Bruce Springsteen Pays Tribute to Shane MacGowan, Jumps Into Ireland Crowd for E Street Band Performance

Bruce Springsteen paid tribute to late Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan on Sunday, May 12, at his concert with the E Street Band at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny, Ireland, and the Boss also got up close and personal with the crowd during the show.

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Springsteen kicked off the concert by treating fans who arrived early to a surprise solo acoustic rendition of the rarity “This Hard Land.”

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The Boss and his group then delivered a heartfelt rendition of The Pogues’ introspective 1986 love song “A Rainy Night in Soho,” as the audience joined in. According to Setlist.fm, this marked the first time Springsteen had ever performed the tune in concert.

MacGowan’s Widow and Former Band Thanked Bruce for the Tribute

MacGowan died on November 30, 2023, at age 65 after a long illness. After Springsteen’s performance, Shane’s widow, Victoria Mary Clarke, and The Pogues took to social media to share their appreciation of the Boss and his band’s homage.

Clarke wrote, “Thank you @springsteen for your beautiful tribute to @ShaneMacGowan,” and posted a link to a fan-shot clip of the performance.

[RELATED: Bruce Springsteen Pens “Heartbroken” Message on Ex-Pogues Singer Shane MacGowan’s Death]

The Pogues posted a note that reads, “Lovely tribute to our boss. Thanks @springsteen.”

Springsteen Jumped into the Crowd

Later in the concert, Springsteen jumped into the crowd during a performance of his 1973 gem “Spirit in the Night.” A video posted on the Consequence website’s X Page shows the Boss hanging in the pit behind a barricade as E Street Band saxophonist Jake Clemons plays a solo. Springsteen then tried to return to the stage, but had some difficulty getting over the metal fence.

“I think I’m stuck in here,” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd. “How the f— am I gonna get [back onstage]? All right, give me a hand, kids.”

A security guard then came and hoisted the rocker over the fence, as Springsteen declared, “Ready? Major project. Incoming over the barricade.” After he was back on his feet the other side of the barrier, Bruce quipped, “I didn’t need any help. That’s all right. That was fine … Where were we?” He then kicked back into the song.

More About Springsteen and MacGowan

Regarding MacGowan, Springsteen held the late Pogues singer/songwriter in extremely high esteem, and paid a personal visited to an ailing Shane when he and the E Street Band were touring Ireland in May 2023.

After MacGowan’s death, Springsteen penned a tribute that read, in part, “Over here on E Street, we are heartbroken over the death of Shane MacGowan. Shane was one of my all-time favorite writers. The passion and deep intensity of his music and lyrics is unmatched by all but the very best in the rock and roll canon. … His music is timeless and eternal. I don’t know about the rest of us, but they’ll be singing Shane’s songs 100 years from now.”

About Springsteen’s Upcoming Tour Plans

The current European leg of Springsteen and the E Street Band’s 2024 tour continues Thursday, May 16, in Cork, Ireland. The trek, which will visit more than a dozen countries, winds down with two shows as Wembley Stadium in London on July 25 and 27.

After the European trek, the Boss and his group will then mount a second 2024 U.S. leg in August and September, followed by a Canadian trek that runs from late October to late November. Visit BruceSpringsteen.net to check out his full itinerary.

Tickets for the concerts are available via a variety of outlets, including StubHub.

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