Watch Bruce Springsteen Play ‘Viva Las Vegas’ at Special Sin City Show

Just one day after phoning into E Street Radio and promising fans a more varied setlist on this leg of the tour, Bruce Springsteen took the stage at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and delivered on that promise. The surprises began when he opened up the show with the 1992 deep cut “Roll of the Dice,” which he hadn’t played in seven years. They continued later in the set when he broke out “Hungry Heart” and “Racing in the Street” for the first time since returning to the road in 2023.

A segment of hardcore Springsteen fans that attend multiple shows per tour were frustrated with the setlist throughout the course of last year since it stayed largely the same from night to night, though it did start to loosen up by the stadium leg at the tail end. They’d grown accustomed to wildly unpredictable nights throughout the 2010s where Springsteen would pluck signs from the audience, and play virtually any song from his catalog at a moment’s notice.

But when he called up E Street Radio earlier this week, he told host Jim Rotolo that things were going to change. “We’re approaching it like it’s a new tour,” Springsteen said. “There will be some things from last year’s tour that will hold over, some of my basic themes of mortality and life and those things, you know, I’m going to keep set…I think I’m gonna move around the other parts of the set a lot more, so there’ll be a much wider song selection going on. So we’re looking at it like, you know, it’s a little bit of the old tour, but we’re looking at it like a new tour.”

The changes began opening night in Phoenix when he removed 2023 tour staples “Kitty’s Back” and “The E Street Shuffle,” and added in “Spirit in the Night,” “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “Darlington County,” “Two Hearts,” and “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied).” But all of those songs had been played at some point in 2023.

The Las Vegas set was more adventurous, partially because it is only the third time in his entire career he’d played in Sin City – following shows in 2000 and 2002 – and he wanted to honor the occasion. The encore kicked off with a cover of the Elvis Presley classic “Viva Las Vegas,” which he hadn’t played since his last show there back in 2002.

Many shows on this first leg of the 2024 tour were originally booked last year, but were postponed when Springsteen came down with a peptic ulcer. “One of the big problems was I couldn’t sing,” he told E Street Radio. “You sing with your diaphragm. My diaphragm was hurting so badly that when I went to make the effort to sing, it was killing me. I literally couldn’t sing at all, and that lasted for two or three months, along with just a myriad of other painful problems.”

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He continued, “During the course of it, before people told me, ‘Oh no. It’s gonna go away and you’re gonna be okay,’ you’re thinking like, ‘Hey, am I gonna sing again?” This is one of the things I love to do the best, the most, and right now I can’t do it. It took a while for the doctors to say, ‘Oh no. You’re gonna be okay.’ At first nobody was quite saying that, which made me nervous. At the end of the day, I found some great doctors and they straightened me out.”

The tour continues March 25 at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California. “There is a little cafe in California down San Diego way,” Springsteen said in a goofy Instagram video along the E Street Band, quoting his 1973 classic “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).” “I’m Bruce Springsteen. On March 25, we plan to come down there and look for that son of a bitch. Write it in your diary. March 25. It is the day you’re going to lose your mind and we’re going to make sure of it.”

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