Bruce Springsteen returns to the stage in Phoenix after health issues postponed tour

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PHOENIX — PHOENIX (AP) — Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band returned to the stage Tuesday evening at the Footprint Center in Phoenix in a triumphant reboot of the Boss’ postponed 2023 world tour.

In September Springsteen, 74, announced his tour would be delayed until 2024, citing doctor’s advice as he recovered from peptic ulcer disease.

“The Boss” arrived on stage to an audience chorus of “Bruuuuce!” Wearing dark jeans and a rolled up red plaid flannel shirt, he had the energy of a man half his age. His signature “One, two, three, four” was the only thing that separated most songs, showing no signs of his illness from the previous year. Once he shouted, “Good evening, Arizona” the show was off and running.

Springsteen spoke to the crowd briefly about his illness prior to playing his final song “I’ll See You In My Dreams” solo on stage. “Phoenix, first I want to apologize if there was any discomfort because we had to move the show last time. . . . I hope we didn’t inconvenience you too much.”

The 29-song show came in just under three hours, but “The Boss” hardly broke a sweat while showing off a strong voice, all the while dancing, tearing into guitar solos, playing the harmonica and even ripping his shirt open near the end of the show.

On stage with Springsteen was the legendary E Street Band which features drummer Max Weinberg, bassist Garry Tallent, keyboardists Roy Bittan and Charlie Giordano, guitarists Stevie Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren, saxophonist Jake Clemons — nephew of original and still missed sax man Clarence Clemons who died in 2011 — guitarist and violin player Soozie Tyrell, a full horn and brass section and four backup vocalists. The only missing member of the band was Springsteen’s wife, singer and guitarist Patti Scialfa.

Springsteen performed most of the hits in his vast collection, minus “Born In The U.S.A.,” but he added covers “Nightshift” by the Commodores, “Because The Night” by Patti Smith Group, and a surprise: “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles. Fans went wild for “No Surrender,” “Born To Run,” “Rosalita,” “Dancing In The Dark,” “Glory Days” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” that left the rocker grinning from ear-to-ear as he conducted fans singing along like his own chorus.

This year has been particularly challenging for Springsteen. In addition to his health issues, in January his mother, Adele Ann Springsteen, a fan favorite who could frequently be seen dancing at his shows, died. She was 98.

Two days after her death, Springsteen performed at the 2024 MusiCares Person of the Year event, which honored Jon Bon Jovi for his musical achievements and philanthropic efforts.

The 2024 edition of the tour kicked off in Phoenix and ends Nov. 22 in Vancouver, Canada. It hits 17 countries across 52 dates, including a special performance on Sept. 15 where Springsteen will headline the Sea.Hear.Now Festival in his hometown of Asbury Park, New Jersey.

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