Bruce Springsteen performs ‘If I Was The Priest’ for first time since 1972

"And I still don’t have a clue what the fuck it’s about"

Bruce Springsteen performed ‘If I Was The Priest’ for the first time in 51 years earlier this week.

The musician, who is currently on the first tour with his E Street Band in six years, played the song on Tuesday night (February 14) at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

“I wrote this song. I was 22, 15 years ago,” the musician joked before resurrecting the song. “And I still don’t have a clue what the fuck it’s about.”


The last known live performance of the song was May 2, 1972, at New York’s Gaslight Au Go Go nightclub.

Watch footage of the performance below.

Some fans noted that the song was also not on the printed setlist.

‘If I Was The Priest’ existed for decades a bootleg demo before it was officially re-recorded with the E Street Band and released in 2020 on 20th album ‘Letter To You’.


Reviewing the record, NME said the five-star album was a “powerful synthesis of past and present”.

“Yet perhaps the most interesting celebration of Springsteen’s life and legacy comes not through his modern musings on death and dying, but in his inclusion of a trio of songs from his past.”

It went on: ”Hearing a man in his 70s singing songs he wrote when he was in his 20s is an interesting experience, not least for Springsteen himself, who recently told the New York Times: ‘It’s fun to go back and see how wild my lyric writing was, and how uninhibited it was at a certain moment, and to be able to take that and bring it into the present with the band, and sing it in my voice right now. [It] was a bit of a joy ride‘.”

Meanwhile, Springsteen was forced to play a scaled back show this weekend after E Street Band members tested positive for COVID-19.

At this week’s Houston show, Steve Van Zandt and Soozie Tyrell returned, but Nils Lofgren had come down with the virus and was absent from the show. As per Rolling Stone, it was the first time the band had played a formal concert without Lofgren since 1981.

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