chest ♪

♪ We'll take what we can carry
And we'll leave the rest ♪

♪ Well, big wheels roll through fields
Where sunlight streams ♪

♪ Oh, meet me ♪

♪ In a land of hope and dreams ♪

[audience cheers]

♪ Well, I will provide for you ♪

♪ And I'll stand by your side ♪

♪ You'll need a good companion now ♪

♪ Oh, for this part of the ride ♪

♪ Yeah, leave behind your sorrows ♪

♪ Let this day be the last ♪

♪ Well, tomorrow there'll be sunshine
Sunshine ♪

♪ And all this darkness past ♪

♪ Well, big wheels roll ♪

♪ Through fields where sunlight streams ♪

♪ Oh, meet me ♪

♪ In a land of hope and dreams ♪

♪ Well, this train ♪

♪ Carries saints and sinners ♪

♪ This train carries losers and winners ♪

♪ This train ♪

♪ Carries whores and gamblers
This train ♪

♪ Carries lost souls ♪

♪ I said this train ♪

♪ Carries brokenhearted, this train ♪

♪ Thieves and sweet souls departed
This train ♪

♪ Carries fools and kings
Lord, this train ♪

♪ All aboard ♪

♪ I said, now, this train... ♪

♪ Dreams will not be thwarted
This train ♪

♪ Faith will be rewarded, this train ♪

♪ Hear the steel wheels singin'
This train ♪

♪ Bells of freedom ringin’ ♪

♪ Well, big wheels roll ♪

♪ Through fields where sunlight streams ♪

♪ Oh, meet me ♪

♪ In a land of hope and dreams ♪

♪ Oh, meet me ♪

♪ In a land of hope and dreams ♪

[audience cheering]


[audience whooping]

[applause continues]

[Bruce] Thank you.


-be seated. [chuckles]
-[audience laughs]

It was a beautiful fall November evening.
It was during the writing of my book.

I drove back to my neighborhood
where I grew up,

looking for, uh...

[clicks tongue]

I still don't have a fucking clue.

-All right?
-[audience laughs]

But, uh...

All I know is the streets were dead empty

and the whole place looked
like it had been locked down since 1955.

My corner church was silent and unchanged,

no weddings, no funerals. I...

rolled slowly another 50 yards up my block

to visit my great tree, and it was gone.

It had been cut to the street
since the last time I had drove through.

So I got out of the car
and I looked down and there was a...

square of musty earth that held
the remaining snakes of its roots

on the edge of a parking lot.

So I reached down and I picked up
a handful of dirt

and I just kind of ran it
through my hands.

And my heart sank like...

like a kid who had suffered
some irretrievable loss.

You know, like some...

some piece of me was gone. [sighs]


[clicks tongue] I don't know. I guess I...

It was just it had been there
long before I was.

I assumed it would be there
long after I was gone.

And I liked that.

It-- It felt eternal.

It was at the center of our street
and it had rooted

our neighborhood for so long.

So I sat there for a while
just cursing the county.

And listening to the sounds
of the evening come on,

and I looked again
and I realized it was gone, but some...

some essential piece of it
was still there,

the air and the space above its roots.

I could still feel the life
and the soul and the light

of my childhood friend there.

It's just that its leaves, its branches
and its massive trunk

were now outlined, shot through,

by evening stars and sky.

But my great tree's life couldn't be ended
or erased so easily

from this place, because it's history,

and history matters.

Its imprint was too great.

It was too old and it was too strong,
and it had been there too long...

to be done away with so easily.

It had stood witness

to everything that had happened
on these small streets beneath its arms.

All the joy...

and all the heartbreak.

And all the life.

And we live amongst ghosts,
always trying to reach us...

from that shadow world.

They're with us every step of the way.

You know,
my dead father's still with me every day.

I miss him, and if I had a wish...

Oh, man... [mutters]

I wish he could have been here
to see this.

But I visit with him every night.

A little bit. That's a grace-filled thing.

And Clarence, I get to...

I get to see and be with Clarence
a little bit every night.

And Danny...


and Bart.

My own family, so many of them gone...

from these houses that are now filled
by strangers, but the soul...

the soul is a stubborn thing.

It doesn't dissipate so quickly.

