Bruce is back, and this time, he’s cranking it all the way down.
The Boss is embarking on a run of shows at Broadway’s intimate Walter Kerr Theatre — the marquee sign went up on Thursday. From October through November, he’ll play five nights a week at the 960-seat spot.
It’s “the smallest venue I’ve played in the last 40 years,” Springsteen said in a statement. “My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music.”
It would be a great opportunity for Springsteen to delve into some of his lesser-known works, or to put fresh spins on his classics. Here are some tracks we’re hoping to see on his set list.
When Bruce took the demo of “Born in the U.S.A.” to the E Street Band, they turned it into a definitive rock anthem. But in the very-different-sounding — and better — original version, Springsteen used slide guitar to depict the fury of a forgotten Vietnam vet. It’s hauntingly powerful, and worth revisiting here.
This intense standout from “Nebraska” would make for a fitting tribute to Suicide’s Alan Vega, who passed away last year, and whom Springsteen was clearly channeling in the song’s unhinged yelps.
Despite its piano-led beauty, this song almost always popped the party vibe at Springsteen’s stadium shows. But up close and personal, it would be a show-stealer.
In 1995’s moody “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” Springsteen reimagines John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” through the eyes of immigrants crossing the Mexican border — relevant, given the current political conversation.
In this track, Springsteen inhabits the mind of a frustrated steelworker from Ohio. Even though he barely sings above a whisper, the narrator’s rage is deafening.
In 2016, the worker who inspired the song revealed himself to be a Donald Trump supporter. It certainly would be interesting to hear Bruce (who has spoken out several times against the 45th president) give his viewpoint on this during the between-song monologues.
Played regularly with a sensational Nils Lofgren guitar solo during the E Street Band’s recent tour, the song (made into a hit by Patti Smith) is just as powerful when played on a piano. Plus, Smith lives in the Rockaways, so you can bet on her taking the A train into the city for a duet during at least one of these shows.