CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE... As we wind up another year-- one which just put Bruce on Rolling Stone's "People of the Year" list -- we wanted to thank everyone for your support in 2004 and wish you a brand new Japanese guitar... or whatever would make your holidays happiest. Can you believe 2005 is right around the corner? The 30th anniversary of Born to Run... a whole decade since The Ghost of Tom Joad... and hey, the silver anniversary of Backstreets Magazine! Aside from milestones, we've already got high hopes for 2005. Bruce has been shuttling back and forth to Atlanta lately, home of Brendan O'Brien's studio, where The Rising was recorded... so stay tuned to Backstreets.com in the new year as we look forward to more news regarding the Springsteen album that's clearly in the works. The Backstreets offices will be closed for the holidays; we'll reopen again on January 3, putting our 81st issue to bed as we enter our 25th year! In the meantime: eat well, stay safe, put out some cold beer for Santa, and we'll see you up around the bend. - December 22, 2004
COME ON SLIM, SLIP ME IN, MAN!
Less choir, more guitar, as Bruce rocks Harry's Roadhouse This seaside bar was the smallest venue in recent memory for Springsteen's two holiday jams in Asbury Park on a cold winters' night. While music was piped outside for those who hadn't scored tickets (no more than 500 for each performance), crowds out in the street dwindled as the temperature (and snow!) dropped. Inside, there was plenty of heat. Backed by Bobby Bandiera and his band, complete with Jukes horns (who all pulled this off with very little rehearsal), Springsteen turned in two sets heavy with his own songs, and lighter on the special guest "revue" element of years past. Holiday chestnuts were sprinkled here and there -- "Run, Run Rudolph" at the beginning, and the requisite "Santa Claus" at the end -- but the setlists reflected the roadhouse vibe: rarities like "From Small Things," "Stand on It," "Rendezvous," and of course "Seaside Bar Song"; a blessedly up-to-speed album version of "Further On (Up the Road)"; and deck my halls, the return of the long-lost "All That Heaven Will Allow." Springsteen even came out into the crowd on "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out." He started both shows alone with a three-song acoustic set, breaking out "Bus Stop," "Wild Billy," "For You," "Working on the Highway," and "This Hard Land" over the two concerts. As for additional "friends," Southside Johnny guested in the afternoon performance-- not for "Talk to Me," a song Bruce wrote for the South and sang himself here, but later in the set for "The Fever." No Southside in the late show, but Bruce reprised "The Fever" anyway as an audible, and a guest spot from Patti Scialfa gave the crowd a taste of the RCDS shows, backed by Bobby & Co. on "Tell Him" and an "It Takes Two" duet with Bruce. Also in the late show, Hero of Holiday Shows Past, Max Weinberg took over the drums from "Seaside Bar Song" through the end. Each performance closed with a favorite from the Vote for Change tour (debuted by Bruce at last year's holiday shows), "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding." Beneficiaries of these concerts (besides the Asbury Park merchants, who had more than 35,000 contest entries filled out in their stores): Interfaith Neigbors, Hope Academy Charter School, Salvation Army, Family & Children's Services, Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County, Prevention First, Epiphany House, Asbury Park Citizens on Patrol, The Center, Hispanic Affairs & Resource Center, and Save Tillie Inc.
For the complete setlist from each holiday jam, see our setlists page.
- Updated December 20, 2004 - Ruth Barohn photo
'TIS THE SEASON... TO BE RUNNING LATE?
Last-minute gift-giving? We can help! For anyone with visions of Springsteen dancing in their heads, Backstreet Records has plenty of stuff to make for some happy holidays. And it's not too late: while our standard-shipping deadline for guaranteed Christmas delivery was December 10, we do offer expedited shipping to anywhere in the U.S. if you need something fast. For delivery by Christmas Eve, we'll be taking expedited orders up until 2:00 p.m. Eastern on December 22. Just be sure to select 2-Day or Overnight shipping during the checkout process if you need an order to arrive before Christmas! (Expedited orders placed by 2 p.m. Eastern are always processed that day; if placed on 12/22 by 2 p.m., 2-day orders will arrive on 12/24, and overnight orders will arrive on 12/23.) Visit our online shop now! - December 17, 2004
DECKING THE HALLS AT HARRY'S 'Tis two nights before Christmas shows, and all through the roadhouse... okay, we'll stop there. But preparations are underway for Bruce's first-ever holiday jams at Harry's, at 4:30 and 8:30 on Sunday. Festivities will start earlier in the day, with surrounding streets closed to traffic and stores open for holiday shopping. Inside Harry's Roadhouse, it's no smoking, with full bar but no food service. Outside, food carts will be serving up hot cider, sausage, burgers and the like, from 1 to 11 p.m. Stores will be open late, too. If you're a lucky ticketholder, the plan is for 2 alphabetical lines to form an hour before each show. Check concertseast.com for any additional concert information.
