Bruce Springsteen returned to Broadway on Saturday night for his show Springsteen On Broadway, marking the first full-capacity show to reopen since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 dimmed all of Broadway.

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Fans from all across America traveled to unite again under the same roof to see The Boss perform. Springsteen and guests who were 16 or older were required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Those under 16 or who needed “reasonable accommodations due to disability or sincerely held religious belief” had to prove they tested negative and had to wear a mask.

The rules attracted a mob of anti-vaccine protestors at the entrance of the St. James Theatre who said Springsteen was discriminating against them. Among the audience members were New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and lead guitarist of E Street Band Little Steven Van Zandt, who received applause prior to sitting in his seat.

“It’s good to see everyone here tonight unmasked, sitting next to each other,” the rock n’ roll legend said. “What a year. I’m 71 years on this planet and I’ve never seen anything like it. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution have been so bludgeoned and disrespected that I’m frightened for us.”

Springsteen added to his set his song “American Skin (41 Shots)” while standing on stage in a blood-red spotlight, paying tribute to George Floyd.

The Broadway reprise strayed from its original 2017 dialogue with Springsteen incorporating jokes about events he went through this year into the storyline, referring to his Nov. 14, 2020 arrest in his hometown state for drunk driving.

“I was handcuffed and thrown into jail,” Springsteen said of his arrest. “New Jersey. They love me there.”

Audience members noticed a vulnerable side of Springsteen who wiped tears multiple times while talking about his late father. Springsteen paid tribute to his father during his song “My Father’s House.”

He replaced certain songs in his original setlist such as his closing song “Born to Run” with “I’ll See You In My Dreams” from his 2020 album with his E Street Band. His wife Pattie Scialfa joined him on stage for a duet version of his song “Fire” which he wrote for the Pointer Sisters in 1978.

The show runs at the St. James Theater until September 4.

 

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