E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren has hailed the physical strength and energy of Bruce Springsteen after sustaining an injury when fans went wild during a concert.
It’s made Lofgren realise just how much the Boss puts into his live performances, which, on his current tour, are nearly four hours in length.
The guitarist tells Rolling Stone: “It’s exhausting and exhilarating – but I look at Bruce and he’s doing the heavy lifting. He’s out there on five podiums in the stadiums, getting out there and letting people grab him, paw him, scratch his arms, rip his wristbands off – whatever.
“We were in Vienna doing Darlington County, where I sing a bit with him. I go running out to a podium to find him, and he’s running by me back to the centre, so I’ve got to turn back and chase him. Then he grabs me in a headlock and pulls me out to sing with him.
“Next thing I know the crowd grabs my right arm. I fell over a monitor in New Orleans a month ago and tore my rotator cuff. It’s healing, but it’s kind of weak.
“All of a sudden I realise, ‘Oh my God, they’re not letting go of my arm.’ They’re not trying to hurt me, but by the time I got my arm free I did some damage to the healing there.
“I’m a little sore. I’ve got ice packs and everything. But he’s going through that all night long.”
Lofgren insists there’s no other way to put on a Springsteen show. He says: “The contact he insists on offering the audience is critical. Part of communicating all that elation, jubilation, hope, joy, sadness, despair, darkness, is that access to him. Not just through the songs, but physically.”
But he believes the band have been changed for ever with the passing of saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who died last year aged 69, and who’s been replaced by his nephew Jake.
“Bruce is a master storyteller – but he can’t tell the same story because was lost Clarence,” says Lofgren. “There’s no Clarence II. But Jake’s done an extraordinary job. He’s part of the Clemons legacy. I believe he’s even playing one of his uncle’s saxophones.
“We have a lot of new blood in the band, Jake included, and it’s a great way to keep telling the story.”