Over the course of the residency’s nine-month run, the setlist for Springsteen on Broadway has rarely changed. Occasionally, when Bruce Springsteen’s wife, Patti Scialfa, is absent for one reason or another, he’ll replace their Tunnel of Love duets (“Tougher Than the Rest” and “Brilliant Disguise”) with “Long Time Comin'” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad”. But following Trump’s controversial boarder separation policies, “Joad” has become a formal part of the setlist, so when Scialfa couldn’t make it Tuesday night, he only had one song to fill in. And so he chose to do something he’d never done before.
After closing the set with his usual rendition of “Born to Run”, Springsteen handed off his guitar and stepped back to the mic. “You’re a beautiful audience,” he told the crowd. “You’re so good, you get the first encore ever… Feel free to take a picture.”
For his first-ever Broadway encore, he performed “This Hard Land”, a track from the 1983 Born in the USA sessions that resurfaced a decade later during The Boss’ live shows. It eventually saw release on his 1995 Greatest Hits collection and has fairly regularly popped up in concert. Tuesday night’s performance, however, was extra special for its uniqueness to the Broadway residency.
Also as a rare treat, since Bruce allowed phones up for this part, you can watch video of the performance below (via Rolling Stone).
Springsteen recently extended Springsteen on Broadway through December 15th, 2018. He also received a special Tony Award for the show, putting him an Emmy away from EGOT status.