Bruce Springsteen performed a secret, farewell acoustic concert at the White House for President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and Obama staffers last week, Springsteen fan site Backstreets reports.
According to the site, Springsteen played a 15-song acoustic set in front of a 200-person crowd that included the Obamas in the White House’s East Room on Jan. 12. Springsteen previously appeared in the East Room to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in November.
Springsteen’s set reportedly spanned his 50-plus-year career, and included crowd favorites like “Thunder Road” and “Born in the USA,” as well as rarer tracks like “The Wish” and “My Father’s House,” Backstreets reports. Wife Patti Scialfa joined Springsteen to perform “Tougher Than the Rest” and “If I Should Fall Behind.”
The Boss reportedly addressed the crowd between tracks frequently, at one point calling “Born in the USA” a “protest song” that “had been misunderstood before and would be misunderstood again,” Backstreets writes. Springsteen and Scialfa also dedicated “Tougher Than the Rest” to President Obama and the first lady.
The concert wrapped up with a performance of “Land of Hope and Dreams," the 1999 track to which President Obama left the stage following his farewell address earlier this month. However, despite the 15-song set, Backstreets reports that the mood for the event “was not exactly somber, but it wasn’t festive, either.”
Following the concert, Backstreets reports that President Obama thanked Springsteen, saying that “he’s been with us for some time now, performing his craft to show his support.”
News of Springsteen’s performance at the White House follows the withdrawal of Springsteen cover band the B Street Band from the Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala, a Washington-based event celebrating President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. B Street frontman Will Forte said the band dropped the gig out of the “respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band.”
Springsteen is a noted critic of Trump, telling Rolling Stone in September that “the republic is under siege by a moron.”
The full setlist from Springsteen’s White House performance is below:
- "Working on the Highway"
- "Growin' Up"
- "My Hometown"
- "My Father's House"
- "The Wish"
- "Thunder Road"
- "The Promised Land"
- "Born in the U.S.A."
- "Devils & Dust"
- "Tougher Than the Rest" (with Patti Scialfa)
- "If I Should Fall Behind" (with Patti Scialfa)
- "The Ghost of Tom Joad"
- "Long Walk Home"
- "Dancing in the Dark"
- "Land of Hope and Dreams"