Bruce Springsteen is no stranger to surprise appearances. Following the release of his recent film Western Stars, the songwriter stopped by one theater in his native Freehold, New Jersey to introduce two screenings of the film to an awe-stricken crowd. In December, the Boss surprised fans with a two-hour benefit set at the historic Asbury Park venue the Stone Pony. Now, Springsteen has outdone himself once again, showing up at Light of Day‘s annual WinterFest benefit concert in Asbury Park to join the performance, as Rolling Stone and Variety report.
WinterFest is a weeklong musical event that raises money to help fight Parkinson’s Disease, and is this year celebrating its 20th anniversary. No stranger to the Asbury Park-based organization, Springsteen has been present at earlier events including their WinterFest celebration in 2015. This year, Springsteen took the stage during Jesse Malin‘s 7:50pm set to perform with the songwriter.
“We’re going to bring out a guy, an older guy,” Malin first told the crowd. “He sings pretty good.” From there, Springsteen took the stage to rapturous applause, and the band dove into “Broken Radio,” the second single from Malin’s 2007 album Glitter in the Gutter and recorded duet with Springsteen. The New Jersey native also stuck around to play guitar on “Meet Me at the End of the World” from Malin’s latest album Sunset Kids.
If that weren’t enough, Springsteen also joined Willie Nile to perform the song “One Guitar” and Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers for their full ten-song set. In addition to Grushecky songs like “Talking to the King,” “Pumping Iron,” and “Never Enough Time,” the band also played Springsteen favorites including “Atlantic City,” “The Promised Land,” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”
Like past benefits, the night winded down with none other than Springsteen’s “Light of Day,” which saw nearly all of the night’s performers take the stage and join in. “It’s been an incredible experience,” Springsteen said. “Let’s do one more song!” With that, he was joined by Grushecky’s keyboardist to perform one final rendition of “Thunder Road.”
Watch footage of the night’s performances below and revisit our list of Springsteen’s 10 best acoustic songs.