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13th May 2024

Bruce Springsteen pays emotional tribute to Shane MacGowan at Kilkenny gig

Simon Kelly

Bruce Springsteen Shane MacGowan

He visited the late Pogues singer in hospital last year.

Bruce Springsteen paid an emotional tribute to Shane MacGowan at his Kilkenny gig on Sunday night.

The Boss played a classic three-hour set in Nowlan Park with the E Street Band, kicking it off with a powerful rendition of the famous Pogues song ‘A Rainy Night in Soho’.

The 28,000 sold-out crowd were caught by surprise by the cover but immediately erupted into cheers once they recognised it and started to sing along.

Videos on social media show a visibly emotional Springsteen paying tribute to his late friend.

The Pogues acknowledged the tribute on social media, saying: “Lovely tribute to our boss, thanks Bruce.”

Bruce Springsteen pays emotional tribute to Shane MacGowan at Kilkenny gig

Last May, the ‘Born In The USA‘ singer surprised MacGowan when he was in hospital, also paying tribute following his death in November.

“Shane was one of my all-time favourite writers,” he started.

“The passion and deep intensity of his music and lyrics is unmatched by all but the very best in the rock and roll canon.

“I was fortunate to spend a little time with Shane and his lovely wife Victoria the last time we were in Dublin. He was very ill, but still beautifully present in his heart and spirit.

“His music is timeless and eternal. I don’t know about the rest of us, but they’ll be singing Shane’s songs 100 years from now.”

The 74-year-old’s tribute to MacGowan wasn’t the first surprise of Sunday night either, as he turned up two hours early for his gig.

The New Jersey rocker appeared on stage shortly after 5 pm, addressing the crowd by saying “Hey early birds”, playing his hit ‘This Hard Land’, before heading off again.

Springsteen also hopped into the crowd during his Nowlan Park gig to watch the E Street Band perform ‘Spirit in the Night’.

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