By Maureen Lee Lenker
June 10, 2018 at 11:08 PM EDT
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Tramps like us, baby they were born to play the Tony Awards.

Bruce Springsteen shook up the 2018 Tony Awards on Sunday evening with a soulful rock performance, which was only announced to be a part of the show this past Wednesday.

Robert De Niro introduced the Boss, calling his Broadway show simply “Jersey Boy,” and saying, “Bruce, you can rock the house like nobody else and even more important in these perilous times, you rock the vote always fighting for truth, transparency, and integrity in government. Boy, do we need that now.”

Springsteen offered a slice of his Broadway show, Springsteen on Broadway, an autobiographical meditation on his life and music. Before launching into a stripped down take on “My Hometown” solo on his piano, Springsteen delivered a piece of the monologue that laces together the songs in his show. He spoke of growing up “spitting distance from the Catholic Church” and all he witnessed there in the bounds of his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey.

“There was a place here, you could hear it, you could smell it,” he said. “A place where people made lives, where they danced, enjoyed small pleasures, where they played baseball, where they suffered pain and had their hearts broken. Where they made love, had their kids, where they died, and where they drank themselves drunk…and did their very best, the best that they could to hold off the demons outside and inside that sought to destroy them, their homes, their families, their town. Here we lived in the shadow of the steeple crookedly blessed in God’s good mercy one and all in the heart stopping, pants dropping, race rioting, soul shaking…red-neck, love and fear making, heartbreaking town of Freehold, New Jersey.”

The performance, which marked a rare live television performance from the Boss, was broadcast live on CBS from the 72nd annual Tonys ceremony at Radio City Music Hall.

Though he was not eligible for competitive awards, Springsteen did take home a special Tony Award Sunday evening for Springsteen on Broadway, his one-man Broadway show (excepting two songs where wife Patty Scialfa joins him) that is running at New York’s Walter Kerr Theater through December.

Introduced by his friend and fellow musician Billy Joel, Springsteen accepted his special Tony award earlier in the evening, thanking the theater community for “making me feel so welcome on your block.” He added, “Being a part of the Broadway community has been a great thrill and an honor for me. It’s got to be one of the most exciting things I’ve ever experienced.”

The award honored Springsteen’s contribution to the American theater citing “a once-in-a-lifetime theater going experience for the Broadway stage, allowing fans an intimate look at a music idol.” Springsteen was not eligible for any competitive awards because he did not provide comp tickets to all participating Tony voters, choosing to keep seats available to fans during the sold-out run.

In EW’s A- review, Madison Vain wrote that “Springsteen on Broadway lets one of popular music’s most beloved icons flex all kinds of creative muscle in a rare, intimate setting that showcases the true breadth of talents.”

With the Special Tony to his credit, the Boss is now only an “E” away from the coveted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). He has been nominated for an Emmy twice previously, but did not win, so it may be only a matter of time before he is inducted into the rarefied air of EGOT status.

To see the full list of Tony winners for the evening, click here.

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