Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance Saturday evening near the end of Southside Johnny’s annual July 4th weekend concert at the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He came onstage to join his old friend on a spirited rendition of “Sherry Darling” and stuck around for seemingly unrehearsed takes on “The Fever,” “Talk to Me,” “Kitty’s Back,” ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Home,” ‘Mona/Not Fade Away” and “Having a Party.”
Southside Johnny and Springsteen rose out of the late Sixties Asbury Park rock scene and have played together countless times over the years, but this was their longest set in many years. E Street Band bassist Garry Tallent played earlier in the night on the Stone Pony Summer Stage, and Springsteen joined him for his original song “Dirty Rotten Shame” even though he barely seemed to know it. It was the first time Springsteen had ever played with Tallent at one of his solo shows. (Remember Jones was on the bill as well.)
“I want to thank Bruce for coming out tonight,” Southside Johnny told the crowd near the evening of the evening. “Remember Jones, too. They were good. And Mr. Garry W. Tallent from Neptune, New Jersey. He’s got a new album out [More Like Me]. We don’t. [Bruce] has a new album [Western Stars] out. We don’t. Thanks for making us look bad, Bruce.”
Springsteen has kept a low profile throughout 2019 despite releasing Western Stars last month. His only live performances have been a pair of brief appearances at Steve Van Zandt and the Disciples of Soul shows, two songs at a Netflix promotional event in Los Angeles and three songs with the Tangiers Blues Band at the Kristen Ann Carr Fund gala. This Southside Johnny set was, by far, his longest performance since the end of Springsteen on Broadway in December 2018.