Bruce Springsteen Returns to Stage for Stand Up For Heroes Benefit, Tells Dirty Jokes and Performs With John Mellencamp

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Bruce Springsteen returned to the stage on Monday night (Nov. 6) for a very special reason. The 74-year-old rock icon who has been laying low for several months after postponing the E Street Band’s world tour due to a battle with a peptic ulcer disease was back in fine form at David Geffen Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to perform a few songs for the annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit show.


Springsteen, who is a staple at the event benefitting wounded veterans, was expected to miss this year’s show due to his touring commitments before coming off the road in September to rest and recuperate. Instead, he surprised the crowd by joining John Mellencamp on stage for a mini-set at the event that raised more than $14 million for the Bob Woodruff Foundation and also featured appearances and performances from comedians Jimmy Carr, Ronny Chieng, Tracy Morgan, Shane Gillis and Jon Stewart, as well as Josh Groban, The War and Treaty, Rita Wilson and taped comments from First Lady Jill Biden and Prince Harry.

Standing with their arms around each other’s shoulders, Springsteen and Mellencamp performed their duet on Mellencamp’s 2022 song “Wasted Days,” with Bruce hanging around to perform four additional solo acoustic songs, according to the Asbury Park Press.

“I hope everybody’s all right. I didn’t want to make any people sick,” Mellencamp said during his introduction after the show was briefly stopped for a medical issue in the crowd. “I’m going to bring out one of the best songwriters of our generation, and he’s my big brother and I’ve looked up to him my whole life. Ladies and gentlemen, Bruce Springsteen.”

The paper noted that the Boss also served up in-between-song “ribald, double-entendre jokes” as he’s done in the past while rolling out the live debut of “Addicted to Romance,” a song he recorded with The National’s Bryce Dessner for the soundtrack to the movie She Came to Me.

Springsteen also played “Power of Prayer” from the E Street’s 2020 album Letter to You, as well as his 1984 Born in the U.S.A. classic “Working on the Highway” and that album’s Grammy-winning “Dancing in the Dark.” Mellencamp performed some of his most iconic hits as well, including “Jack and Diane” and “Small Town.”

The E Street Band will get back on the road beginning March 19 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ.

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