Exactly one year ago today, Bruce Springsteen played the final show of his career with Clarence Clemons. In front of a tiny audience at the Carousel House in Asbury Park, Springsteen and the E Street Band played a series of songs from his recently released Darkness on the Edge of Town box set for a Vevo webcast.
It was an unusual night. The setlist was almost composed entirely from Darkness outtakes and each track was played at least twice in a row. After hearing “Racing in the Streets” countless times, it was extremely bizarre to hear a sped-up version with different lyrics.
The show ended with “Blue Christmas,” the last song that Springsteen ever performed with Clemons. (They played it twice in a row, so it’s hard to know if this video is the actual last thing they did together.) During the show, Springsteen repeatedly asked the fans to run onto the stage. I wound up standing between Bruce and Clarence during a few songs, and even yelling out some lines into the mic. When it ended, much of the band stayed stayed onstage and mingled with the small crowd. I remember Clarence laughing and happily posing for photos with fans as I walked out.
Springsteen and Clemons first played together in 1971 at the Student Prince in Asbury Park , located about a two-minute walk from the Carousel House. Clarence also maintained that the first song they ever did was an early version of “Spirit on the Night.” It’s somewhat appropriate they started with a song about a bunch of friends having a crazy party, and ended with a song about desperately missing a friend on Christmas.
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