The Springsteen singer originally insisted he was unable to attend the event on Thursday night (15Oct15) at the Gem Theater in Kannapolis because of a prior engagement, so his mum and sister were there to accept the honour on his behalf.

However, his other booking, also in his home state of North Carolina, ended earlier than expected, so Eric decided to drive the hour and a half to Kannapolis to surprise his family and friends.

When he arrived at the theatre, he searched for a backstage entrance, and Eric's assistant had to scale a wall to a second level balcony where he broke through the doors.

The assistant found a ladder and passed it down for Eric to climb up, and once safely inside, he burst onto the stage just as his mother was giving his acceptance speech, much to the surprise of the crowd.

He even borrowed a guitar to sing his track Carolina for the audience.