If Ticketmaster shut you out, don't forget it's not too late to enter the ticket contest in Asbury Park. Visitors to Asbury Park merchants can fill out an entry form (the limit is one entry per merchant per day) for a chance to win one of ten pairs of tickets -- plus a meet & greet with the man himself. The contest runs through Saturday, December 18 at 5 p.m., when a drawing will be held and winners notified by phone. (More details and rules can be found at asburyguild.com and cityofasburypark.com.) If you're in the area, check the list of participating merchants and get going! - December 17, 2004
YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A HOLIDAY SHOW!
Two of them, in fact -- both 12/19, onsale 12/13 With a second show added today, Springsteen now has two Asbury Park holiday benefits scheduled for December 19: an early show at 4:30 p.m., and a late show at 8:30 p.m. A few changes this year: the proceedings are moving off the boardwalk and getting even more intimate, held for the first time at Harry's Roadhouse; and there's no mention of the Max Weinberg 7, with the official billing for this "Christmas Jam" listed as "Bruce Springsteen with Bobby Bandiera and Friends." But as usual, the concerts will raise funds for local charities and organizations.
Merchants contest: Harry's is just down Cookman Avenue from Antic Hay Books, where Bruce held his book signing this past summer, and there's a similar contest this time around: Springsteen is offering a free pair of tickets and the opportunity to meet him to 10 fans who shop in Asbury Park between Saturday morning, December 4 and Saturday afternoon, December 18. Check asburyguild.com and cityofasburypark.com for rules, merchants, and further contest details.
Ticket alert: Tickets for both shows go on sale this Monday, December 13, at 10 a.m. Eastern, through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone only. For additional onsale details and rules, check our tour/ticket info page. - Updated December 10, 2004
GRAMMY LIKES THE SOUND OF "SILENCE" Grammy nominations were announced today, and with this year's eligibility beginning in October 2003, that put The Essential Bruce Springsteen in the running. Springsteen scored a "Solo Rock Vocal Performance" nomination for that album's "Code of Silence." His distinguished competition: Ryan Adams, "Wonderwall"; Steve Earle, "The Revolution Starts Now"; Melissa Etheridge, "Breathe"; and Tom Waits, "Metropolitan Glide." The 47th Annual Grammy Awards will be presented on February 13. - December 7, 2004
SANTA CLAUS COMES TO STEELTOWN Flood Aid '04, benefitting Pennsylvanians who suffered damage from Hurricane Ivan in September, brought Joe Grushecky and Bruce Springsteen together again, less than a month after their Light of Day performance -- and this time, on Joe's home turf. Just across the river from PNC Park, Springsteen's last stop in Pittsburgh, the December 2 Flood Aid featured a similar batch of songs as LOD5 at the Pony, but in a vastly different setting: a beautiful old theater with chandeliers, red carpet and gold trim. With wreaths hung and egg nog sold in the lobby, we got our official start of the holidays with the show-closing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." That was the setlist's only nod to the season, but far from its only treat. Springsteen first joined Exit 105 for "All Along the Watchtower" (no Neil Young this time, but a strong performance). Later, before the Houserockers took the stage, Bruce turned in a surprise three-song solo set featuring a rare solo-acoustic performance of "Land of Hope and Dreams" (first played at the 2001 Clearwater Festival). It was a respectful, pin-drop crowd for "If I Should Fall Behind" and "For You" as well, the latter dedicated to "all the old fans." Afterward, Springsteen played the entire headline set with Joe & the Houserockers, including many of the duo's standards like "Code of Silence" and "Never Be Enough Time," with Boccigalupe joining in on keyboards for "Murder Inc." Springsteen's own songs in the set included "Johnny 99," "Atlantic City," "This Hard Land," and -- the "goosebump moment" of the night -- "Factory." While a stripped-down version has turned up at E Street Band shows semi-regularly in recent years, it's been a while since most had heard it like this, as Grushecky noted in an intro. After the penultimate "Lucky Town," the stage filled with many of the night's performers -- as well as Jesse Malin and his band, some elves, and Santa himself -- for the typically and joyously chaotic finale.
See our setlists page for the full set from Flood Aid '04.
