Bruce Springsteen returned to the stage on Saturday night for a surprise show at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J. that found ‘The Boss’ plowing through a 25-song set that ran over two and a half hours.

Springsteen has a long history of playing benefit shows for the local schools that his kids have attended and with his son Evan now outside of Jersey, attending Boston College, the Stone Pony gig was earmarked as a fundraiser for the legendary educational institution.

Backed as usual by Southside Johnny / Bon Jovi associate Bobby Bandiera and his band, Springsteen’s backing group was also punched up with the inclusion of E Street members Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan. The presence of departed E Street saxophonist Clarence Clemons was represented on stage by guest J.T. Bowen, the former lead singer of Clemons’ Red Bank Rockers.

Embattled N.J. governor Chris Christie was in attendance, along with actor Tim Robbins and NBC News anchor Brian Williams. Springsteen treated the lucky crowd to a set that mixed covers with his own hits, including a healthy dosage of material from the ‘Born in the USA’ album and spontaneous airings of ‘Spirit in the Night’ and for the first time since his death, the signature Clemons number ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.’

Max Weinberg spoke with Tom Cunningham, host of the Jersey area radio program ‘Bruce Brunch,’ on the morning after the Stone Pony gig and talked about the ‘Tenth Avenue’ performance, which he termed as a “moment” that was "quite emotional" and “very spontaneous.”

“The third verse where Bruce sings "the change was made up town and the Big Man joined the band," we stopped and the whole audience went [imitates melody of Clemons' classic sax solo, which the audience "played" in the absence of Clemons playing the familiar part] like that and it was chilling. I actually got chills when that happened, because everybody knows that part, it's such an iconic part.”

Weinberg had no new information on further plans for E Street activity and said that “you don’t ever really know until you’re actually doing it.” He stressed the importance of continuing to play and work to keep your chops up, which is what he’s been doing in the absence of E Street shows and he says that “if and when the call comes, it all coalesces.”

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