With nothing but a guitar and some of the tightest pants a 72-year-old has ever worn, Bruce Springsteen swung by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for a solo performance of his classic cut, “The River.”
The appearance came in support of the upcoming concert film, The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts, out November 16th. In a three-part interview with Colbert, Springsteen took a deep dive into that performance, starting with the cover art. “Roy Bittan is not on this album cover by mistake,” The Boss said, pointing to a spot about an inch to the right of the photo. “And I’m in very deep shit about it.”
The Late Show also debuted an exclusive clip from the film, which was shot September 23rd, 1949, on Springsteen’s 30th birthday. In the clip, the crowd and the E Street band all beg the singer for an encore, but he pretends to be too tired. “I can’t go on like this,” he cries. “I’m 30 years old! My heart’s starting to go on me!” The expression on the 72-year-old’s face is priceless as he watches his 30-year-old self complain about his heart.
Elsewhere in the interview, Springsteen spoke about his podcast with former President Barack Obama, Renegades: Born in the USA, as well as the book of the same name which just dropped today, October 26th. When asked how the project came together, Springsteen said, “It was actually the President’s idea. He called me. I thought he had the wrong number.”
For a bit of show-and-tell, he also brought the same old guitar he hoisted on the cover of Born to Run. “I’ve played this guitar for 50 years,” he said. “I bought it when I was 22 for $185 on Highway 34, I think, in Belmont, New Jersey, from a man — a great guitar man named Phil Patillo… This guitar has been in every club, theater, arena, and stadium in America and most of the world.” He also talked getting cut from Obama’s COVID-restricted 60th birthday party, his anxieties about Marjorie Taylor Green, Matt Gaetz, Ron DeSantis, and Donald Trump, and more. Check out Springsteen’s performance of “The River,” as well as the rest of the interview, below.
On November 8th, Springsteen will join Jon Stewart and Jim Gaffigan for the 15th annual Stand Up for Heroes fundraiser. Last month, he collaborated with John Mellencamp for the first time on the new song, “Wasted Days,” and he spent the summer cheering on his professional horseback rider daughter Jessica, who won the silver medal for team equestrian jumping at the Olympics.