Bruce Springsteen has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the past week, as fans have expressed outrage over Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” algorithm offering outrageously expensive seats to The Boss’ upcoming North American tour. Tonight (July 26), the artist briefly sidestepped the controversy by joining Bleachers at New York’s Radio City Music Hall for a surprise performance of “Chinatown,” their collaboration from the latter group’s 2021 album Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night.
“We’ve only ever done it acoustic before, so let’s tear the fuckin’ roof off this place,” Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff shouted as the song kicked in, with Springsteen strumming an acoustic guitar and reprising his vocal parts from the studio version. Antonoff was visibly moved at the song’s conclusion, as he waved off the massive applause and gave Springsteen a hug.
Like Springsteen, Antonoff is a proud New Jersey native, and he previously said “Chinatown” was inspired by his Garden State upbringing. “To further understand who you are pushes you to further understand where you are from and what that looks and sounds like,” Antonoff said. “There are pieces in that that are worth carrying forever and pieces worth letting die.”
The artists recorded a live version of “Chinatown” on the roof of New York’s Electric Lady Studios in late 2020 and released it as a video.