Springsteen challenges his band with request orgy

Mon Jul 8, 2013 11:55am EDT
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By Erik Kirschbaum

LEIPZIG, Germany (Reuters) - Bruce Springsteen jumped off the stage and into a frenzied German crowd of 45,000 fans on Sunday in Leipzig to pluck a sign with a hand-written request scrawled on it - as he has been doing all summer on his popular tour across Europe.

But when Springsteen whirled around and held up the name of the song for his band to see, jaws dropped and a frightened look crossed their faces. The sign read "You never can tell" by Chuck Berry, a 1964 tune made popular in the 1994 film "Pulp Fiction."

"Every night we try to pull one out that we haven't played since we were, I dunno, 16," Springsteen said, savoring the challenge of figuring out how to play an unfamiliar song from another artist on the spot in front of a stadium audience.

"Let's see how we do," Springsteen said. He began humming the tune as encouragement to the worried-looking band members who seemed flummoxed by the melody and unsure of the key.

"Try it boys," he said, growing impatient after a few minutes of tentative strumming, tooting and drumming. "Let's hear it now!"

Springsteen and the E Street band then nailed "You never can tell" and the crowd loved them for it just as an even larger crowd did last Saturday at the Stade de France in Paris when he took a request in the crowd for "Lucille".

"Someone's trying to stump the E Street band," Springsteen laughed before the band aced the Little Richard number in Paris.

Leipzig was as enthralled by the boundless energy of Springsteen on Sunday as were similarly large and enthusiastic crowds in Moenchengladbach, Germany on Friday, in Geneva on Wednesday and in London last Sunday.   Continued...

Singer Bruce Springsteen and the E-street band perform during their concert at Molinon Stadium in Gijon, northern Spain June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso