When Bruce Springsteen Joined Patti Smith Onstage

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Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith at NYC’s Beacon Theatre, April 23, 2018

When is a day off not a day off? When you’re a much-in-demand rock star, apparently.

Bruce Springsteen was in the midst of a two-week break from his Springsteen on Broadway solo concert series at New York’s Walter Kerr Theater. One would think that he would use the time off from the exhausting one-man show to do pretty much anything that didn’t involve playing a guitar onstage. One would be wrong in thinking so.

Like Ferris Bueller, The Boss used one of his day’s off to do what he does so well… in this case to perform onstage. He joined pal Patti Smith at New York’s Beacon Theatre on April 23, 2018, to perform “Because the Night,” the song they wrote together and which Smith recorded on her 1978 album, Easter.

Smith herself appeared following a Tribeca Film Festival screening of the concert documentary, Horses: Patti Smith and Her Band. Her brief set also included a cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.”

In introducing Springsteen, Smith said to the audience: “And I want to thank this fella…” as he entered from stage left, guitar in hand. The crowd roared its approval as the two musicians hugged.

“This song always makes me think of three men,” Smith said. “Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith [her late husband and member of the MC5], who inspired it. Jimmy Iovine, who produced it. And Bruce Springsteen, who wrote it.”

After the shared vocals on the song, Smith brought out another friend: R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, who joined them on “People Have the Power.”

Watch the two performances on April 23, 2018

Smith herself was keeping a busy schedule. She was a surprise guest at Stephen Stills’ annual Light Up The Blues benefit concert two nights’ earlier (April 21) at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Related: Our coverage of Light Up The Blues

Watch the trailer for the film Horses: Patti Smith and Her Band

Smith was born Dec. 30, 1946

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