As The Killers returned to the stage for an encore during their Madison Square Garden concert on Saturday night, frontman Brandon Flowers admitted the veteran rock band had butterflies throughout the night.
“Everybody gets a little nervous when their boss shows up for work, don’t they,” Flowers told the sold-out New York crowd, alluding to who was waiting backstage.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but me and my friends have been sweating bullets here all night. Because The Boss is here.
That’s when Bruce Springsteen stepped out, carrying his Telecaster guitar, as he and The Killers burst into a rousing rendition of his 1978 classic “Badlands”, bringing a jolt of Jersey rock to the most arena. famous in the world.
Springsteen joined the band for the entire encore, guesting on three songs in all. They also performed “A Dustland Fairytale” by The Killers before ending with Springsteen’s signature song, “Born to Run”.
Jake Clemons of the E Street Band was also present, recreating the saxophone parts of his late uncle Clarence.
The live guest spot comes after Springsteen and The Killers collaborated in the studio last year to record a remake of “A Dustland Fairytale,” the band’s 2008 Bruce-style single.
It also comes a week after Springsteen turned 73 and three days after announcing his 21st studio album, ‘Only the Strong Survive,’ a collection of 15 soul covers due out November 11.
And consider Saturday’s short set a warm-up for Springsteen’s first concert tour in seven years, which is set to begin in February.
Rumors of a Bruce sighting brewed on social media before the show, The Killers’ second in a two-night adventure at MSG.
Not only is the arena an hour from Springsteen’s Farm in Colts Neck, but the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer has long been a clear influence on The Killers, darlings of the wave of alternative rock that has sprung up in early 2000s.
Like The Boss’ work, the Las Vegas band’s catalog is filled with anthemic arrangements, soaring choruses and lyrics about heartthrob and hometown heroes. Their 2020 album “Imploding the Mirage” is particularly Springsteen-esque.
Before performing “A Dustland Fairtytale” on Saturday, Flowers noted how he usually asks fans to hold their cellphones during the number and think about what brings light to their lives.
“It’s a very unusual circumstance for me tonight,” the singer said, standing next to Springsteen. “Because I get a lot of my light from you.”
Flowers once shared a stage with Springsteen, when he was a guest on “Thunder Road” during an E Street Band in the Netherlands in 2009.
But Saturday was Springsteen’s first time joining a Killers show. The flowers beamed repeatedly as he sang alongside his hero.
Springsteen is well known for his surprise appearances at local concerts. In June, he joined Paul McCartney at MetLife Stadium. In July, he joined alternative rock band Bleachers – fronted by Jersey mega-producer Jack Antonoff – at Radio City Music Hall.
Springsteen will return to Madison Square Garden on April 1 for a leg of his upcoming tour. The Freehold native will play the only show of the tour in New Jersey at the Prudential Center in Newark on April 14.
This tour received some negative attention for the high price of some tickets. Fans joked on social media that Saturday’s three-song set was a more affordable way to see Springsteen.
His encore cameo was a high-energy ceiling for a high-energy gig, as The Killers ripped through rugged renditions of hits like “Mr. Brightside”, “Somebody Told Me” and “When You Were Young”.
The band actually closed out shows throughout this tour with guest appearances by another influence. Johnny Marr, the famed guitarist for 1980s alternative rock icons The Smiths, was the band’s opening act this summer and usually joins them on stage at the end of the night for a cover of the Smiths’ hit ‘This Charming Man “.
But on Saturday, Marr remained behind the scenes. Instead, it was Springsteen who pointed out the finale. And yes, the crowd dutifully chanted “BRUUUCE!” several times.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.
Brent Johnson can be attached to [email protected]. Follow him on @johnsb01.