The Boss was in the house.
So was a capacity crowd of 960 people who’d snagged coveted tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s debut performance of “Springsteen on Broadway” on Tuesday night.
Spirits were sky-high, like the price of the hard-to-get tickets to the show running through February.
The two-hour evening began on a poignant note. Springsteen, dressed in black jeans and tee, dedicated the show to his friend Tom Petty and sent out prayers to the late singer’s family and to the Heartbreakers, audience members told the News.
Bob Cappella, 55, an IT manager, came from Pottsville, Penn., and shelled out $850 for his ticket, the most he’s ever spent to see the New Jersey-born star.
He said he would have paid more – and could have. Seats to the show have been selling for $2,400 on StubHub.
“It’s my 53rd time seeing Bruce,” said Cappella before the show at the Walter Kerr Theatre. His friend, Ed Portolese, 50, from Manhattan, was seeing Springsteen for the first time.
“Bruce Springsteen sings about blue-collar, regular people,” said Cappella. “I keep coming back.”
Peggy Haley, 56, who lives in and works for Nassau County, called the evening “part of a 37-year love affair” with Springsteen. “I still have a ticket from my first concert from 1980. It’s not framed but I should do that. It cost $10.50.”
For the show on Tuesday, Haley and her friend, Nancy Carman, 47, a teacher, each paid $772 to hear Springsteen at his most intimate. The show includes a piano, guitars, stories and the man at the center of it all.
“I love his story. He carved out his life and became an artist and a poet,” said Haley, who wore a jacket adorned with two pins. One read “Born to Run,” the other was a jeweled flag that recalled “Born in the USA.”
For Nancy Irish, who flew in from Greensboro, N.C., and was accompanied by her 31-year-old daughter Blythe, who lives in Astoria, Queens, the show was a present to herself.
“We paid $620 a ticket, but it’s my 60th birthday,” said Nancy, who had a sweatshirt made for the occasion that declared that. Irish was set to see Springsteen last year closer to home, “but,” she said, “he cancelled his show over the bathroom law. He did the right thing.”
Which is what he does with his music, fans said before the show.
“Bruce Springsteen is plainspoken and eloquent at the same time, and that’s not easy,” said Lenore Norris, an RN in her 30s. She and her date, Rick Nissley, 58, a physician, came in from Philadelphia. They spent $400 for each ticket, “the most I ever spent,” said Nissley without a trace of buyer’s remorse.
“I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen Bruce in concert,” he said. “Tonight we’re in the tenth row. It’s going to be great.”