“Bruce from New Jersey”: Springsteen surprise calls E Street Radio with the skinny on The River tour

Mark your calendars: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are celebrating the release of their new box set, The Ties That Bind: The River Collection with a slew of live dates under the banner of The River Tour, playing 24 shows in 22 cities, including two-night runs at Madison Square Garden and the L.A. Sports Arena.

Bruce called into SiriusXM’s E Street Radio (Ch. 20) earlier today to talk about what prompted him to tour a 35 year-old album initially, as well as what fans can expect to see.

“We made the box set, and there were no plans to tour,” Bruce explained. “Then we thought, ‘Oh maybe we should do a show just to raise the flag and have some fun and make it a little more exciting.’”

Their plans kept growing until eventually they decided to put together a full-fledged tour.

“If you’re going to get everybody together for a show, and particularly a show that’s as specific as this one, then you might as well play it out a few times and get around and get a chance to see everybody,” he said.

The band has only ever toured The River once before, so many of his fans haven’t seen him perform much of that material live.

“The idea was to do The River top to bottom because we’ve only done it once before. And my recollection was that it was a very good night of music when we played it at the Garden,” he explained. “And it’s something we haven’t done. It’s unique for the fans. If this is an album you really liked and you were ever curious to hear it played in concert, this would be a shot for you to hear it.”

This concept is a little different from what fans are used to seeing on the road, as the River Tour setlist will go in order of the album’s tracks.

“It takes a little of the guessing out of the evening because you’re going to know what the next song is, but we’ll make up for some of that in the encores or something,” he assured. “We plan to pick out some of the best of our outtakes for the end of the show along with some fan favorites.”

The lineup will also change for this tour, returning the band to a more straightforward format.

“We just stripped it down to pretty much the basic band as it’s been since 1985, including Steve [van Zandt] — of course Jake [Clemons] will be along, and Soozie Tyrell,” he explained. “But we won’t have the horns, and we won’t have singers. It’s going to be a little more of a rock band format. And I’m looking forward to that for a little while and seeing how that feels again. It should be perfect for this record. It should be a nice lineup. I’m looking forward to that.”

Most importantly, Springsteen is ready to hit the stage again for the first time since May 2014.

“I’m glad to get a chance to tour,” he said. “I miss playing with the guys. I miss playing period, so it should be fun.”

Tickets to The River Tour go on sale Dec. 11.

January 16 – Pittsburgh, PA
January 19 – Chicago, IL
January 24 – New York, NY
January 27 – New York, NY
January 29 – Washington, DC
January 31 – Newark, NJ
February 2 – Toronto, ON
February 4 – Boston, MA
February 8 – Albany, NY
February 10 – Hartford, CT
February 12 – Philadelphia, PA
February 16 – Sunrise, FL
February 18 – Atlanta, GA
February 21 – Louisville, KY
February 23 – Cleveland, OH
February 25 – Buffalo, NY
February 27 – Rochester, NY
February 29 – St Paul, MN
March 3 – Milwaukee, WI
March 6 – St Louis, MO
March 10 – Phoenix, AZ
March 13 – Oakland, CA
March 15 – Los Angeles, CA
March 17 – Los Angeles, CA

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