#10. American Skin (41 Shots) @ Madison Square Garden, 2001
‘American Skin’ was first released as a live version on the Live in New York City album. And that version, was this video below, live in Madison Square Garden, 2001. Meanwhile, a studio version of the song was released, but to us, this version is the most perfect. Watch, listen and enjoy a clean-shaven Bruce (and we don’t see that often), a perfect registration and a wonderful guitar solo.
#9. Dancing in the Dark @ Hard Rock Calling, 2013
It’s no secret Bruce invites one or more (or a lot more) people on stage during ‘Dancing in the Dark’. In 2013, at Hard Rock Calling, Bruce had some special visitors. He first invites his then 87-year-old (!) mom on stage for a dance and later he asked his younger sister to play some guitar! A cozy family celebration!
#8 No Surrender @ Toronto, 1984
Nowadays, ‘No Surrender’ is often played as heard on the original version (from the Born In The U.S.A. album), but maybe you know an acoustic, slower version as well (there’s a version on the Live 1975-85 album). During the show below, in Toronto, Bruce plays an acoustic version as well, dedicated to Little Steven.
#7. Meet Me In The City @ Live on SNL, 2015
The Ties That Bind: The River Collection Box was released in 2015, containing outtakes of The River album. Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band appeared on the SNL TV Show in 2015, to perform 2 songs of this Collection Box. ‘Meet Me In The City’ was one of them. You can see a bit of tension (nerves?) and of course the pleasure on Bruce and the Band because of playing together again. We thought this is a great version of this outtake!
#6 I’m On Fire @ Hard Rock Calling, 2013
‘I’m On Fire’ definitely belongs to this list. When this song is played live, it looks like there is a short (very short) moment of rest on the crowd in the stadium, grass or concert hall. People love and hold each other tight, rocking back and forth and peacefully enjoy Roy’s synthesizer, Mighty Max his rhythm and Bruce’s voice.
#5. Badlands @ Glastonbury, 2009
In 2009, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band performed at Glastonbury. ‘Is there anybody alive out there?’ On Glastonbury the crowd definitely was alive, especially during ‘Badlands’. You can hear the everyone singing: ‘It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive’. The crowd went crazy. And then there is that guitar solo when you think the song comes to an end… Of course it’s not the end: ‘Oooh-ho-ho-hoooo-ho!’
#4 This Hard Land @ Kilkenny, 2013
‘This Hard Land’ is often played by Bruce when the show really comes to an end, the final encore. Acoustic, with only a guitar and a harmonica. And imagine: 2 minutes before this song, the crowd was still singing, dancing and screaming. But when Bruce plays this song, it’s unbelievable how quietly the audience gets. The Boss.
#3. Born To Run @ Hard Rock Calling, 2009
‘Born To Run’ is the most played live song by Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band. Setlist.fm even counts that Born To Run is played 1468 (by the time of writing) times live. And always with a lot of effort. It’s unbelievable how much energy the band still has after a long set and just rocks this song.
#2. Thunder Road @ Hammersmith Odeon, 1975
1975 was the breakthrough year. The year of Born To Run. The year of the first European Tour. In November 1975, they set foot in Europe for the first time. In London, Hammersmith Odeon, to be precise. A slightly dark video, but so beautiful. You see a very young Bruce, who hides himself under a bunch of curls and big hat. And although Bruce initially was not really satisfied with this performance, they did make a live DVD of the show, bearing this wonderful version of ‘Thunder Road’. And we can only be very happy with that.
#1. The River @ Los Angeles Coliseum, 1985
The Number 1 on this list is not a video, but an audio recording. In 1986, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band released their first live album; Live 1975-85. It contained live recordings of a decade with truly stunning performances. This version of ‘The River’ has an intro of more than 5 minutes, which makes this version so special. Bruce tells a very personal story about his relationship with his father. There is only one person that can tell stories like this, 5 minutes fly by and you just want more. When after the story, where the tears may flow, Bruce starts his harmonica, there are goosebumps everywhere. Enjoy.
The internet is packed with live performances from artists and bands. You can find a mobile recording with screaming audience of every show, and that’s a shame for the actual best live performances of an artist. Autoplay features the best live performances of one artist collected in a playlist. Stop searching among the thousands of videos on YouTube, you can just get through the AutoPlay list and you are back on track.