There’s a lot of great stories that are attributed to living legend, Bruce Springsteen, but when looking through the wealth of tales about The Boss one particular theme came up. He was and will always be a man of the people.
One particular story that caught our attention among the volume of stories where Springsteen put himself on the streets and among his fans was the time he took to the roads of Copenhagen back in 1988. It’s a classic tale which deserves repeating, so we will do just that.
It was the summer of 1988 and Bruce Springsteen was in the Danish capital as part of his Tunnel of Love tour. He found himself strolling down Nygade Street with time to kill as he enjoyed the city and the quiet streets near the University of Copenhagen.
While moseying down the road he happened upon busker John Magnusson who was doing his best work hoping for some change. While some details have been lost to the winds of exactly how what happened actually happened, but what we do know is Magnusson had a spare guitar and Springsteen ended up on it.
The Boss, being quite the socio-opposite of his moniker, started his mini street-set by asking for requests from the gathering crowd. That idea came a cropper when a gentleman called out ‘Down By The River’, either mistaking Bruce for Neil Young or mispronouncing ‘The River’ – either way, Springsteen couldn’t bring himself to cover Young and instead waited for another. A lady duly obliged as she shouted “Born In The U.S.A” before weirdly withdrawing her request. Let’s just put that into context, a global rock star is busking, you then ask for his biggest hit and he readies himself, you then withdraw the request and do a 1988 version of the Homer Simpson gif.
Luckily, the next request came from a member of the crowd with a little more confidence as the requested “I’m on Fire” and Springsteen obliged the crowd. The set continued with performances of ‘The River’ and that classic dad-dance anthem ‘Dancing in the Dark’. With video cameras not nearly as available as today, we feel very privileged to have the (very grainy) footage to look back on, otherwise, we may not have believed it.
It wrapped up quickly after but just two days later, Springsteen would play the 52,000-seat Idrætsparken Stadium. All three of the songs that had their Danish debut on the streets, found themselves getting a repeat performance, but, if we’re honest it could never be as cool as seeing him do them spontaneously and sumptuously as on the street.
Watch the rare video of Bruce Springsteen busking in the streets of Copenhagen back in 1988, below.
Source: Rolling Stone