Bruce makes campaign stop for Obama in Virginia

Fourteen days before a landmark presidential election, Bruce Springsteen came to a city steeped in presidential history — Charlottesville, in electoral battleground Virginia — to rally about 3,500 people in support of President Obama’s re-election bid.

Springsteen’s stirring, six-song performance at an event sponsored by Obama for America took place the day after the third and final presidential debate, a progression that could be called “Big Bird... Binders… Battleship and bayonets… Bruce.”  It marked a first-of-its-kind doubleheader for Springsteen: Though he has performed at nearly a dozen campaign rallies for Democratic presidential candidates in 2004, 2008 and so far this year, today marked the first time he has combined a rally and a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tour gig on the same day. He and the band play tonight at sold-out John Paul Jones Arena (named after the Revolutionary War hero, not the Led Zeppelin bassist).

Charlottesville, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western central Virginia, is home to the University of Virginia. Two presidents – Thomas Jefferson, whose Monticello plantation is four miles from the downtown nTelos Wireless Pavilion where the rally was held, and James Monroe — hailed from Charlottesville.

The Charlottesville rally was Springsteen’s third recent Obama campaign event, following October 18 rallies in Parma, Ohio and Ames, Iowa. Those occurred during a month-long break in the Wrecking Ball tour. Tonight is Springsteen’s first U.S. show since MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. In contrast to the downpour that famously delayed that show, today’s calendar-defying Southern Chamber of Commerce weather put the girls in their summer clothes and the trees in their finest fall colors.

Springsteen was introduced by former Virginia Gov. and current U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine, who said, “Being the last speaker before Bruce Springsteen. This is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

Springsteen walked onstage at 3:18 pm and, after embracing Kaine, said, “I heard there was a good band playing near here tonight.” Then he launched into “No Surrender,” which built to a crescendo with Bruce strumming hard on his honey-burst-colored acoustic.

Springsteen then spoke, repeating the themes and much of the language of his speeches at the two previous re-election rallies.

“For 30 years, I’ve been writing about the distance between American dream and American reality,” Springsteen said. “I’ve seen it from both sides, as a young blue-collar working class kid from a little town in New Jersey. I watched my parents year after year struggling to make ends meet.  I walked in the 9th ward in New Orleans after Katrina…
Voting matters. Elections matter.”  He added, to laughs, “I’m a dad. I got three kids. I’m 63 years old. That deserves a big cheer.”

Springsteen recalled his joy on Election Night 2008, when “you could feel the locked doors of the past being blown open… Then comes the daily struggles to make those possibilities a reality in a world that is often brutally resistant to change.. But I’m here today because I’m thankful for universal healthcare, I’m thankful for a more regulated Wall Street, I’m thankful that GM is still making cars… I’m concerned about women’s rights and women’s health issues around the world…” Harking to a lyric in his song “Jackson Cage,” Springsteen said the disenfranchised end up as “the scenery in another man’s play.”

Springsteen then delighted the crowd with “The Promised Land.” He raised the drama of one of his most popular tunes by singing the final chorus a bit off mic.

Next, Springsteen joked, “Occasionally, late at night, the President gives me a phone call. Once twice a week it happens, it’s getting kind of annoying, actually.” Impersonating Obama, Springsteen said, “Bruce. Bruce. Bruce. I need a campaign song.”  Springsteen then performed that ditty, “Forward.”

The set concluded with three stunners: “The River”; “We Take Care of Our Own,” which included an appropriately reflective-sounding audience sing-along on the chorus; and “Thunder Road,” which Springsteen dedicate to Senate candidate Kaine.

“It’s a town full of losers / we’re pulling out of here to win.” It sounded like not only one of the greatest song endings in rock, but an urgent wish.

 —Steve Eisenstadt, backstreets.com

Tour premiere of “Drive All Night” in Gothenburg

The July 27 and 28 shows in Gothenburg's Ullevi Stadium mark the biggest concert event ever in the history of Northern Europe, with attendance passing 130,000 people. In addition, Bruce now has 16 of the top 100 albums on the iTunes Scandinavian Chart. As a thank you to all of our fans in Sweden and around the world, here is the live video of the rarely performed "Drive All Night" from our July 27 show at Gothenburg's Ullevi Stadium, directed by Chris Hilson and sound mixed by John Cooper. It features Jake Clemons on sax and was one of the 31 songs that Bruce and the band performed during a classic 3 hour and 43 minute show.

