Happy Birthday Bruce Springsteen: Watch 5 ‘Stump The Band’ Videos From 2009

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Bruce Springsteen was born in Long Branch, New Jersey on this date in 1949. “The Boss” went on to become one of the most commercially and criticially successful artists of his generation thanks to such iconic albums as Born To Run, Darkness On The Edge Of Town and Born In The U.S.A. The 1999 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee is also an incredible live performer known for marathon concerts, a huge repertoire and his dynamic stage presence.

Springsteen’s primary backing band has been the E Street Band since 1972. The latest chapter of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s legendary career will be written one month from today when they release Letter To You, a collaborative studio album recorded last November.

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In 2009, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band embarked on the Working On A Dream tour. The run was the peak of the group’s “Stump The Band” segments in which audience members would hold up signs with special requests in hopes The Boss would play the selection. Bruce often headed into the crowd to grab a sign and then showed it to the rest of the audience and the band. Some of the performances that came from “Stump The Band” were impromptu featuring songs Bruce & The E Street Band had never played before or hadn’t tackled in years.

Bruce Springsteen is well represented in the JamBase Live Video Archive (JBLVA). Hundreds of Bruce Springsteen videos are featured on the JBLVA including dozens from 2009. Below, watch five “Stump The Band” renditions of covers from Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s Working On A Dream tour.

My Generation | May 8, 2009

The Boss brought the E Street Band to the Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania on May 8, 2009. A fan made a sign requesting a cover of The Who’s 1965 hit “My Generation” and the ensemble obliged.

“The last time we played this song was … never,” Springsteen exclaimed before counting the band in. Bruce called out changes to the group with guitarist Steven Van Zandt also helping to guide the E Street Band through their first and only rendition of “My Generation.” The Boss and his ensemble pulled it off well, complete with key modulations and a solo from bassist Garry Tallent.


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Great Balls Of Fire | August 1, 2009

The Working On A Dream tour featured two North American legs and a pair of runs through Europe that was split by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s appearance at Bonnaroo 2009. On August 1, 2009, the group played their penultimate show of the year abroad at Estadio José Zorrilla in Valladolid, Spain. A handful of songs were performed in Valladolid by sign request including a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls Of Fire.” The sign read, “You Ain’t Got The Balls, Great Balls Of Fire.”

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band had only performed “Great Balls Of Fire” once prior at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inauguration concert in 1995. However, The Boss and his crew would not be stumped and lit into the Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer-penned tune shortly after Springsteen displayed the sign to his mates. The ensemble served up a quick romp through the early rock classic featuring solos from pianist Roy Bittan, organist Charles Giordano and guitarist Nils Lofgren. “Great Balls Of Fire” was next played by Bruce and his band on May 6, 2014 in Houston.


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You Never Can Tell | August 23, 2009

While Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band busted out a cover of “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry for the first time since 1974 at Estadio San Mamés in Bilbao, Spain on July 26, 2009; the ensemble also offered an impromptu take at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts the next month. Springsteen took a few minutes to figure out what key would work best at the Boston area show, giving a cool insight into the creative process as the band was almost stumped despite their recent performance of the song.

Charles Giordano had a star turn on accordion during the cover of “You Never Can Tell” in Mansfield as The Boss belted out the song. Despite the rocky start, Bruce and the band pulled off the rendition and then played “Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart” by request. Check out Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s July 7, 2013 performance of “You Never Can Tell” to watch the situation play out in similar fashion four years later.


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All Shook Up | October 19, 2009

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band had help for their first and only performance of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” at The Spectrum in Philadelphia on October 19, 2009. Local Elvis impersonator Nick Ferraro joined the group for their one-and-done version of Presley’s chart-topping 1957 hit sporting a white jumpsuit ala “The King.”

Ferraro came to the show wearing the jumpsuit and holding the sign. Bruce picked him out of the crowd and after showing the band the correct key, led the group through “All Shook Up.” Springsteen helped the Elvis impersonator up to the stage and let Ferraro take a few verses and choruses of the tune. A brief foray into “Blue Suede Shoes” was sung towards the conclusion of Nick Ferraro’s appearance, which ended when The Boss announced, “Elvis has left the building!”


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Bruce Springsteen (See 444 videos)

Merry Christmas Baby | November 22, 2009

The Working On A Dream tour concluded on November 22, 2009 at the HSBC Center in Buffalo. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band ended the run with their longest show of the year including a complete performance of The Boss’ debut studio album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.. Sign requests and “Stump The Band” continued throughout the tour, yielding a rendition of the holiday classic “Merry Christmas Baby” in Buffalo.

“Merry Christmas Baby” was penned by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore and was originally released by Johnny Moore’s 3 Blazers in 1947. Bruce Springsteen recorded a cover of the tune for the 1987 Special Olympics charity LP A Very Special Christmas. However, The Boss hadn’t performed “Merry Christmas Baby” with the E Street Band since a 2002 appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien before the cover in Buffalo. What still stands as the group’s final version of the song was followed by a holiday song more closely associated with Bruce Springsteen — “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”


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Full Concerts (See 56 videos)
Bruce Springsteen (See 444 videos)
JamBase Live Video Archive
JamBase Live Video Archive