Bruce Springsteen Says Diaphragm Pain from Peptic Ulcer Disease Was 'Killing Me': 'I Couldn't Sing'

The rocker postponed his tour in September 2023 to recover from the disease

Bruce Springsteen is getting candid about the physical toll that peptic ulcer disease took on him.

The singer, 74, told SiriusXM’s E Street Radio host Jim Rotolo on Thursday that going back on the road with the E Street Band felt "so damn good" after taking time to focus on his health. (The “Born in the U.S.A.” singer announced in late September that he was in the midst of treatment and was pushing back the remainder of his 2023 tour dates as a result.)

"I mean, first of all, Phoenix is a great town for us, and the crowd was off the Richter, off the Richter scale. A wonderful crowd we had, and the band just played great, you know, and I thought they might be tired, you might be a little fatigued, you might be a little rusty. No. You know, the guys were just fabulous from [the] first song on, and I felt great, and the whole band felt great," said Springsteen about his performance at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on Tuesday.

<p>John Medina/Getty </p> Bruce Springsteen performs in Phoenix, Arizona on March 19, 2024

John Medina/Getty

Bruce Springsteen performs in Phoenix, Arizona on March 19, 2024

Related: Bruce Springsteen Postpones Remaining 2023 Tour Dates amid Peptic Ulcer Disease Recovery

Although the rocker performed a 29-song set, he confessed to Rotolo that he questioned if he would be able to do so since his diaphragm hurt "so badly," making him unable to sing for months.

"Once I started singing, you know, you can rehearse singing, but your voice isn't the same in rehearsal. You don't have that edge of adrenaline that really pushes it into a better place and the thing when I had the stomach problem, one of the big problems was I couldn't sing," he explained.

<p>Mike Coppola/Getty</p> Bruce Springsteen

Mike Coppola/Getty

Bruce Springsteen

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"You sing with your diaphragm. You know, my diaphragm was hurting so badly that when I went to make the effort to sing, it was killing me, you know? So, I literally couldn't sing at all, you know, and that lasted for two or three months along with just a myriad of other painful problems," continued Springsteen.

The musician credits his recovery to his "great" doctors.

"They straightened me out, and I can't do anything but thank them all," he said. Springsteen noted that fans can expect him to "move around" more during his upcoming performances.

<p>John Medina/Getty </p> Jake Clemons and Bruce Springsteen perform on stage in Phoenix, Arizona on March 19, 2024

John Medina/Getty

Jake Clemons and Bruce Springsteen perform on stage in Phoenix, Arizona on March 19, 2024

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"I think we're approaching it like it's a new tour," he explained. "There will be some things from last year's tour that will hold over, some of my basic themes of mortality and life and those things, you know, I'm going to keep set, but I think I'm gonna move around the other parts of the set a lot more, so there'll be a much wider song selection going on, so we're looking at it like, you know, it's a little bit of the old tour, but we're looking at it like a new tour."

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