Music News from ABC

Bruce Springsteen performs “If I Was the Priest” live for the first time in over 50 years

Danny Clinch

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band brought their tour to Houston, Texas Tuesday and treated the crowd to a very rare performance. Rolling Stone reports the set included “If I Was the Priest,” reportedly a fan request, marking the first time The Boss performed the song live since 1972.


“I wrote this song. I was 22. Fifty years ago,” Springsteen told the crowd. “I still don’t have a clue what the f*** it’s about.” 

The last known performance of “If I Was the Priest” reportedly took place in May, 1972 at Gaslight Au Go Go in New York. The song was one Springsteen performed to audition for managers Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos back in February, 1972, as well as during his audition for CBS Records in May of that year. While “If I Was the Priest” has appeared on bootlegs, its first official inclusion on an album came 2020 when Bruce and the E Street Band re-recorded it for Letters to You.

The Houston concert also saw the return of Steven Van Zandt and Soozie Tyrell, who missed shows due to COVID. Unfortunately, guitarist Nils Lofgren was still out due to COVID, the first time since 1981 Lofgren missed a full Springsteen and the E Street Band concert.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s tour hits Austin, Texas on Thursday.

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