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Bruce Springsteen Performs ‘Bishop Danced’ For The First Time Since 1973

Bruce Springsteen
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

The Twitter feeds of Bruce Springsteen fans exploded with shock tonight (May 2) when fans attending his show at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. reached for their phones to tell the world that he performed the obscurity ‘Bishop Danced.’ Springsteen had not sang the song since an opening slot for Blood, Sweat and Tears at the Berkeley Community Theatre on March 2, 1973.

According to the Brucebase website, before tonight, ‘Bishop Danced’ is known to have only been played in concert a handful of times, with five of those taking place during a week-long spell at Max’s Kansas City in New York in early 1973. Its performance on January 31 was recorded for the ‘King Biscuit Flour Hour,’ and wound up on the 1998 four-CD box set ‘Tracks.’

Springsteen has used the seventh slot throughout the ‘Wrecking Ball’ tour to pull out songs from his pre-’Born To Run’ days, with ‘E Street Shuffle’ and ‘Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?’ being played most frequently. However, nobody could have expected that he would give ‘Bishop Danced’ an airing, not even in New Jersey, where anything can happen.

‘Bishop Danced’ is one of those songs that earned Springsteen the “New Bob Dylan” tag in his early days. Its lyrics are nonsensical to the point where Lewis Carroll would have shaken his head in disbelief. “Bishop danced with a thumbscrew woman / Did a double-quick back flip and slid across the floor / The Catholic traffic flowed freely ‘cross the river / And fiddlestick fiddled quick out the front door.” Although tonight’s version featured the full E Street Band, it had previously been performed with only an acoustic guitar and the late Danny Federici on accordion.

Following ‘Bishop Danced,’ Springsteen gave another of his earliest songs, ‘It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City,’ its tour debut.

Watch Bruce Springsteen Perform ‘Bishop Danced’

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