It was a special, rain-soaked show that featured tour premieres of “Lost in the Flood,” “Frankie,” “Where the Bands Are” and “Jungleland.”
The emotional highpoint of the evening was “Jungleland.” It hadn’t been played since Clarence Clemons died the previous year and many fans presumed it was the one song that would never be done without him. “As you know, Clarence was a special part of Sweden,” Springsteen told the crowd prior to playing it. “This was a very special place for him. And so tonight…we haven’t done this one in a long time and we haven’t practiced it. So this is for the Big Man.”
This was yet another high-profile test for Jake Clemons, nephew of the late E Street Band saxophonist. He joined the group earlier that year as part of a five-piece horn section, but he alone played Clarence’s iconic parts on songs like “Born to Run,” “Badlands” and “Dancing in the Dark.”
The first gig took place at New York’s Apollo Theater and was broadcast on SiriusXM radio. He was note-perfect that night, but now he was called upon to play the longest sax part that Clarence ever recorded in the E Street Band, unrehearsed, in front of a capacity crowd at a Swedish soccer stadium.
As you can see from this fan-shot YouTube video, he nailed it. When it wrapped, a proud Springsteen walked over, tapped him on the shoulder and whispered something in his ear. The song entered regular rotation in the setlist in the following weeks and has been there ever since.
Springsteen hasn’t toured or played with the E Street Band since the Australian leg of The River tour wrapped in February 2017. Last year, he said he had a set of new songs he wanted to record with the band. He planned on releasing an album this year and supporting it with a tour, but that seems very unlikely now that the coronavirus has shut down the entire concert business for the foreseeable future.