Just three songs into Joe Grushecky’s concert at Asbury Park, New Jersey’s Wonder Bar Saturday night, Bruce Springsteen came onstage and stuck around for a blazing 15-song, two-hour set. Kicking off with “Never Enough Time,” the longtime friends tore through ‘”Adam Raised a Cain,” “Atlantic City,” “Because the Night,” “Code of Silence” and many others before wrapping up with “Light of Day.” Here’s a fan-shot video of “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”
Springsteen’s appearance was unannounced, but hardly shocking considering he plays a “surprise” set with Grushecky most every year at the annual Light of Day benefit concert just a few steps down the boardwalk at the Paramount Theater. Grushecky, who works as a special education teacher in Pittsburgh, has been buddies with Springsteen for over 30 years. In 1995, Springsteen produced his LP American Babylon and then briefly hit the club circuit with him. They’ve performed together many times since then.
The relationship has done little to impress the students in Grushecky’s classes. “Rock and roll is not a big thing with them,” he told Rolling Stone in 2011. “It’s a population that’s very hardcore, and tough to work with. I have students that are not only verbally aggressive but are sometimes physically aggressive. I’ve had my share of physical confrontations. Waking up that early in the morning just about kills me some days. Hopefully I don’t have too many years left and I can retire soon.”
Springsteen, who is rumored to be working on a new album, has kept a low profile this year, though he did make a brief appearance this month at a Brian Wilson concert in Holmdel, New Jersey.
Footage courtesy of Barry Paripsky