More Neil, and bonus Bruce

“Helpless,” with Bruce Springsteen, at the Bridge School benefit in 1986.

I was at that show (jesus — twenty years ago); one of my strongest memories from the evening is of Springsteen doing a solo version of “Born in the USA.” I wasn’t a huge Springsteen fan, and while I understood that the song was hardly the pro-American anthem a lot of people were pretending that it was, I was still pretty sick of the driving, anthemic beat punctuated with that bumper-sticker chorus. But that evening, Springsteen reinvented the song, turned it into the slow mournful blues number that it really should have been all along, and the moment was utterly captivating. Whoever posted the video above doesn’t seem to have posted that performance, but this is a similar version: