Amid the somewhat predictable ending ("I Don't Want to Go Home," "Rosalita," and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"), Springsteen again sat at the piano. But instead of reaching into the past, he unveiled a brand-new song: "My City of Ruins" — a soulful meeting of "Streets of Philadelphia" and Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" — paints a grim picture of Asbury Park, with images of abandoned churches, boarded storefronts, and people brought to their knees. "Now tell me," Springsteen sang. "How do I begin again?" And then he pleaded, "Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!"
The song seemed like Springsteen's attempt to summon a miracle for the struggling seaside town he once called "Little Eden." Before launching into the song, he spoke lovingly of his ties with musicians that go back more than a quarter century, saying he feels "blessed to have around me relationships that have been sustained." And Springsteen recognized those who are working to improve Asbury Park: its shop keepers, gallery owners, and social workers. For two nights, at least, it was past as prologue.