Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band followed in the footsteps of so many as they paid tribute to Prince by opening their show in Brooklyn Saturday night with a cover of Purple Rain.
Donning a purple scarf, Springsteen took to the stage aglow in purple lighting to open the show with the song that has become the late singer’s anthem.
Springsteen strummed the opening chords and led the E Street band in a poignant rendition of the 1984 hit, giving Brooklyn’s Barclays Center a church-like quality.
— Barclays Center (@barclayscenter) April 24, 2016
According to Billboard, the group usually opens the show with “Meet Me in the City,” but chose instead to honor Prince, who passed away last week.
Billboard noted the guitar solo by Nils Lofrgren, who played an elongated solo before Springsteen encouraged the crowd to sing along with him.
— Backstreets Magazine (@backstreetsmag) April 24, 2016
At the end of the piece, Springsteen offered parting words to the the musical genius.
“Whenever I saw Prince, I left the show humbled. Prince, forever. God bless!”
Springsteen will close out the sold out U.S. leg of his The River tour Monday night at Barclays.
According to Forbes, Springsteen paid similar homage to David Bowie after the British rocker’s death in January. During the opening performance of the U.S. leg of The River tour in Pittsburgh on January 16, which was less than a week after Bowie died, The Boss played Rebel Rebel in memory of the rocker.
— songpills music (@songpills) March 14, 2016
Before delivering his bittersweet cover of the Diamond Dogs classic, Springsteen shared with the audience about the time he met Bowie, who once complemented Springsteen by calling him the only American artist whose music he wanted to cover, according to Rolling Stone magazine.
“We’re gonna take a moment and note the passing of our good friend David Bowie. Not enough people know it but he recorded our music way, way, way back in the very beginning, 1973. He rang me up and I visited him down in Philly while he was making the Young Americans record. He covered some of my music, ‘It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City,’ ‘Growin’ Up,’ and he was a big supporter of ours. I took the Greyhound bus down to Philadelphia, that’s how early on it was. Anyway, we’re thinking of him.”
He did the same following Glenn Frey’s death on January 19, when he and the E Street Band offered a cover of the Eagles classic “Take It Easy” at his January 20 show.
It was particularly poignant to hear the crowd — cell-phones raised and waving — singing along with Springsteen, never missing a word from the lyrics.
Bruce Springsteen finished the song by simply saying, “Glenn Frey.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) April 24, 2016
Springsteen will take a few weeks off before heading to Europe for a stadium tour that kicks off May 14 in Barcelona.
One can only hope that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will not have to pay tribute to any other artist as they complete their world tour.
[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]