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Bruce Springsteen to Australian crowd: 'We stand before you embarrassed Americans tonight

Bruce Springsteen opens his show in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday, Feb. 1. (Image source: YouTube screen cap)

Bruce Springsteen opened his concert in Melbourne, Australia, this week in a rather unorthodox fashion.

Instead of starting off with a rousing number, Springsteen strolled onstage Wednesday with an acoustic guitar and spoke to the crowd.

"We stand before you embarrassed Americans tonight," Springsteen told the audience as he introduced a '60s pop tune by a group called the Orlons. "We're gonna use this to send a letter back home."

The song's title? "Don't Hang Up."

The crowd got the joke pretty quickly, clearly a reference to Republican President Donald Trump's self-described "tough" phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the weekend regarding a "dumb" Obama administration agreement to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center.

But Turnbull denied in a radio interview that the phone call ended angrily or with a hang up: "I want to make one observation about it. The report the president hung up is not correct, the call ended courteously."

It was a ripe opportunity for Springsteen, however. Here's the clip:

And before the Melbourne show, E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt tweeted an apology to Australia:

The band's "boss," an outspoken liberal, has made a point of criticizing Trump lately. And Melbourne wasn't the only stop on Springsteen's Down Under tour where he voiced anti-Trump sentiments.

During his Adelaide concert Monday, Springsteen introduced the tune "American Land" as "an immigrant song."

"Tonight we want to add our voices to the thousands of Americans who are protesting at airports around our country the Muslim Ban and the detention of foreign nationals and refugees," Springsteen said. "America is a nation of immigrants, and we find this anti-democratic and fundamentally un-American."

Springsteen's anti-Trump reach even affected a Springsteen tribute band, which pulled out of a Trump inaugural ball performance last month out of "respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band."

This story has been updated.

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