Bruce Springsteen Bids Obama Farewell with White House Concert

During the 15-song set, The Boss declared that Obama was "Tougher Than the Rest."

By Jon Wiederhorn

A vocal supporter of President Obama, Bruce Springsteen said goodbye to the departing leader by performing a 15-song acoustic show at the east room of the White House last week for the president and his staff.

Springsteen, who was awarded the presidential metal of freedom last year, was joined by his wife Patti Scialfa for “Tougher Than The Rest” and “If I Should Fall Behind.”

The Springsteen fansite Backstreets somehow gained access, and published a glowing review of the concert, which was attended by between 200 and 250 people.

Wrote Backstreet:

“It was a dream of a setlist … Bruce opened with a very brief note of thanks to the president and the staff who were being honored before launching into “Working on the Highway.” That opener led into an incredible “Growin’ Up” for a lively start, but not much of the set was so upbeat, with haunting readings of songs like “My Hometown,” “My Father’s House,” and “Devils & Dust.” The mood in the room the whole night – both reception and concert – was not exactly sombre, but it wasn’t festive, either. It was elegiac, I’d say. There was a clear sense of something ending, both with the conclusion of an adventure for the staff and the silent presence of the coming political transition. Bruce’s demeanor was definitely in line with that overall vibe.”

Before he performed “Tougher Than the Rest,” Springsteen spoke about how Barack and Michelle Obama established a new precedent and set the bar for the White House during their eight year tenure. Before he performed “Long Walk Home,” he spoke about being in “a difficult moment” as America prepares to enter a Trump presidency and the importance of “maintaining optimism.”

The full setlist:
Working on the Highway
Growin’ Up
My Hometown
My Father’s House
The Wish
Thunder Road
The Promised Land
Born in the USA
Devils & Dust
Tougher Than the Rest (with Patti Scialfa)
If I Should Fall Behind (with Patti Scialfa)
The Ghost of Tom Joad
Long Walk Home
Dancing in the Dark
Land of Hope and Dreams

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