Bruce Springsteen‘s 1995’s ballad “Secret Garden” was one of his most successful songs of the Nineties, peaking at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. It had a second life in 1996 when it was featured in the soundtrack to Jerry Maguire and radio stations began playing it with bits of dialogue from the movie. It was unspeakably cheesy, but lines like “you had me at hello” really touched people.
Despite the song’s popularity, it’s been performed live very few times. Springsteen regularly plays rare B-sides, studio outtakes and crazy obscurities at his concerts, but until this year he’d only played “Secret Garden” on the Late Show with David Letterman in 1995, a private show at Sony Studios later that same day and at Madison Square Garden in 2000. It’s just one of those quiet songs that doesn’t work very well in an arena or stadium.
After a 13-year break, he revived it at a gig in Leeds, England this past July. “I think we’ve played this once or twice,” he said. “But there’s fans that have been following us since the beginning of our European tour. They’re there every night, and they provide a tremendous amount of fuel and inspiration for our band. I know what it takes to make it from city to city. I know how hard it is to get up front here and what you guys go through. So, anyway, tonight this is for Annie and her guy. It’s their request.”
Fan videos of the performance were on YouTube within a few hours, but this week a pro-shot video was posted on Springsteen’s official website “by special request.”