Just as Billy Joel was the only man who could have possibly closed out the Nassau Coliseum earlier this week, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band were the only act that could have played during the final minutes of Jon Stewart's last Daily Show. "This is by request of the man himself," Springsteen said before launching into the 1999 tune, "Land of Hope and Dreams." "Thanks for everything, Jon. We wish you happy and safe travels."
Springsteen hasn't played with the E Street Band since the High Hopes tour ended in May 2014 and they almost never perform when they are outside of an album/tour cycle, but this was not an invitation they would have turned down. Stewart, who introduced the performance as his own personal Moment of Zen, is a huge Springsteen fan. The feeling has become mutual in recent years. "Your show is basically an interpretive media class," Springsteen said when Stewart interviewed him for Rolling Stone in 2012. "That did not exist, in that form, until you did it."
After finishing "Land of Hope and Dreams," the band barreled into the final verse of "Born To Run" as Stewart and the many special guests from the Daily Show's long history came out to dance and embrace each other. It's the only time they've played a truncated rendition of "Born To Run" outside of the 2009 Super Bowl when they shaved out a middle verse. When it was over, Stewart embraced Springsteen and most of the band and accepted a pair of Max Weinberg's drum sticks. He seemed genuinely choked up and could only muster a few words, "Thank you. Good night."