Souls remain.

They remain here in the air,

in empty space,

dusty roots,

in sidewalks
that I knew every single inch of

like I knew my own body

as a child...

and in the songs that we sing.

You know... That is why we sing.

We sing for our blood and for our people.

Because that's all we have
at the end of the day.

Each other, and...

maybe that's what I'm looking for
when I go down there.

I just want to commune...

with the old spirits,

stand in their presence,

feel their hands on me...

one more time.

[clicks tongue, sighs]

Anyway, once again, I stood in the shadow
of my old church, you know?

You know what they say about Catholics?

-Yeah, there's no getting out.
- [audience chuckles]

No, no. You know,
once they got you, they got you.

The bastards got you
when the gettin' was good.

They did their work hard
and they did it well.

'Cause the words of a very strange
but all too familiar benediction

came back to me that evening.

And I want to tell you,
these were words that as a kid,

I mumbled these things,
I singsonged them,

I... chanted them,
bored out of my fucking mind

in an endless drone before class

-every fucking day.
-[audience laughs]

Every day, the green blazer,
the green tie, the green trousers,

the green socks of all
of St. Rose's unwilling disciples.

[audience laughs]

You know?

But for some damn reason

as I sat there on my street that night,

you know, mourning, mourning my old tree,

and once again surrounded by God,

those were the words that came back
to me and they flowed differently.

It was "Our Father, who art in Heaven,
hallowed be thy name,

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done on this Earth

as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day.

Just give us this day, and forgive us

our sins, our trespasses,

as we may forgive those
who trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil,

all of us,

forever and ever. Amen."

May God bless you, your family,
and all those that you love.

And thanks for coming out tonight.

[audience applauds]

[playing "Born to Run"]

[audience whooping, cheering]

♪ In the day, we sweat it out
On the streets ♪

♪ Of a runaway American dream ♪

♪ At night, we ride
Through mansions of glory ♪

♪ In suicide machines ♪

♪ We sprung from cages out on Highway 9 ♪

♪ Chrome-wheeled, fuel injected
And steppin' out over the line ♪

♪ Baby, this town rips the bones
From your back ♪

♪ It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap ♪

♪ We gotta get out while we're young ♪

♪ 'Cause tramps like us
Baby, we were born to run ♪

♪ Wendy, let me in
I wanna be your friend ♪

♪ I want to guard
Your dreams and visions ♪

♪ Yeah, just wrap your legs
Round these velvet rims ♪

♪ Strap your hands across my engines ♪

♪ And together we could break this trap ♪

♪ We'll run till we drop ♪

♪ And we'll never go back ♪

♪ Walk with me out on the wire ♪

♪ 'Cause I'm just a scared
And lonely rider ♪

♪ I gotta find out how it feels ♪

♪ I want to know if love is wild ♪

♪ I want to know if love is real ♪

♪ Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones ♪

♪ Scream down the boulevard ♪

♪ The girls comb their hair
In rearview mirrors ♪

♪ And the boys try to look so hard ♪

♪ The amusement park
Rises bold and stark ♪

♪ Kids are huddled
On the beach in a mist ♪

♪ I wanna die with you, Wendy
On the streets tonight ♪

♪ In an everlasting kiss ♪

♪ Well, the highway's jammed
With broken heroes ♪

♪ On a last chance power drive ♪

♪ Everybody's out on the run tonight ♪

♪ But there's no place left to hide ♪

♪ So together, Wendy
We'll live with the sadness ♪

♪ I'll love you with all the madness
In my soul ♪

♪ Someday, girl, I don't know when ♪

♪ We're gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go ♪

♪ And we'll walk in the sun ♪

♪ But till then tramps like us ♪

♪ Baby, we were born to run ♪

♪ Whoa, oh, whoa, oh ♪

♪ Whoa, oh, whoa, oh, oh ♪

♪ Whoa, oh, whoa, oh ♪

♪ Whoa, oh, whoa, oh ♪

♪ Whoa, whoa, whoa, oh ♪

[guitar continues]

-[music stops]
-[audience cheers and applauds]

[man] Bruce!

Thank you.

[audience whooping and hollering]

[no audible dialogue]

[audience continues cheering]

[piano music playing]