The film acts as a tribute to Springsteen’s E Street Band, a celebration of its staying power and a eulogy for the friends — and the eras of rock & roll — that the band has said farewell to over its five-decade existence.
“I always tell people, imagine this: You’re going to high school right now,” Springsteen told Colbert. “When you’re 70 years old, those are the exact people you’ll be working with and will have worked with them for the past 50 years. The only place that that happens is in rock & roll. And it doesn’t happen much for the very simple reason that people can’t stand it. They can’t stand each other for that long. It’s a miracle!”
“And the audience doesn’t always stick around for 50 years,” Colbert added.
“No, they do not,” Springsteen said. “It’s a confluence of very, very special events, and some luck and magic involved, that allows you to have a long life and career that we’ve been blessed enough to have.”
The two also talked about Springsteen’s early, Bob Dylan-esque songwriting style, and Colbert asked him to name his top three Dylan songs. It was predictably hard for the Boss to choose, but his favorites include “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Visions of Johanna,” “Ring Them Bells,” and the entirety of John Wesley Harding. He even took a moment to geek out over a recent Dylan-esque record: Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell!
“Oh my god, ‘The Greatest!’ Can we talk about the song ‘The Greatest?'” Colbert exclaimed.
“I just love her writing — it’s cinematic, and her narrative’s great,” Springsteen said.
Finally, Colbert had to address the elephant in the room: Springsteen receiving his very own emoji on Twitter. Springsteen had to ask exactly what that meant, but once Colbert explained that anyone could use the emoji instead of typing out his name, Springsteen’s only response was, “I think that’s wonderful.”