Bruce Springsteen showed up at SXSW a day before all his scheduled events, joining Alejandro Escovedo and a host of other guests.

Alejandro had an all-star line-up tonight with Joe Ely, Garland Jeffreys, Rosie Flores, Amy Cook and Kid Congo Powers all making an appearance.

But the presence of Bruce Springsteen on stage with Alejandro was the hot rumour all day today in Austin and it paid off for the punters.

Bruce was on stage with Alejandro for four songs but one of those songs was an incredible 10-minute version of the Rolling Stones' Beast of Burden.

Alejandro was on stage with Joe Ely when he said, “we need one more guitar player”. Enter Bruce dressed in his working class man black and white checked shirt outfit. The band launched into Jimmie Dale Gilmour’s The Midnight Train with Joe on vocals.

They then played a song Alejandro said he first did with Bruce years ago and played Always A Friend with Bruce and Alejandro sharing lead vocal.

Next was Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad then Garland Jeffreys rejoined the line-up for that epic Beast of Burden with Bruce singing the "Am I hard enough/am I rich enough" line.

Bruce will deliver the keynote address at SXSW on Thursday morning and perform at The ACL Theater tonight at 9:40 PM with the E Street Band.

His album Wrecking Ball was released last week and will debut at number one on the Billboard chart this week with sales of 196,000.