Bruce Springsteen has spent much of the last year of his life playing the same show, singing the same songs, and swapping the same stories about his life in a carefully curated production at the Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway. That’s not a knock by any means. Every review coming out has been over-the-top laudatory, but for a man who’s spent almost 50 years calling setlist audibles on the fly during three-hour marathon gigs, it has to be a little bit stifling, right?
Anyway, “The Boss” decided to mix things up this weekend, joining the California punk rock band Social Distortion onstage as a surprise guest during their recent gig in Springsteen’s stomping grounds of Asbury Park, New Jersey. Mike Ness, Social Distortion’s singer teased the crowd beforehand telling them that someone might appear to “sing a song or two,” then asked, “Do you know who I’m talking about?”
Given the locale, everyone obviously did, and then the man himself appeared guitar in-hand and ready to rip. Springsteen sat in for three songs, spurning his own outsized catalog of hits and ripping into “Bad Luck,” “Misery Loves Company,” and a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” instead.
This wasn’t the first time that Springsteen has played “Bad Luck” live. During a performance with his own band back in 2009 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena “The Boss” invited Ness out to duet with him on the song. As the Social Distortion frontman later told the blog Springsteen and Us, it was Bruce himself that picked the song, because, “He likes to solo on that riff.”
Check out Bruce Springsteen playing with Social Distortion in the video above.