"I hope you know what you're doing," Springsteen joked to Tom England after inviting him onstage

By Alex Heigl
March 09, 2016 01:50 PM

Tom England is on a lucky streak.

The college student won fourth-row tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert that just happened to fall during his spring break, meaning he was at home in St. Louis, Missouri, for it, instead of at school at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s La Salle University.

Then, he happened to be friends with Anthony Lucci and Greg Squassi, two fellow La Salle students and Springsteen fans who made it onstage with the Boss in 2014 during a stop in Hershey, Pennsylvania. England drafted them for advice on how to fulfill his goal of getting onstage with the Boss.

Lucci’s suggestion was to make a sign and throw it in the air as soon as Springsteen finished playing The River,” the 1980 album he’s been playing in its entirety on the current tour. England’s sign “was big and obnoxious,” he told Philly.com, and read, “Can I work on the highway with the E Street Band?” a reference to the song of the same name from Springsteen’s Born in the USA album.

That was half the battle. “I saw him read it,” England continued. He told Springsteen he plays guitar. “Okay, if you play guitar, what key is ‘Working on the Highway’ in?” Springsteen asked. “C!” England responded from the crowd. Springsteen then turned to the band in jest and asked, “Is that right? Is it in C?”

England then found himself onstage with an acoustic guitar in his hand, with Springsteen jokingly warning him, “I hope you know what you’re doing.”

“I was so just happy,” England, a business student, recalled. “It felt like I was playing with my really good friends It was just so surreal and Bruce was just so gracious I want one more chance just to thank him again.”

“I’ve never felt more alive. That was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life and Bruce was able to make it happen.”