Partway through his set at Australia’s Brisbane Entertainment Center, the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, looked into the crowd and saw a young kid holding up a sign: “Missed school, in the shit now, can I play Growin’ Up with you?”
The Boss, in a moment dripping with characteristic nostalgia, asked the kid, 17-year-old Nathan Testa: “Do you know the song? You know it on guitar? Well, come on up!”
Testa ran up onstage, where a tech handed him an errant acoustic (because, you know, the E Street Band just keeps a bunch of spare acoustic guitars side stage) and the teen and the Boss broke into “Growin’ Up,” a 44-year-old song off Springsteen’s debut record, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
And, surprise, surprise: Testa killed it, even sharing the mic and pulling some slick moves of his own.
About midway through the song, Springsteen paused and said, “Now, before we continue…” asking Testa to “bring the band down,” which the kid did with pretty astounding dynamic control for an improvised tune. The Boss then gave the teenager a lesson in cool, saying “Now, when I was your age, I brought my first guitar, and I realized, it wasn’t how well you played it, but how good you looked doing it. So I go in front of the mirror trying out different poses.”
Of course, this led to the Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and the would-be rock star striking some badass poses in front of the crowd before carrying on with the tune.
It’s a safe bet to say Testa probably doesn’t regret whatever consequences came of his truancy that day. Hell, he’s probably a hit with all his teachers now.