Bruce Springsteen Taps ‘This Hard Land’ For First Broadway Encore

Bruce Springsteen rewarded his Tuesday night (July 10th) audience during his ongoing Broadway run with the production’s first-ever encore. Rolling Stone reported that the Walter Kerr Theatre audience was treated to “The Boss” tackling “This Hard Land,” the long-unreleased slice of Americana originally recorded in 1982 during the initial sessions for Born In The U.S.A. After wrapping with the tour’s standard closer, “Born To Run,” Springsteen said, “You’re a beautiful audience. You’re so good, you get the first encore ever. Feel free to take a picture.” Unfortunately, the fan shot footage of the performance has been taken down off YouTube.

“This Hard Land” has a long history. During the 1993 international leg of his tour with the “Other Band,” Springsteen revamped the song acoustically, and during the E Street Band‘s initial 1995 reunion in support of the Springsteen’s chart-topping Greatest Hits album, they tracked the definitive version featuring both Nils Lofgren and slide guitar and Steve Van Zandt on mandolin. The original 1982 version was evetually released in the 1998 box set, Tracks.

Bruce Springsteen was asked how he accounts for the steady stream of new converts with every project and tour: “We sort of skipped a generation somewhere in there, and then the last tour, we noticed a large influx of young people. I think for probably the same reasons that I went to check out, y’know, not just the (Rolling) Stones, but Chuck Berry, or the guys that came a generation or two before my age group. But I also think today. . . there was a time when music was intensely factionalized, it was very hard along generational lines, and I think — it might have something to do with the Internet or some other things — that people are just taking their music where they find it.”