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Bruce Springsteen’s Record-Shattering NJ Residency: 10 Great Moments

Three longest American shows in Boss’ career featured amazing rarities, deep album dives and more

The 10 Best Moments From Bruce Springsteen's Record-Shattering NJ Residency

Relive Bruce Springsteen's history-making run of New Jersey shows with our list of highlights.

Danny Clinch

Before Bruce Springsteen even walked onstage for the opening show of his three-night stand at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium on August 23rd, it was clear these concerts were going to be special. Right as the lights went down, an eight-piece string section sat down behind Roy Bittan's piano. The hardcore fans that had paid attention to European set lists (or heard soundcheck) knew this meant the show was going to open with the the 1973 epic "New York City Serenade," a super rarity that had only been played three times in America in the 2000s. That was just the beginning of not only three of the most memorable Springsteen concerts in recent memory, but the three longest shows he's ever played in America. Opening night clocked in at three hours and 52 minutes and they only got longer from there, culminating with only the second four-hour show of his entire career. Here are 10 of the best moments.

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Danny Clinch

‘The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle’ four-pack – Night Three

The Greetings material was followed by Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" and then four songs from The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" had the entire stadium singing along and "Kitty's Back" gave a spotlight to nearly every member of the band, but nothing can top "Incident on 57th Street" flowing right into "Rosalita (Come out Tonight)" just like it does on the original LP. The latter tune is an encore staple, but moving it into the main set was an inspired move. Only "The E Street Shuffle" and "Wild Billy's Circus Story" were unplayed from the album. 

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Danny Clinch

The ‘Nebraska’/’Born in the U.S.A.’ six-pack – Night Three

After eight songs from 1973, Springsteen jumped ahead nearly a decade by kicking into "Atlantic City" from Nebraska and five consecutive Born in the U.S.A. tunes. This is material designed for football stadiums. "Working on the Highway" and "Darlington County" are longtime staples, but relative rarities "Downbound Train" and "I'm Going Down" worked even better. He wrapped it all up with a hushed "I'm on Fire," a beloved tune that makes oddly few live appearances. 

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Danny Clinch

“Living Proof” – Night Three

On the 1992-93 "Other Band" tour, fans groaned that way too much of the show was occupied with songs from Human Touch and Lucky Town. Those songs almost never surface these days. "Living Proof" from Lucky Town was played via request on the third night, with Springsteen dedicating the song to his son Evan. Many fans sat down or headed for the bathroom, but it was still nice to acknowledge that those albums are things that exist. Sadly, "Better Days," a much better Lucky Town song, was soundchecked but didn't make it into the show.

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Danny Clinch

“Jersey Girl” – Nights One, Two and Three

"Jersey Girl" is a Tom Waits song, but from the first time Springsteen played it in 1981, he took out the final verse and tacked on a new section that transformed the title character into an exhausted single mother. The revision completely changed the emotional core of the song, and it's become one of Springsteen's most believed Jersey tunes. All three MetLife shows concluded with "Jersey Girl" and fireworks during the "sha la la la" finale. The clock passed the four-hour mark on the last night, but it seemed like the band and the audience still had enough energy to keep going a while longer. Springsteen has played a lot of shows at the Meadowlands during the past 35 years, but these three might go down as the most memorable, and not simply because he finally crossed the mythical four-hour barrier. There wasn't a moment during all 12 hours when he wasn't completely in the zone.

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