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Bruce Springsteen Makes Surprise Appearance at New Jersey Club

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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.)

[Flashback photo: Before he was 'The Boss': See Bruce's look 35 years ago

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).

[Download this: Ten best Springsteen songs

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


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