Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance by performing a 45-minute set last night (July 17) with J.T Bowen and the Soul Cruisers at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J., during a tribute to Clarence Clemons.

The evening started with the late E Street Band saxophonist's son Nick Clemons performing with his own band. Then the Soul Cruisers, whose singer, J.T. Bowen, once fronted Clarence Clemons' band the Red Bank Rockers in the '80s, played a set that included a cover of 'You're a Friend of Mine,' the Big Man's duet with Jackson Browne.

About halfway through the band's second set, Bowen called up Springsteen, who was in attendance. Springsteen proceeded to lead the group on his own rarity 'Action in the Street,' marking the first time he played the tune live since 1977. He also performed 'Savin' Up,' a song he wrote that appeared on a Red Bank Rockers album.

The set also included a number of soul classics -- 'Ain't Too Proud to Beg,' 'Sweet Soul Music' and more -- plus the tunes 'Raise Your Hand' and '634-5789.'

The gig, in front of about 400 people, marked Springsteen's first public performance since the death of Clarence Clemons. He did perform at the private funeral for the Big Man.

Watch Bruce Springsteen and J.T. Bowen & the Soul Cruisers Perform 'Action in the Street'

Watch Bruce Springsteen and J.T. Bowen & the Soul Cruisers Perform 'Savin' Up'