Rock icon Bruce Springsteen brought the house down during his show in Toronto Tuesday night, inviting an 88-year-old woman to dance with him onstage.
Clad in Springsteen-appropriate leather jacket and leggings and sitting in the front row, the woman’s family held a sign asking “The Boss” to help celebrate her impending 89th birthday – with a dance.
Toronto resident Evelyn Raftery, in the front row with her five children, says this wasn’t the first time she has seen Springsteen live.
“I like his singing,” Reftery told Global News. “And he’s so pleasant. So easy going. Easy to watch, and lovely to listen to.”
At the end of his marathon set at the Air Canada Centre, Springsteen launched into his hit song Dancing in the Dark from the seminal 1984 album Born in the USA when he spotted Evelyn, her family, and their sign.
And after mugging for photos holding the sign, Springsteen invited her onstage to dance with him during the song’s musical outro.
“It was a shock, a terrible shock,” Raftery said. “So my daughter helped me up [on stage] and somebody else, then Bruce pulled me the rest of the way.”
To the cheers of the sold-out ACC and the sounds of the E Street Band, Springsteen and Raftery slow danced to the closing bars of Dancing in the Dark.
“It was lovely,” Raftery said. “He was so nice and so gentle, and asked me about being there at my age since that’s not normally done, then congratulated me on it.”
Springsteen inviting a fan onstage during Dancing in the Dark has become something of a trademark for the song. The role of the first “lucky fan” was famously played by a young Courtney Cox in the original 1984 music video.
The dance with the Toronto grandmother wasn’t the only time Springsteen interacted with the raucous Toronto crowd. The 66-year-old rocker took frequent trips into the audience, even being “crowd surfed” across the bowl of the ACC during a performance of Hungry Heart.
The nearly three-and-a-half hour concert was the only Canadian stop on The River Tour, a 39-stop tour commemorating the 35-year-anniversary of Springsteen’s breakthrough album The River.
The set list featured a complete, song-by-song playthrough of the original album as well as several other Springsteen classics.
With files from Christina Stevens