Bruce Celebrates His Birthday In the Swamps of Jersey

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
Wrecking Ball Tour
Metlife Stadium, NJ
September 22, 2012

On a very strange night in New Jersey, a sold out Stadium full of fans waited in the tunnels of Metlife Stadium for hours to celebrate Bruce Springsteen’s birthday.  The crowds began filing into the entrance between 6 pm and 7:30 pm.  However, anyone with GA Floor Access was told they were not allowed in due to the threat of an intense lightening storm.  Yes, rain was in the forecast, but the weather at that point was sunny with clear skies.  The lightening never came, but there were intervals of heavy rain, but the Stadium kept all of the fans waiting until after 10:00 p.m..  There were fights, upset fans and disappointment all around.  That was until the show started and Bruce simply stated “thanks for coming to my birthday party”.  Then all was forgotten …

The show started rather slowly, but we were just happy to see the Band and hear Bruce’s voice.  A few songs in, the Jersey concert staple “Badlands” was played and that got the crowd geared up.  However, Bruce slowed things down with a few more rather obscure songs.  It wasn’t until he played arguably the three best and most popular songs off of his newest album (“We Take Care of Our Own”, “Wrecking Ball” and the bombastic “Death To My Hometown”) were played that the show really kicked into drive. 

From there, Bruuuuuuce had the crowd in the palm of his hands.  He mentioned numerous times that it was his birthday.  In fact, the Band and crowd sang Happy Birthday not once, but twice to him.  During the encore, Bruce’s mother was brought out on stage and a gigantic birthday cake as well.  It was not the normal Springsteen show, but that is what made it memorable. 


At one point, Bruce brought out Gary US Bonds, a former drummer of the band who had also done some solo work.  They sang a few of his songs together and Bruce seemed quite jubilant over these collaborations.  Bruce also threw in some “weather” related songs due to the strange September weather that night: “Who’ll Stop the Rain” and “”Waitin’ on a Sunny Day”.  The set closed with a awesome ten minute rendition of “Jungleland” and everyone knew the best was yet to come with the encore. 

Thunder Road started the encore and Bruce let the crowd sing half the song (see video below).  What followed was a nine song encore which included some of the Band’s most iconic songs (“Born to Run”, “Dancing in the Dark”, “Glory Days” and Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”).  Bruce was full of smiles and he and Stevie Van Zandt took over the big screens riling up the crowd and joking around like two school boys.  It was great to see how close the two stars are after all these years. 

The show ended in true E Street Band fashion, with one last Happy Birthday to Bruce, followed by a bevy of fireworks and a cover of “Twist and Shout”.  The Band took one final bow together, thanked the crowd and disappeared into the tunnels of Metlife Stadium.  Despite the show starting three hours late, Bruce played his typical three hour and a half set.  Any normal band would have shortened the set and would not have played until 1:30 in the morning.  But it was Bruce Springsteen’s birthday party and there was nothing normal about this particular September night. 


  1. Out in the Street
  2. The Ties That Bind
  3. Cynthia
  4. Badlands
  5. Who’ll Stop the Rain?
  6. Cover Me
  7. Downbound Train
  8. We Take Care of Our Own
  9. Wrecking Ball
  10. Death to My Hometown
  11. My City of Ruins
  12. It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City
  13. Jole Blon (with Gary US Bonds)
  14. This Little Girl (with Gary US Bonds)
  15. Pay Me My Money Down
  16. Janey Don’t You Lose Heart
  17. Happy Birthday
  18. In the Midnight Hour
  19. Into the Fire
  20. Because the Night
  21. She’s the One
  22. Working on the Highway
  23. Shackled and Drawn
  24. Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
  25. Meeting Across the River
  26. Jungleland
  27. Thunder Road (Encore)
  28. Rocky Ground (Encore)
  29. Born To Run (Encore)
  30. Glory Days (Encore)
  31. Seven Night to Rock (Encore)
  32. Dancing in the Dark (Encore)
  33. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out  (Encore)
  34. Happy Birthday  (Encore)
  35. Twist and Shout  (Encore with Fireworks)