Photo by Danny Clinch

The Roots join Bruce and E Street Band at Roskilde

On July 7th, Bruce and the Band played for nearly 100,000 people at the classic Roskilde Festival, forty minutes outside of Copenhagen.  Bruce and E Street took the stage following a stellar performance by The Roots.  Naturally, when Bruce was ready to do "E Street Shuffle," he called his friends of The Legendary Roots Crew back up on stage to reprise their joint performance of the song from Late Night With Jimmy Fallon this past March.  The scintillating performance was captured in this Chris Hilson line cut with John Cooper's board mix.

Participating in the performance from The Roots are Black Thought, Kamal Gray, F. Knuckles, Captain Kirk Douglas, Damon "Tuba Gooding Jr." Bryson, James Poyser, and Mark Kelley.

Independence Day in Paris



Making its tour debut, Bruce performed a solo version of the classic "Independence Day," appropriately filmed on July 4th, at the first of two Wrecking Ball Tour stops at Bercy in Paris, France.

Twist & Shout from Isle of Wight

Bruce & the E Street Band closed this year's Isle of Wight Festival in the UK with a rousing performance of "Twist & Shout" complete with fireworks! Watch the video here.

 

Bruce thanks Germany with premiere of
“When I Leave Berlin”

Last night was Bruce and E Street's second biggest show ever in Germany with 55,000 fans in attendance.  The biggest, however, was in 1988 and is described in today's Reuters article by Erik Kirschbaum:

"Berlin, largely a working class city, has been a special place for Springsteen since his July 1988 concert behind the old Iron Curtain in East Berlin.

Watched by 160,000 people, or about 1 percent of then Communist East Germany's population, it was the biggest rock show in East German history, and The Boss boldly spoke out against the 'barriers' keeping East Germans in their portion of the city.

Some historians have said the concert fed into a movement gaining moment at the time that contributed to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall 16 months later in November 1989.

'Once in a while you play a place, a show that ends up staying inside of you, living with you for the rest of your life,' he told the crowd on Wednesday after being handed a poster from a fan thanking him for the 1988 concert. 'East Berlin in 1988 was certainly one of them.'"

Hence, the emotional reasons for last night's special premiere performance of the song "When I Leave Berlin" by British folk musician Wizz Jones from his 1973 album of the same name.

Except for that unforgettable 1988 show, which was the band's largest concert ever, this has been Bruce and E Street's best and most inspiring tour of Germany.  Bruce ended last night by thanking the great audiences in Frankfurt, Cologne, and Berlin and telling them, "We love you, and we'll be seeing you."

Spirit In The Night from Pinkpop

Bruce and the E Street Band closed this year's Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, Netherlands with a stellar performance. Hot from the stage is this memorable version of "Spirit in the Night." The Pinkpop triumph follows on the heels of Bruce and the Band's largest and best shows in Frankfurt and Cologne, and comes prior to their upcoming performance in Berlin for over 50,000 fans.

“American Skin
(41 Shots)” makes its tour debut in Tampa, FL

From the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, FL on March 23, 2012.

41 shots
41 shots
41 shots
41 shots
41 shots
41 shots
41 shots
41 shots....

And we'll take that ride
'Cross this bloody river
To the other side
41 shots... cut through the night
You're kneeling over his body in the vestibule
Praying for his life

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain't no secret
It ain't no secret
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living
In your American skin

41 shots
Lena gets her son ready for school
She says "on these streets, Charles
You've got to understand the rules
If an officer stops you
Promise you'll always be polite,
that you'll never ever run away
Promise Mama you'll keep your hands in sight"

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain't no secret
It ain't no secret
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living
In your American skin

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it in your heart, is it in your eyes
It ain't no secret

41 shots... and we'll take that ride
'Cross this bloody river
To the other side
41 shots... got my boots caked in this mud
We're baptized in these waters and in each other's blood

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain't no secret
It ain't no secret
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living
In your American skin

Wrecking Ball tour kicks off in Atlanta

To celebrate the start of the Wrecking Ball Tour, here is a clip of "Death to My Hometown" from opening night at the Philips Arena in Atlanta on March 18th. Watch it now!

Bruce performs “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” at SXSW

Bruce delivered the 2012 SXSW Music Festival keynote address to to a packed house in Austin, TX today. Between giving advice to musicians honing their craft night after night on stage and recounting his own development as a songwriter through the music of the 20th Century, he cited The Animals and their song "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" as a key influence on becoming "Bruce Springsteen."

Watch it now!