Bruce Hops Onstage with U2 in NYC

by Steve Spohn
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Bruce and Bono have performed together before

Fresh off his surprise appearance in Asbury Park, Bruce hopped onstage with U2 at Madison Square Garden Friday night. It was the final show on the U.S. leg of U2’s current “iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE” tour – and it ended with a bang.

I heard Bruce was going to be at the Garden attending the show. Then I saw on Twitter that somebody had spotted Bruce in a limo on 35th Street right down the road from MSG. Then a friend called me and said Bruce was with Bill and Hillary Clinton at the show (apparently, in a bullet-proof box).

I was lucky enough to find an excellent Periscope stream of the show, and settled in at home to watch it. Just before the encores, my friend at the show texted me and said he had just seen Bruce leave the Clintons’ box.


Bruce, Bono and Jessica (Bruce’s daughter) at MSG

That’s when it happened. Bono started to talk about Bruce and how he helped provide the roadmap for many aspects of the U2 frontman’s illustrious career. As the roadies set up the mic, Bruce walked onstage. The band launched into the opening riff of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” – and, of course, the crowd went nuts.

The audience sang the first verse with Bruce coming in and taking the second. Bono joined in then Bruce finished it off. Bono was visibly excited to have his longtime friend back onstage with him (check the video below at the 4-minute mark).

It was rumored that they were going to play part of Bruce’s song “The Promised Land,” but in an audible, Bono changed it to “Stand By Me” – the first song Bruce and U2 did together in 1987 in Philadelphia. With the audience competing for lead vocals, the entire Garden crowd was singing at the top of their lungs.

And just like that, it was over – and Bruce left the stage to a chorus of “Broooooceeee.” It was short-but-sweet guest spot.

If you want to watch the first time Bruce jumped onstage with U2, here’s video from the old JFK stadium in Philadelphia in 1987. They did a spectacular version of “Stand By Me,” more rehearsed and complete than last night’s performance at the Garden.

Steve Spohn is a former Saturday Night Live and Nickelodeon Television executive. Growing up near Princeton, NJ, led to a musical addiction, with WMMR in Philly and WNEW in NYC providing the daily dose. When not attending or planning to attend Bruce Springsteen concerts, he's plugging away as a screenwriter in Beverly Hills. Reach Steve at