‘This Is Us’ Presents Alternative Bruce Springsteen Tour History
The NBC drama This Is Us had already created a heroic, beloved character in the family's patriarch, Jack Pearson, but last night's highly anticipated episode elevated him to idol status for some viewers, after an important detail was revealed: He was a huge Bruce Springsteen fan.
And viewers rejoiced (and snarked).
Jack (played by Milo Ventimiglia) was also laid to rest in the latest episode, "The Car." It takes place in 1998, and the show introduced the Springsteen storyline immediately. On her way to Jack's funeral, his widow, Rebecca (Mandy Moore), finds an envelope of concert tickets in the car. You may have been sobbing too hard to notice, but while this offered a nice character-appropriate detail, it also butted against Springsteen's real-life history.
Let's back up. In typical This Is Us fashion, the show flashes back to just weeks earlier, when Jack catches his 17-year-old daughter Kate at a bus stop when she should have been in class. Instead of driving her to school, Dad of the Year gives her a lift to her intended destination: a record store where Alanis Morissette is appearing. On the way, Kate pops her Morissette tape in the deck, but her blue-collar Pittsburgh dad doesn't get it. Jack counters, pulling out his own Springsteen cassette, and plays "My Beautiful Reward," from 1992's Lucky Town, calling him an "American hero." As she gets out of the car, she admits Springsteen is "pretty good." Dad, eager to bond with his daughter, screams from the car as she crosses the street that maybe he'll get them some tickets to see a show.
It's easy to see that the tickets Rebecca found were a result of that touching father-daughter moment. But just to twist the knife a little more, it becomes clear that the concert takes place at Pittsburgh's Benedum Center the night of the funeral: Jan. 31, 1998. Here's where attentive Springsteen fans noticed the discrepancy: Even though Springsteen did not tour that year, he was performing that night — alongside a partially reunited E Street Band, Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny and others at at a fundraiser for a slain police officer named Pat King. But the appearance took place at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., not Pittsburgh's Benedum Center — and certainly not for the bargain price of $22.50.
This Is Us' alternative history didn't seem to bother most of the show's fans, but a few wondered whether it was possible.
In the end, Rebecca decides to take the three kids to the Springsteen show after they scatter Jack's ashes.