Bruce Springsteen's Top Ten Most Played Concert Songs

Tuesday, 11, June, 2013

‘The Boss’ will be performing under the arch this weekend as it prepares to rock like never before.

Bruce Springsteen brings his ‘Wrecking Ball’ tour to a packed Wembley Stadium on Saturday, so in anticipation of the show, thanks to figures from setlist.fm, we count down his top ten most played concert tracks.

How many do you think you’ll hear and which one are you looking forward to most on Saturday?

Dancing In The Dark (626 performances)
Released as the first single from the best-selling album of Springsteen's career, Born in the USA Adding up-tempo synthesizer riffs and some syncopation to his sound for the first time, it became his biggest hit.

When performed live, the song's outro would be extended while Springsteen searched the front rows of the audience for a woman to pull up onstage and dance with (echoing the music video, in which Bruce dances with future Friends star Courtney Cox).

The song was a staple of Bruce’s sets for eight years from 1984 before disappearing from Springsteen concerts for a decade. After becoming a staple of Springsteen’s concerts for eight years, the song found its revival on the Magic Tour in 2007 after a ten year absence.

 

Prove It All Night (646 performances)
The first single released from the 1978 ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ album and it has been a semi-regular selection in Springsteen and E Street Band concerts ever since.

To Springsteen fans, by far the most famous arrangement of it occurred during their 1978 Tour when it was reshaped into an eleven-minute epic with a long, howling guitar-over-piano introduction and a frenetic organ-and-guitar-over-drums outro.

On some concerts during the Wrecking Ball Tour Springsteen has surprised the audience by playing the track again in the '78 version, leaving us wondering if we’ll be treated to this version at Wembley?

Darkness on the Edge of Town (675 performances)
Darkness on the Edge of Town is the title track from Springsteen’s fourth album, released in 1978. Although not released as a single, the song, like the album, has become a firm fan favourite over the years.

Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out (696 performances)
‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’ is the second song on ‘Born to Run’, Springsteen's 1976 breakthrough album, and tells the story of the formation of the E Street Band. It has become a staple of tours ever since and on this tour it is being used as a tribute to Clarence Clemons, the E Street Band's long-time saxophonist who sadly passed away in 2011.

Born in the USA (697 performances)
Taken from the album of the same name, Born in the USA is one of Springsteen’s best-known singles. Lyrically, the song deals with the negative effects of the Vietnam War on Americans, but is often misunderstood to be a patriotic or nationalistic anthem. It has been a regular on tour since release in 1984 but not always as it is best remembered.

During the 1999-2000 Reunion Tour there was a solo acoustic version and on Springsteen's solo Devils & Dust Tour in 2005 he performed it using an amplified "stomping board" and an ultra-distorting vocal "bullet microphone", two devices designed to render any song utterly incomprehensible to all but the sharpest of ears.

 

Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (720 performances)
‘Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)’ is a 1973 song by Bruce Springsteen, from his The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle album, and is especially famed as a concert number. For many years ‘Rosalita’ always closed the regular set in Springsteen concerts, often elongated to incorporate extended band introductions.

After being dropped from the show during the Born in the U.S.A. Tour in 1984, it made only rare or sporadic appearances, leading to fans campaigning for the song to be played. Finally, during the 2003 The Rising Tour ‘Rosalita’ was inserted into the encores and has been played sporadically since.

 

Thunder Road (1049 performances)
‘Thunder Road’ is the opening track on Springsteen’s 1975 breakthrough album Born to Run. During the 1974 to 1977 Born to Run tours, ‘Thunder Road’ was always played by Springsteen with nothing but a piano accompaniment, not until later in the tour did it make full-band appearances. In concert in the 1980s, the song was often played to close out the first set.

The early 1990s "Other Band" Tour devised it on acoustic guitar and a haunting organ in the background. The song then disappeared from Springsteen concerts until emerging again in 1999 in the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Reunion Tour, where it was played at a significantly slower tempo than the more upbeat studio version.

The Promised Land (1055 performances)
Taken from the 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' album, 'The Promised Land' was released as a single in Europe, backed by 'Streets of Fire'. The song has been a staple of Springsteen's live shows since 1978, and has been included on several concert albums and videos.

 

Badlands (1070 performances)
This is the fourth song on this list from the 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' album and 'Badlands' was the second single taken from it. The song tells the story of a man down on his luck and angry at the world, who wants a better lot in life. It opened shows on the 1978 Darkness Tour before the album had even been released and has appeared in just about every tour since apart.

Born To Run (1330 performances)
No surprises with Bruce’s most played track, ‘Born To Run’ is a clear winner having been played nearly 300 times more than ‘Badlands’, ‘The Promised Land’ and ‘Thunder Road’.

The song was Bruce Springsteen's last-ditch effort to make it big and the lyrics to the song are appropriately epic for his last-ditch, all-or-nothing shot at the stars, yet they remain rooted in the universal desperation of adolescence.

The song has been played at nearly every non-solo Springsteen concert since it was written in 1974 (although it was not included in the 2006 Sessions Band Tour). Most of the time the house lights are turned fully on and fans sing along throughout the song's performance.