The Killers paid tribute to friend, collaborator, and Jersey icon Bruce Springsteen last night (Sept. 16) by covering his “I’m on Fire” towards the end of its headlining set at the beachfront Sea.Hear.Now festival in the Boss’ Asbury Park, N.J., stomping grounds. “We had to!,” frontman Brandon Flowers told the crowd, which sang along loudly to the classic Born in the U.S.A. track.
Later in the evening, Flowers turned up in jeans, a t-shirt, and baseball cap at beloved Asbury Park rock club the Stone Pony to belt out Springsteen’s “The Promised Land” backed by the Tangiers Blues Band. That group, which features Sea.Hear.Now co-founder and veteran rock photographer Danny Clinch on harmonica, was also joined by E Street Band saxophonist Jake Clemons for the performance.
Springsteen himself was not on hand last night as he recovers from symptoms of peptic ulcer disease, which forced the postponement of several E Street Band shows this month. He and Clemons previously made a surprise three-song appearance at the Killers’ October 2022 Madison Square Garden show, and Springsteen guested on the band’s song “Dustland” the year before.
Flowers has long spoken of Springsteen’s influence on his music. “Before I really became a fan of his, I was in the business of stadium-size everything,” he wrote in 2021. “Larger than life EVERYTHING. Certainly larger than the lives of Jeannie and Terry Flowers. But Bruce has written a lot about people like my parents and found a whole lot of beauty in otherwise invisible people’s hopes and dreams. Their struggles, and their losses. I’m grateful to him for opening this door for me.”
On the heels of releasing the single “Your Side of Town” last month, the Killers are winding down their 2023 roadwork with a handful of upcoming headlining and festival appearances, including at Life Is Beautiful in their Las Vegas hometown and at Eddie Vedder’s Ohana Fest in Dana Point, Ca. The group will also perform at the Formula1 Austin Grand Prix in the Texas capital on Oct. 20.
Sea.Hear.Now continues today with sets from Foo Fighters, Weezer, the Breeders, and Stephen Sanchez, among others.