Nothing has been officially announced, but Crane Kenney, David Cromwell, and Colin Faulkner name-dropped Bruce Springsteen more than once during Saturday’s Business Operations Update at CubsCon. The Boss last played Wrigley Field in 2012, and rumors of a return engagement have been circulating at the Grand Sheraton and elsewhere.
When moderator Matt Spiegel mentioned the rumor, Cromwell responded that the organization has already booked Dead & Co., Morgan Wallen, and P!NK for the 2023 concern season. He added that “more announcements are coming soon.” Springsteen is playing at Fiserv arena in Milwaukee on March 7, but that’s too early in the year to play at an outdoor venue. After that, he and the E-Street Band are heading overseas until the end of July. The Cubs have yet to announce who will play at Wrigley Field in July or September.
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Springsteen’s first commercial album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. The album dropped on January 5, 1973, and though it was not warmly received initially, it is considered a brilliant debut in retrospect. Springsteen, a native of Freehold, was living in Asbury Park at the time.
“I was walking down the boardwalk in Asbury,” Springsteen said during the 2017 “A Conversation with Bruce Springsteen,” hosted by Bob Santelli at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. “A little postcard was there in the postcard stand, and I pulled it out. ‘Yeah, Greetings from Asbury Park. Yeah, I’m from New Jersey. Who’s from New Jersey? No one. It’s all mine!’”
“I walked in and said, ‘Bruce has this idea about this postcard,’” former manager Mike Appel said at the time. “It permeates the whole boardwalk and that’s his background, that life. That’s where he lived, that’s where he was brought up. I know it’s tacky but that’s the point. We love it. (Art director John Berg) looked at it and said, ‘I love it,’ too. He got it right away.”
Photographer: Art Maillet pic.twitter.com/TRhoY2qVL2
— Spring-Nuts (@SpringNuts_) January 5, 2023
The E-Street Band are widely revered for their lengthy shows, with most covering a whopping four hours without intermission. A show or two at The Federal Landmark would be Chicago’s premier event of the summer. There’s no harm in daydreaming, and besides, what’s the point of a World Tour without a stop in the Windy City?
The credibility factor of this rumor is pretty high. I have many contacts in the music industry, and Springsteen’s team has confirmed a second North American leg of his 2023 tour starting in August. There has been some backlash with ticket prices, however.
The first tickets for the U.S. dates went on sale on July 20, 2022. Fans were immediately met with exorbitant prices, such as $4,000–5,000 for mid-range floor seats. Less desirable seats still exceeded four figures, largely because Ticketmaster has enforced its dynamic pricing program for Springsteen shows in an effort to drive away scalpers. That means “premium seats” may be placed anywhere in the venue, from the front section to the back rows, and can fluctuate in price due to what is said to be a real-time reaction to demand.
The band’s setlist is expected to lean heavily on the debut album and its follow-up, The Wild, The Innocent, and the E-Street Shuffle. That means the Boss might perform songs he hasn’t played live for decades. For any fans, it will be the first time they’ll ever hear Blinded by the Light, The E-Street Shuffle, or Spirit in the Night. I’m sure the band will also include Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) in its shows.
Few pairings are better than Springsteen and Wrigley Field. The Boss is a huge baseball fan and Chicago’s iconic stadium was ranked No. 1 for outdoor concerts by Rolling Stone. That’s the magazine that launched Springsteen’s career into the stratosphere in 1975.
Take the rumor with a grain of salt for now. Kenney mentioned, of course, that profits from the shows funnel directly into the baseball operations budget. He also said that does not necessarily mean securing contract extensions or signing free agents. But Jed Hoyer did sign Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger, Jameson Taillon, Trey Mancini, and Brad Boxberger this year.
In addition, all arbitration-eligible players have been signed or released, including Ian Happ, who agreed to terms this weekend. Maybe The Boss will give the Cubs enough of a boost to be comfortable giving Happ a lot more than what he was initially expected to command for a new deal.
Here is Wrigley Field’s current 2023 concert schedule: