He may have rocked Rockefeller Center's Plaza on Friday performing with his E Street Band on the Today show, but when he's home, Bruce Springsteen is just Dad.
Program host Matt Lauer wondered if The Boss, 58, had trouble shifting gears from his domestic life with kids Evan, 17, Jessica, 15, and Sam, 13 back to "the rock star side of you again?"
"Noooooo," Springsteen quickly answered, as wife and bandmate Patti Scialfa, 54, standing a few feet away, shook her head no.
While Springsteen and the band launch a full-scale tour of the U.S. and Europe on Oct. 2 – their first since 2002-2003 – and run with it through Dec. 19, at home he is definitely a hands-on dad.
Every weekday morning, for instance, he and Scialfa cook a hearty breakfast for their teens: oatmeal, pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs.
The whole family also plays guitar and writes music, and Springsteen has been seen out with his kids – catching a concert with Evan at New York's Roseland Ballroom over a mid-September weekend; watching Jessica, an accomplished equestrian, compete; or walking along the beach with the children near their home on the Jersey Shore.
"He's very genuine, very genuine," observes Today co-host Meredith Vieira, who interviewed Scialfa earlier this month for the launch of her new solo album. (Springsteen's first new record in five years with E Street Band, Magic, comes out in October.)
Vieira also tells PEOPLE that Springsteen could be unobtrusive. When Scialfa was being interviewed for the show, her husband, though there with son Sam, was hardly noticeable to Vieira.
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But onstage, The Boss is a different person. "He's one of the best performers I've ever seen," says Vieira, who saw him perform live for the first time Friday morning. "There's a recording, then there's a concert."
As fans packed the plaza, Springsteen played before the 7 a.m. start of the TV broadcast, and another seven numbers over the course of the next few hours.
"Matt and I were saying that we can't believe we were getting paid [to be at the performance]," says Vieira. "Matt said it's one of those days when our job is just great."
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