Whatever the genre, the main aim of music is to entertain. There are few people in the industry who have done it as well and as long as The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. He has given superb performances so often that it’s almost impossible to pick the best.
However, his off-the-cuff rendition of Chuck Berry’s hit You Can Never Tell has got to be up there. This fun, completely improvised performance occurred at a concert in Leipzig in 2013. Springsteen was performing with the E Street Band, all gifted musicians, many of whom had been playing with him sing he took his first steps in the music business.
In their earliest days, they performed mostly cover songs that they all knew off by heart. As their talent grew, however, they began to write original music. The memorable and heart-warming song, Wish, chronicled Springsteen’s joy at finding a Japanese guitar waiting for him under the Christmas tree when he was sixteen. He had begged his mother for a guitar non-stop since he had seen a Beatles performance on tv. Clearly, his love for music began there and has only grown over the last fifty years.
For their 2013 tour, Springsteen decided to throw down the gauntlet and challenge himself and his band. He suggested they commit to playing one song each night of the tour that they hadn’t played since they were kids or even songs they had never played before.
In Leipzig, the fans were lucky enough to see a side of The Boss that they never had before, a time when he’s clearly on the back foot. Without a hint of embarrassment or nerves, Springsteen and the band struggle to find the right key to sing or play in, fumble their way through chord changes and attempt to bring back a part of their shared past.
As Springsteen and The E Street Band’s performances are usually flawless, it’s riveting to see them open themselves up to scrutiny. It shows that even the most accomplished performer needs to practice before they perform and that the chords don’t just come to them as if by magic.
It must have promoted such a feeling of camaraderie that night. In a true coming together of the band the audience, Springsteen encourages the crowd to sing along while he and the gang find their footing and figure out the song. Once they do get a handle on it, the performance is electrifying. Definitely one of the most fun performances out there.