Bruce Springsteen has wrapped up every performance of Springsteen on Broadway with “Born To Run” since the show launched in October 2017, but on Tuesday night, he decided to deviate from the script. “You’re a beautiful audience,” he told the crowd after finishing “Born To Run.” “You’re so good, you get the first encore ever…Feel free to take a picture.”
He then launched into “This Hard Land,” a song he originally recorded during the Born in the USA sessions in 1983 but wouldn’t play in concert for a decade. Springsteen would eventually release “This Hard Land” in 1995 on his Greatest Hits LP and it’s since become a semi-regular part of his live show and a fan favorite.
The decision to add in an additional song to the tightly-scripted, 15-song Springsteen on Broadway set came from Patti Scialfa’s inability to perform her usual duets “Tougher From the Rest” and “Brilliant Disguise” with Springsteen. Springsteen has made extremely minor setlist variations to his Broadway show during its long run, most notably when Scialfia is absent and he removes their two duets in favor of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and “Long Time Comin’.” But he recently added “Joad” into the main set regardless of if Scialfa appears or not. With one song to fill in, Springsteen added the “This Hard Land” encore to not short-change the crowd.
Springsteen on Broadway is slated to end on December 15th, but in a new interview with The Star Tribune, he hinted that it might continue after that in some form. “I’m here until December,” he said when asked about the possibility of taking the show on the road. “We’ll see, we’ll see, we’ll see. I’ve gotta run.”