When Little Steven kicked off his tour in New Jersey to promote his new album Soulfire, it may not have been a big surprise that Bruce Springsteen joined him on stage. But it was still pretty awesome for the two to perform “It’s Been a Long Time” together. They look like they’re having a lot of fun with Steve as the front man too.
The song originally appeared on the 1991 album by Southside Johnny & the Ashbury Jukes, Better Days. The wonderful album is worth tracking down. The album includes songs by Steven Van Zandt, a.k.a. Little Steven (and Miami Steve), as well as vocal contributions by both him and Springsteen.
The original “It’s Been a Long Time” recording featured Springsteen, Van Zandt, and Southside Johnny. It was the perfect song for the three, reflecting on their youth at the Jersey shore: “We lived in a time and a world of our own,/ Making up the rules as we went along.” Van Zandt, who wrote the song, features it on his new album Soulfire.
Some of the lines in the chorus about lost comrades seem even more poignant now that Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici of the E Street Band have passed away. But the song remains a celebration of both the past and the future.
It’s been a long time since we laughed together;
It’s been a long time since we cried;
Raise your glass for the comrades we’ve lost;
My friend it’s been a long, long time.
The performance of Springsteen and Little Steven with the Disciples of Soul is from May 27, 2017 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey.
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