Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are currently embarking on their 2023 tour, and it appears they’re adding some setlist changes sprinkled into different cities. During their recent concert at Houston’s Toyota Center, Springsteen played his 1972 song, “If I Was The Priest,” for the first time in over fifty years.
“I wrote this song,” Springsteen said. “I was 22. 50 years ago. I still don’t have a clue what the f*ck it’s about.”
As the story goes, he had played it during auditions that year for managers Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos and a try-out at CBS Records. Since then, there’s been no documentation that he’s played the song live since May 2, 1972, according to Rolling Stone… until now.
Springsteen went on to re-record the track for his 2020 album, Letters To You, as part of the three archival songs included. (The other two were “Song For Orphans” and “Janey Needs a Shooter.”)
“It’s fun to go back and see how wild my lyric writing was, and how uninhibited it was at a certain moment, and to be able to take that and bring it into the present with the band, and sing it in my voice right now, was a bit of a joy ride,” Springsteen told the New York Times that year. “The thing about those songs, every line is insane! And somehow they end up making sense about something. I’m not sure how I did it at the time.”
Watch Springsteen’s performance of “If I Was The Priest” above.