Bruce Springsteen returned to Broadway this past weekend with a slightly modified set list, some jokes about his recent arrest and more serious thoughts about the state of our democracy.

For his first Springsteen on Broadway show since Dec. 15, 2018, the singer added "Fire," "American Skin (41 Shots)" and "I'll See You in My Dreams" to the fifteen song set, replacing "Brilliant Disguise," "The Ghost of Tom Joad" and former show closer "Born to Run."

"It's been a long time coming!" Springsteen told the crowd after the opening number, according to a report from Variety. He then quickly ran down how he kept busy during the COVID-19 lockdown, releasing the Letter to You album (from which "I'll See You in My Dreams" was taken), starting a podcast with former President Barack Obama, and being "handcuffed and thrown in jail!"

Referring to an incident where he was arrested after accepting two shots of tequila from fans while riding his motorcycle, Springsteen joked, "my case was the United States of America versus Bruce Springsteen. That’s always comforting to hear — that the entire nation is aligned against you. ‘You have managed to engage in an act so heinous that it has offended the entire fucking United States!'"

Springsteen's blood-alcohol content was reportedly well below New Jersey's 0.008 threshold, and he ended up pleading guilty to a reduced charge of consuming alcohol in a closed area.

Springsteen got more serious while introducing "American Skin (41 Shots)," written about the 1999 police shooting death of Amadou Diallo. "We are living in troubled and troubling times,” he said (as reported by the Asbury Park Press). “I don't believe I've seen another moment, certainly not in my lifetime, where the survival of democracy itself, not just who's going to be running the show for the next four years, but the survival of democracy itself, is deeply threatened. I'm frightened for us... It's scary, scary times filled with confusion."

Bruce Springsteen, Springsteen on Broadway Set List, June 26, 2021

"Growin’ Up"
"My Hometown"
"My Father’s House"
"The Wish"
"Thunder Road"
"The Promised Land"
"Born in the U.S.A."
"Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"
"Tougher Than the Rest"
"Fire"
"American Skin (41 Shots)"
"The Rising"
"Dancing in the Dark"
"Land of Hope and Dreams"
"I’ll See You in My Dreams"

 

Bruce Springsteen Albums Ranked

Because he spent so many of his formative years painstakingly crafting his albums, we don’t often think of Bruce Springsteen as a prolific artist.