Bruce Springsteen is known for inviting kids up on stage, often to sing Waiting On A Sunny Day with him. This happened to eleven-year-old Australian Nathan Testa in Brisbane in 2013. Nathan’s father said that his son ignored his advice to wear shorts because of the heat. “He had his jeans on and the white T-shirt and he had a red cap and we pinned that to his belt line. It was just a chance meeting with Bruce outside the stadium. In the concert, Bruce saw him again, so he pulled him up on stage”.
TomHunterChicago comments: “I can’t imagine anything more exciting. What an absolute thrill for that young man.” Uliniebergall enthuses: “If this really was totally unprepared and unrehearsed, it is one of the most beautiful musical moments I have ever seen and heard in my life. And even if it were prepared, I don’t care a bit, it still is most beautiful and absolutely magical”. The last point is an interesting one that needs to be addressed.
In its report on Testa’s exhilarating appearance with Springsteen, The Sydney Morning Herald wrote that at the next Springsteen Australian show, “in the Hunter Valley on Saturday night, Springsteen plucked another fan – named Bill, who said he had travelled from New Jersey – to play No Surrender.”
The next morning, the paper reported, Bill was spotted at the Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Valley, the same hotel that housed Springsteen and his entourage.” First, here’s Nathan Testa and the Boss Pt 1:
No wonder Nathan Testa wanted to get back on stage with Bruce Springsteen! Getting back to Bill from New Jersey, there are any number of reasons why he might have been at the Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Valley the next morning. He may even have been invited to the hotel by the band, if, say, he met with them backstage. It does seem unlikely that Springsteen would import audience “plants” from the US to Australia.
Maybe Bill was already in Australia, so Springsteen’s fixers called him up? Who knows? Big concert productions are a business, so it’s best to keep an open mind. Maybe there is a degree of screening, but common sense suggests that putting significant effort into preparing “plants” is a waste of time. Of course there is stagecraft involved in calling kids up and such, but that doesn’t mean it’s all choreographed. Let’s not be churlish. Well done Nathan Testa. You were given a chance, you took it, and you rocked.