Bruce Springsteen Plays ‘The River’ Solo On Colbert And Details A New Concert Film

As soon as the new year hit, we reported on Bruce Springsteen’s “big surprise” for fans this year. Now it’s all coming to fruition.

Months ago, The Boss announced his Renegades: Born In The USA podcast with Barack Obama, and now a book about those conversations is out today. Last night on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Springsteen dropped in to chat and play a song. They spoke about the book, but also about the upcoming Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band concert film/album entitled The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts. The never-before-seen recording came from the 1979 No Nukes benefit show, which also featured Jackson Browne, Chaka Khan, Tom Petty, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, and others. The E Street band played two 90-minute sets, including one on Springsteen’s 30th birthday and the footage from the latter, which took place at Madison Square Garden, is in the film.

A clip played on the Colbert show of the film’s encore song, in which the gregarious Springsteen toys with the crowd, who are imploring for another song. “I can’t go on like this. I’m 30 years old! My heart’s starting to go on me!” he joked before telling them that, “I don’t want you to beg,” while beckoning them to do exactly that and then immediately exploding into the encore with “A Quarter To Three.”

But there was more than just conversation on with Colbert. After they spoke, Springsteen took to the stage by himself to play an impassioned version of his 1980 song “The River” and it was, well…breathtaking. “It’s a song I wrote when I was that young man. Weeks or months before that show,” he told Colbert. “It’s really the beginning of certain kind of my narrative writing ,which led to a record I wrote called Nebraska, another record I wrote called Ghost of Tom Joad and Devils & Dust.”

Watch the video of Bruce Springsteen performing “The River” above.

The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts film and album will be released digitally on 11/16/2022, physical on 11/19/2022, and on digital rental on 11/23/2022. Pre-order it here.