The newest chapter of Bruce Springsteen’s ongoing live download series is a show he played at the Hovet arena in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 25, 2005.
It’s a solo, acoustic gig from the Devils and Dust tour featuring stripped-down arrangements of songs from his entire career. Here’s a preview of “Reason to Believe,” which he sings into a “bullet mic” that distorts his vocals.
The show came near the end of the first leg of European Devils and Dust tour, but he was still sprinkling new songs into the set like “Downbound Train,” “Across the Border,” “Blinded By the Light” and “Walk Like a Man.” The latter song had before been played in Europe and he hasn’t done it there since. “I wrote this after I was married the first time,” Springsteen told the crowd. “Maybe that’s why I let it go.”
This is the fourth Devils and Dust show that Springsteen has released following Columbus, Ohio (July 21st, 2005), Grand Rapids, Michigan (August 3rd, 2005), and Trenton, New Jersey (November 22nd, 2005). The Trenton show was the tour finale and was captured by a professional camera crew, but the footage has yet to be seen by the public.
The Devils and Dust tour was Springsteen’s second solo acoustic tour (following the Tom Joad run of 1995 to 1997) and he hasn’t done one since, although his Springsteen on Broadway residency of 2017/2018 had a similar setup. That biggest difference is that the Broadway show was tightly scripted and the tours were freeform and unpredictable.
Springsteen originally planned on releasing a new E Street Band album this year and touring behind it, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to delay those plans. He’s spent much of the year locked away at his home in New Jersey.
“The toughest thing about the lockdown is not knowing what the future holds,” he recently said on E Street Radio, “the feeling of your whole life being placed on hold, time seeming to move quickly, but slowly. Empty and unused time, I don’t care for — especially at 70. I’m counting my days and, my friend, I’ve got things to do that involve me and you.”