White House staffers were treated to a private acoustic performance by singing legend Bruce Springsteen to thank them for their work over the last eight years, it was revealed Wednesday.
The secret 15-song concert was put on in the White House’s East Room on Jan. 12 before approximately 250 people, including the president and first lady, Backstreets reported.
“The mood in the room the whole night — both reception and concert — was not exactly somber, but it wasn’t festive, either. It was elegiac, I’d say,” one audience member, who was not identified, told Backstreets.
The concert’s published set list included “Born in the USA,” “Thunder Road” and “The Promised Land.” Two of the songs, “Tougher Than the Rest” and “If I Should Fall Behind” featured Springsteen’s wife and fellow E Street Band member Patti Scialfa.
The attendant described the event as different from any other Springsteen performance they had seen.
“This one was a real personal thing, this thing for staff who sacrificed so much over the last eight years. It was a humble, quiet gesture from Bruce to say thanks to President Obama, the staff, and their families. No pomp, no ceremony, no press. Just the man, the guitar, and the songs.”
Though there has been no public mention of the concert by The Boss, as of Thursday morning, he re-tweeted a story about it on his Twitter page.
Springsteen has made several appearances at the White House during Obama’s two terms in office, including for his acceptance of the Presidential Medal of Freedom two months ago.
During that emotional ceremony, the president credited the 20-time Grammy award winner’s music as the “anthems of our America, the reality of who we are and the reveries of who we want to be.”
Unfortunately, last week’s performance may very well be his last White House attendance for a while.
Springsteen has made his disgust of president-elect Donald Trump no secret, with the “Born to Run” singer having calling him a “flagrant, toxic narcissist” who’s willing to “take down the entire democratic system” if he fails.
Even the E Street Band’s cover band, the B Street Band, has refused to play in Trump’s honor, having recently backed out of performing at an inaugural party.
In contrast, B Street Band performed at both of the galas held for President Obama’s inaugurations, in 2009 and 2013. They said that they signed up to perform at this year’s before knowing who the president-elect would be.
Once they did, they said they were bowing out, out of the ”respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band.”