Bruce Springsteen paid a moving tribute to the late Shane MacGowan by performing a cover of a classic Pogues song during his gig in Kilkenny. 

"The Boss" Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band kicked off their Kilkenny concert in Nolan Park on Sunday, May 12 by performing a rousing rendition of The Pogues' song "A Rainy Night In Soho", paying tribute to the band's lead singer Shane MacGowan who passed away last year.

This was the first time Springsteen had performed in Kilkenny since 2013.

Bruce Springsteen kicked off his show in Kilkenny, Ireland on Sunday by paying tribute to late Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan with a cover of "A Rainy Night in Soho." →

Credit: Aiken Promotions

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Last May, before his concert in Dublin, the Born In The USA singer visited MacGowan while he was in hospital.

MacGowan's wife Victoria Mary Clarke shared a photo of Springsteen and MacGowan enjoying a close embrace and described Springsteen as a "truly wonderful person."

Springsteen previously spoke about the respect he holds for MacGowan during an interview with RTE's "Late Late Show" host Ryan Tubridy. 

"He's the man, you know? I truly believe as I sit on my radio show, that a hundred years from now, most of us will be forgotten. But I do believe that Shane's music is going to be remembered and sung. It's just deep in the nature of it," Springsteen told Tubridy. 

This wasn't the only surprise in Kilkenny, before the concert officially began Springsteen appeared on stage to play an acoustic version of "This Hard Land", treating fans who had arrived early to a special moment.

Springsteen and the E Street Band kicked off the Irish leg of their world tour last week, playing at Boucher Road in Belfast on May 9 before moving on to Kilkenny's Nolan Park on May 12. They will then perform at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork on May 16 and will finish in Croke Park in Dublin on May 19.

The 74-year-old will pass a huge milestone when he reaches Croke Park - celebrating one million concert tickets sold in Ireland since his debut at Slane Castle, Co Meath in 1985.

Though forever associated with New Jersey, Springsteen has strong Irish roots - his great-great-great-grandfather Christy Gerrity was from Co Kildare. 

Gerrity and his family left Ireland during the Famine before settling in New Jersey.