Bruce Springsteen perfomrs live on stange with the E Street Band on March 1, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Fiona Goodall—Getty Images
By Samantha Grossman
March 2, 2014

Bruce Springsteen kicked off his show in Auckland, New Zealand Saturday with a nod to the country’s beloved teenage star, Lorde. He strutted on stage and busted out a crackly rendition of her Grammy-winning song “Royals.”

Springsteen growls through the tune, pausing for the occasional harmonica interlude and tweaking lyrics like “You can call me Queen Bee” to “You can call me King Bee.”

It might seem like one of the most surprising cover choices of his lengthy career. After you listen for a few minutes, though, the choice begins to make sense. “Royals” condemns materialism and excess, and Springsteen has long been considered a champion of the working class. But most of all, he’s the Boss, and he can pretty much do whatever he wants.

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