At the end of the day, music is all about joy. Bruce Springsteen knows this better than most. The American musician has been making his audiences smile from cheek to cheek for more than 50 years now, and during his career, he has never once stopped enjoying himself.
In this footage of Springsteen and the E Street Band performing an improvised version of Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’, it’s clear that the ‘Born To Run’ singer has as much wide-eyed passion for music as he did when his mother handed him his first guitar at the age of 16, which he’d been begging for ever since seeing The Beatles live on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. He would go on to write ‘Wish’ about that fateful Christmas when he found a “brand new Japanese guitar” lying beneath the tree.
The instrument came with him to his first rehearsals with the musicians who would later form the E Street Band. At that time, they performed mostly rock ‘n’ roll covers, many of which they knew off by heart. When Springsteen went on tour in 2013, he offered up a challenge to himself and to his band: to perform one track every night that “we haven’t played since we were, I don’t know, sixteen, or maybe never.”
There’s something so endearing about seeing one of the best live acts in the world fumbling chord changes and straining their voices to work out long-forgotten melodies. As Springsteen attempts to locate the correct key to Chuck Berry’s 1964 track ‘You Never Can Tell’, he is totally unembarrassed, allowing for a profound sense of intimacy between performer and audience. Then, suddenly, the band kick into gear and burst into a spot-on cover. With such levels of virtuously, how could they not?
It’s nearly impossible not to crack a smile while watching this video. It reminds us that the best live bands are the ones you can tell are really having fun. Here, Springsteen and the E Street Band seem to be having the absolute time of their lives. They even get the crowd involved, asking them to sing the infectious main motif as the horn section attempt to work it out on their instruments. For any other band, such a situation would be utterly terrifying, but it’s a walk in the park for the E Street Band. Make sure you check out the footage above if you haven’t already.