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MusiCares Person Of The Year

On February 8, MusiCares honored Bruce Springsteen as the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year, celebrating his exceptional artistic achievements as well as his philanthropic work. Proceeds from the event provided essential support for MusiCares, which ensures that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical, and personal need.

The event, hosted by The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart, included tribute performances from Elton John, Neil Young, Sting, Eddie Vedder, and Mumford & Sons amongst others, plus a moving acceptance speech from Bruce himself.

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Wrecking Ball

Springsteen’s 17th studio album, Wrecking Ball, debuts at #1 in 16 countries, marking his 10th #1 album in the US, led by the first single “We Take Care Of Our Own.” The album focused largely on the American experience following the economic crash of 2008, and would later earn three Grammy nominations and spark the year-and-a-half long Wrecking Ball Tour that saw performances across North and South America, Europe, and Australia.

Working on a Dream

Working on a Dream Tour 2009

Or, Part II of the E Street Band’s Magic Tour, featuring the sign-collection set, full-album performances, multiple festival dates, and the scorching debut of Jay Weinberg.

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Busting the Super Bowl in Half

Nearly 40 years before, manager Mike Appel pushed for Bruce Springsteen to play the Super Bowl. At the time, the idea was laughable; soon enough, however, the NFL comes courting Bruce. After Bruce performs at Barack Obama’s inaugural celebration, Appel’s dream becomes a reality, as Springsteen brings his E Street Band to the Super Bowl half-time show. Compressing the excitement of a three-hour E Street Band show into 12 minutes is the challenge, and with a non-stop house party that includes “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” “Born to Run,” the new “Working on a Dream,” and “Glory Days” (as well as an infamous knee-slide), they pull it off.

New Orleans

New Orleans

Springsteen and his new Sessions Band hit the road to support We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, beginning in the birthplace of their sonic gumbo, New Orleans. This post-Hurricane Katrina Jazz Fest performance is an important night for Springsteen: aside from breaking in a new 20-piece band, it has been years since he has really had to prove himself to an audience.

He isn’t preaching to the choir for the first time in a long time; following Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint, it is a decidedly non-partisan crowd. But Bruce and the Sessions players more than meet the challenge, laying the sun into the ground for a two-hour set that has the crowd eventually eating out of their hands, many with tears streaming down their faces. Springsteen talks about getting to town the previous day and heading down to the Lower Ninth: “I saw some things I never thought I’d see in an American city.” The emotional “My City of Ruins,” which begins the encore, might as well have been written on that visit; during the song, the whole packed fairgrounds field has hands in the air.