August 21, 2017
Front to back, Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." remains the touchstone of heartland rock in the United States, producing seven hit singles after its release in 1984 and propelling Springsteen's burgeoning career into the limelight.
In the years since becoming a global superstar, Springsteen has occasionally shared misgivings about the album, which he felt might have leaned too far mainstream for his own tastes as a songwriter. But he's also acknowledged the loyal audience it brought him and the leeway it gave him to pursue other creative goals in the albums that followed.
At the PNC Bank Arts Center last Saturday, one of Springsteen's biggest admirers chose to honor the New Jersey hero with a rarely surfaced cover of "I'm on Fire," the final track on side one of the original album.
John Mayer, who in April released his own album "The Search for Everything," gave an inspired acoustic performance of the song to a crowd of fans eager to sing along.
Mayer still raises eyebrows for the inflammatory comments he made during an infamous interview with Playboy in 2010. Those who have been able to look past that misstep (Mayer was that year's Scaramucci) can see he's among the most talented songwriters and guitarists of the last 20 years, with Eric Clapton to back that up. Here's a great video of Mayer's cover from Saturday night.
And for reference, here's the original Springsteen music video.