Bruce Springsteen wrapped up a string of five benefit concerts Saturday at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, N.J., with a star-studded three-hour show, featuring surprise appearances by Bruce Hornsby, E
Bruce Springsteen wrapped up a string of five benefit concerts Saturday at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, N.J., with a star-studded three-hour show, featuring surprise appearances by Bruce Hornsby, Elvis Costello, and members of the E Street Band. Officially billed as "Bruce Springsteen and the Max Weinberg 7 and Friends," each of the shows featured area favorites Garland Jeffreys and Southside Johnny and helped raise money for 13 local charities, including a proposed performing arts center for children.
The concerts included a heavy dose of Christmas classics such as "Jingle Bell Rock," "Deck the Halls," and "Merry Christmas Baby," a nightly tribute to George Harrison, and a slew of tunes from Springsteen's early career, including five out of seven tracks from his 1973 Columbia album "The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle." Springsteen also unearthed three songs from "Tracks," his 1998 boxed set of rarities, including "Seaside Bar Song," which had never previously been performed live.
Hornsby joined Springsteen for Friday and Saturday's concerts to play "Spider Fingers," from the former's 1995 RCA album "Hot House," and "End of the Innocence," which Hornsby wrote with Don Henley. Hornsby returned later to perform Hot Chocolate's 1975 soul classic "You Sexy Thing" with Springsteen on lead vocals and Hornsby on accordion.
Costello's appearance on Saturday was the biggest surprise of the concert series. The crowd responded wildly as Springsteen announced, "Elvis has entered the building" while the Liverpool, England, native took the stage to play an acoustic version of "Alison" with Springsteen on back-up vocals. Costello returned later to sing backup with Springsteen on "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town."