For those hoping to see a performance by famed New Jersey resident Bruce Springsteen, hanging out at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, is always a decent bet. And last Friday night, for prescient Springsteen fans at the Pony, it turned out be a perfect bet.
The stars were certainly aligned: Alejandro Escovedo was playing a show that night at Springsteen's favorite haunt; Springsteen is an admirer of Escovedo's work, and vice versa (plus they share a manager). Probably the most glaring sign pointing to "Yes, Bruce Will Play at The Stone Pony with Alejandro Escovedo": Springsteen performed on "Faith" on Escovedo's new album.
For the encore of Escovedo's set, The Boss joined him onstage as the two plowed through "Faith," "Always a Friend" (a song they first played together on April 14, 2008, during a Springsteen concert in Houston) and, the real surprise, a cover of The Rolling Stones song, "Beast of Burden." By the Star-Ledger's calculation, this marks the first time Springsteen has covered this particular Rolling Stones hit, though not the first time he's played a Stones song. (On September 16, 2009, for example, Springsteen covered "Satisfaction" during a concert in Greenville, South Carolina.)
Springsteen and Escovedo performing "Beast of Burden":
Springsteen and Escovedo performing "Always a Friend":
Springsteen and Escovedo performing "Faith":
In addition to being on Springsteen's short list of artists Bruce will join onstage, Alejandro Escovedo has an impressive musical pedigree: His brother is Santana percussionist Pete Escovedo (whose daughter, Sheila E., garnered attention as Prince's drummer and as an artist in her own right).
Catching Springsteen performing in an intimate setting such as The Stone Pony is a rare occurrence and one that is coveted by his ardent followers. He's been known to perform private fundraisers at The Stone Pony, which include a very expensive price tag to attend. In 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004, Bruce played a series of Asbury Park holiday shows that became a famously tough ticket -- the 2004 show had a capacity of only 500 people. Every year, fans speculate if Bruce will appear at the annual Light of Day fundraiser. His appearances are never billed, but he's performed at 7 of the 10 annual shows. It's not a perfect science: Before his appearance this year, Springsteen had not appeared at the event since 2007.
Photo and "Beast of Burden" video courtesy of Mike Brazinski at Backstreets.com