I was there.
In fact, look closely enough and you can probably see me perched to the left of Bruce Springsteen's mother. Last week I found myself standing a few feet from The Boss, and his extended family, on a frigid afternoon in the dregs of coastal Jersey known as Asbury Park. Tucked away in a beautiful abandoned building that once housed the boardwalk carousel, Springsteen and the E Street Band (sans Nils Lofgren and Patti Scialfa, but with Jackson Browne bandmember David Lindley on violin) torched through material from the recently released The Promise. The results of this "secret" concert are now online.
Since this was more film shoot than proper show, Springtseen took multiple stabs at every song, often ending with this comment to the band: "That was perfect, let's do it again and make it better." The man isn't exactly starving for fanboy praise, but it was inspiring to watch the staggering amount of work Springtseen dedicates towards to just about everything he does, especially considering that he could easily be cashing in on his back catalog of chart toppers at this point in his career. The Boss had a hand in the lighting, blocking, camera angles, and even directed the tiny crowd (that he estimated to be 59 people strong) on where to stand. If there was a catering table, he'd have cooked every single item on it. Evidently it takes a lot of work to be the hardest working man in rock and roll.
Pulling exclusively from the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions, the band's entire ten song set obviously didn't make the cut for this 30-minute long clip. But it's worth watching, especially for their take on “The Promise” (one of the truly underrated songs in his catalog) and the obligatory holiday cover of "Blue Christmas," complete with Santa hats for all. After the show we did something Springtseen songs have been telling us to do for decades now—get the hell out of Asbury Park and never look back.