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Bruce Springsteen Opens East Rutherford Show With Concert Debut of 32-Year-Old Track

Bruce Springsteen
Jeff Fusco, Getty Images

Throughout the ‘Wrecking Ball’ tour, Bruce Springsteen has reached deep into his catalog to perform some of the rarest songs alongside his numerous hits. Last night (Sept. 21), he opened the second of his three-night stand at MetLife Stadium in E. Rutherford, N.J. with ‘Living on the Edge of the World,’ a 32-year-old song which he had never before played live.

As the blurry video shows, Springsteen forgot the lyrics to the section after the organ and harmonica solo and had to rely on the cheat sheet that had been taped below the mic stand at the lower stage. However, the E Street Band sounds as if they had been performing the song for years.

A breathless rocker, ‘Living on the Edge of the World’ was an outtake from 1980′s ‘The River’ that appeared on ‘Tracks,’ the 1998 4-CD box set comprised of previously unreleased songs and B-sides. Many of the song’s lyrics eventually found their way into ‘Open All Night,’ from 1982′s stark ‘Nebraska.’

According to those in the general admission line that afternoon, Springsteen had rehearsed the song at soundcheck, so its inclusion was not a shock to the fans up front. But opening a stadium show with an obscure song tells the crowd that anything can happen. In addition to ‘Living on the Edge of the World,’ last night’s concert featured the tour debut of ‘Mary’s Place’ and another obscurity, ‘From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come),’ another ‘River’ outtake that Springsteen gave to Dave Edmunds and had only been previously performed with the E Street Band on six occasions.

The show was also memorable for a special guest appearance by one of the Boss’ biggest influences, Gary “U.S.” Bonds. The ’60s soul legend sat in on ‘Jole Blon’ and Springsteen’s ‘This Little Girl,’ both of which appeared on Bonds’ 1981 comeback album ‘Dedication,’ which was co-produced by Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt. On the first concert at MetLife on Wednesday, original E Street Band drummer Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez re-joined the band for ‘The E Street Shuffle.’

But perhaps the biggest surprise came at the end of the main set, when Springsteen followed up a rare performance of ‘Incident on 57th Street’ with ‘Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),’ which is how they appeared on 1974′s ‘The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.’ That sequence has been performed fewer than ten times in the nearly 40 years since the album’s release.

Springsteen concludes his stand at MetLife Stadium tonight — two days before his 63rd birthday — before taking nearly a month off. Vegas oddsmakers are not taking bets on what songs he will pull out for this one.

Watch the Concert World Premiere of ‘Living on the Edge of the World’

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