Bruce Springsteen surprised gig-goers by kicking off his Kilkenny gig with a moving tribute to his late friend, Shane MacGowan.

The Boss headlined Nowlan Park with the E Street Band on Sunday (13.05.24) and started his set with a rousing rendition of the Pogues classic ‘A Rainy Night in Soho’ in memory of the Irish music legend.

The 'Fairytale of New York' group reacted on X: “Lovely tribute to our boss, thanks Bruce.”

MacGowan died of pneumonia last November, aged 65, after months of battling ill health.

Springsteen, 74, had visited him in hospital during the Irish leg of his world tour.

Paying his respects, the 'Born to Run' hitmaker wrote upon the sad news of his passing: “Shane was one of my all-time favourite writers.

“The passion and deep intensity of his music and lyrics is unmatched by all but the very best in the rock and roll canon.

“I was fortunate to spend a little time with Shane and his lovely wife Victoria the last time we were in Dublin. He was very ill, but still beautifully present in his heart and spirit.

“His music is timeless and eternal. I don’t know about the rest of us, but they’ll be singing Shane’s songs 100 years from now.”

The crowd was in for a double treat, as Springsteen arrived onstage two hours early to perform 'This Hard Land'.

He addressed the audience: “Hey early birds."

A whopping 28,000 gig-goers attended the sold-out concert.

Meanwhile, this tour has also seen Springsteen sign a young fan’s note to say they were "skipping school".

Whilst performing at the Chase Center in San Francisco, he saw a sign that read: “Skipping school, sign my note?”

And the rock legend obliged so the youngster could miss school the following day.