Matt Lauer will never forget the time he got to ride shotgun with The Boss through Asbury Park.
Lauer and Bruce Springsteen paid a visit to the singer’s old rock 'n' roll stomping grounds, Asbury Park, New Jersey, in July 2002, cruising through the streets in a blue Ford Mustang convertible.
As the TODAY co-anchor recalls in the latest episode of “Behind the Interview,” riding beside one of his longtime idols was “a little bit intimidating” because of all the attention they received.
“Every time we pulled up at a light, people would gather around the car. Every time we got out of the car and went into a local business or restaurant or an antique store, he was like a magnet,” Lauer told TODAY.com.
“It was like a moth to a flame. People just immediately surrounded him. And it was a great window on what it must be like to be someone like Bruce Springsteen on a daily basis.”
Springsteen made the seaside city famous with his 1973 debut record, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.”
Lauer said it was important to the singer to show that the blue collar town had an identity that went beyond his songs and the now-iconic record cover.
“It was really important for him to be able to do it in Asbury Park and highlight what was going on in the city,” Lauer said.
“We just felt it was a natural, we thought it was a perfect fit — this extraordinarily well-known guy whose made a career off his blue collar roots taking us through the streets of what is a blue collar city with great hopes for the future.
“That’s what Bruce wanted to show me. That there was still a fabric of life, viable and vibrant in Asbury Park.”