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Bruce Springsteen Played a Secret Show for Obama Staffers at the White House

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 22: U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with musician Bruce Springsteen during a Presidential Medal of Freedom presentation ceremony at the White House November 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor for civilians in the United States of America. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Bruce Springsteen played a secret show at the White House on January 12 as a sign of appreciation for President Obama and his staffers, according to the fansite Backstreets.

Backstreets reports between 200 and 250 staffers attended the 15-song acoustic set, which took place in the White House’s East Room. Both Barack and Michelle Obama were also in attendance.

Springsteen reportedly dedicated “Tougher Than the Rest” to the Obamas, and told the audience “Born in the U.S.A” was a “protest song” that’s been repeatedly misinterpreted. Before playing “The Wish,” he spoke about the president’s family and his relationship with his own mother, who he said taught him “about how to be in the world.” The set ended with what Backstreets’ source described as “almost somber and dark” version of “Dancing in the Dark” followed by “Land of Hope and Dreams.”

When the show was over, Obama thanked Springsteen, saying “he’s been with us for some time now, performing his craft to show his support,” and expressed gratitude for his staff and their families.

The full set list from the performance, via Backstreets, is below:

“Working on the Highway”
“Growin’ Up”
“My Hometown”
“My Father’s House”
“The Wish”
“Thunder Road”
“The Promised Land”
“Born in the U.S.A.”
“Devils & Dust”
“Tougher Than the Rest” (with Patti Scialfa)
“If I Should Fall Behind” (with Patti Scialfa)
“The Ghost of Tom Joad”
“Long Walk Home”
“Dancing in the Dark”
“Land of Hope and Dreams”

[Rolling Stone]