- Updated December 3, 2004 - Mike Beder photo
MAKIN' A LIST, CHECKIN' IT TWICE...
Where's Blitzen, baby? Holiday shopping with Backstreet Records! Alas, there's no official Springsteen calendar for 2005, which upsets a lot of gift-giving plans, we know... but if you're looking for Boss gifts for the holidays, we can help. Our online catalog is packed with a wide variety of Springsteen stuff, just waiting for a stocking near you. We've just added a bunch of new goodies to our shelves, including new Backstreets baseball caps and stickers, a new CD from Southside Johnny, Save Tillie T-shirts... check our latest arrivals page for more.
The Big Payback: When you order from Backstreet Records, your hard-earned money directly supports Backstreets.com, BTX, and Backstreets Magazine -- and since we've kept advertising minimal, magazine subscription prices low, and all this online muckety-muck free of charge, that support really makes a difference.
Run, Run, Rudolph!: For orders placed by December 10, we can guarantee standard delivery to any U.S. address will arrive in time for Christmas. If you order after that date, or simply need something faster, we offer 2-day and Overnight service at a reeeeasonable price. Of course, we ship all over the world, and while we can't guarantee the timing of an international shipment (if you're having something sent outside of the U.S., we recommend ordering as early as possible if you're hoping for delivery before Christmas), we'll be working hard this holiday season to fulfill orders as quickly as possible. Check out our online catalog, thanks as always for your support, and have a happy Thanksgiving! - November 23, 2004
A BIRTHDAY WITH THE KRANKS
Little Steven, born on 11/22/50, celebrates the big 5-4 with this week's release of his Christmas with the Kranks soundtrack -- a set of holiday songs in the spirit of his Underground Garage, by artists from Brenda Lee and Elvis to the Raveonettes and Chesterfield Kings. Plus (former Disciple of Soul) Jean Beauvoir and, of course, the Ramones. The soundtrack includes one Van Zandt composition, "Navidad," with six songs he arranged and produced. Your own portable holiday show? We can't vouch for the flick, but who better to put together a rockin' holiday record than the coolest DJ in the USA.
Congrats and happy birthday, Steve!
PLAY YOUR PART: HUNGERTHON '04 30 Thanksgivings running, W.H.Y. helps the hungry With Thanksgiving just days away, it's Hungerthon time again... Each year since 1975, World Hunger Year (historically one of Springsteen's favorite charities) joins together with radio stations, corporations, and individual donors to fight the hunger and poverty problem that affects 36 million Americans and 842 million people throughout the world. Visit the Hungerthon website to find out more about the annual event and what you can do to help. And don't miss some cool stuff in their benefit auction, including a couple of signed guitars from Springsteen. - November 22, 2004
TICKET ALERT: FLOOD AID '04
Ticket sale moved to Tuesday, 11/23, at 8 a.m. Here's a curve-ball for anyone hoping for December benefits from Springsteen: holiday shows in Asbury Park may not be in the cards, but Springsteen still has an eye on helping those in need next month. On December 2 he'll play Flood Aid '04 in Pittsburgh, PA, to help victims of the September 17 flooding. Less than a month after their Light of Day appearance together, Springsteen and Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers will share the stage again, this time in Joe's backyard, for this benefit show at Heinz Hall. According to a Flood Aid press release, "A similarly formatted set is expected."
Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts (600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA) is home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and seats roughly 2,660. Springsteen, Grushecky & the Houserockers will be headlining, with shorter opening performances from Jill West & Blues Attack, Bill Deasy with Rob James, B.E. Taylor, Rick Witkowski, Johnny Grushecky & the Johns, and Exit 105.
Proceeds from the benefit concert will go to the Salvation Army to help victims of the flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan, which damaged more than 10,000 residences in September. According to the press release, "One of the immediate goals of the flood relief effort is to provide new furnaces for the many residents whose basement heating systems were destroyed by the flood waters. With winter setting in the need for heating solutions is urgent." As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, after their Light of Day performance together, Grushecky told Springsteen "how devastated everything was in these lower economic, working-class towns, that a lot of people had lost everything, that businesses had been destroyed. And he said, 'I'll do whatever it takes to help you.'... It was pretty much that simple." Read more in the Post-Gazette. - Updated November 22, 2004
SUNDAY WITH STEFANKO Fans of Darkness/The River photographer Frank Stefanko's work can catch a rare appearance from him this weekend in New Jersey. On Sunday, November 21, at noon, Frank will be speaking and signing his Days of Hope and Dreams book at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Monmouth County (100
Grant Road, Deal Park [Ocean Township], NJ). The event is part of their Festival of Books, Culture and the Arts; admission of seven bucks includes brunch, and Frank will bringing some of his original photos, too. Reservations can be made by calling the JCC at (732) 531-9100, extension 180. - November 17, 2004
THE BIG MAN AND THE HITTER
Clarence Clemons on cable tellyvision After a blink-and-you'd-miss-it appearance earlier this season, Clarence gets some good screen time on this week's episode of HBO's The Wire, as a social worker helping an ex-con get back on his feet and start a boxing gym. The episode (#33: "Moral Midgetry") premiered last night, with repeat airings this week. - November 15, 2004
A BOULDER ON HIS SHOULDER?
Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mighty Max As Conan O'Brien told Late Night viewers this week, Max Weinberg is currently recovering from a broken collarbone. According to the New York Daily News, the injury happened during a post-election football game at Senator John Kerry's place. The good news, according to the paper: "He's expected back at work next week." Here's hoping!
You can listen to a recent interview with Max at Conversations Online, talking to rock historian Glenn Gass at Indiana University Bloomington in late October. - November 12, 2004
ASBURY CONDOS: "THE RISING"? SAY IT AIN'T SO!
It ain't. But watch for "Frankie's Frankfurters"... "The Rising" was being used as the name of a new Asbury Park condominum, until a letter from Springsteen changed developers' minds.
"'The Rising' was written in the shadow of September 11th and should remain connected to the heartbreak and courage of that day," Springsteen wrote in a letter to Asbury Park's triCityNews. "...I respectfully ask the city fathers and developers to place both my and my song's names out of the running for any new buildings, streets, hot dog stands (well, maybe hot dog stands) as the city moves toward its exciting future."
SOWING SEEDS FOR PDF AT 5th ANNUAL LIGHT OF DAY
Springsteen and Grushecky together again, Nov. 6 Above: Bob Benjamin and Springsteen / Ruth Barohn photo For the fifth year running, Springsteen played the Light of Day benefit for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, jamming on Saturday night with Joe Grushecky and his band (including son Johnny) for an hour and a half. Four songs into the Houserockers' set, at 1:00 a.m., Bruce joined in starting on "Idiot's Delight" (a Springsteen/Grushecky co-write with a St. Peter's-eye-view of Earthly goings-on) followed by a Stone Pony-rocking "From Small Things." In addition to some of the standard Bruce & Joe fare -- like "Murder Inc.", "Code of Silence," "Never Be Enough Time," "Johnny 99" (a highlight), "Mustang Sally," etc. -- Springsteen added a couple to the repertoire. Making their LOD debuts along with "Idiot's Delight" were "Atlantic City" (with Boccigalupe turning in fine work on keyboards) and, another high point of the night, a powerful "This Hard Land." For anyone looking for some kind of post-election statement, these songs also held riches, from "Maybe everything that dies someday comes back" to "Stay alive if you can, and meet me in a dream of this hard land."
Some in the crowd wanted their say as well. After "This Hard Land," Light of Day organizer Bob Benjamin -- who started Light of Day five years ago, organizes the benefits each year, and has Parkinson's himself -- was presented with a birthday cake; he made a speech in which he addressed stem cell research and the outcome of the election, and praised Springsteen for standing up for what he believes in. That's when a few audience members started chanting "Four more years!" We don't think they were talking about Light of Day 9. One Pony-goer told us: "It was a little weird, and that's coming from a guy who voted for Bush. It was ugly. Almost Terence Trent D'arby ugly." Benjamin tells Backstreets that the chant didn't register much onstage, where they were "more concerned about what the encore was going to be." Bruce and crew kept pushin' to the encores with "Light of Day," the birthday boy taking vocals as per LOD tradition, and closed out the night at 2:30 a.m. with "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." Other artists from the night joined in for the big encore jam including JoBonanno, Danny White, and Willie Nile. Correction: Michael J. Fox was not present, as previously reported.
To contribute to the fight against Parkinson's Disease, visit www.pdf.org.
For the full setlist from this and other recent Springsteen appearances, see our setlists page.
- Updated November 9, 2004
A BANNER POSTING Springsteen's first public reaction to the election came on Friday evening, when his interpretation of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was posted on brucespringsteen.net. The wordless, 12-string rendition of the National Anthem will be familiar to anyone who saw the Vote for Change tour, though to our surprise, this is a studio version. We'll leave any political or emotional interpretations up to you, but one thing that strikes us: other than album previews, this is the first time Springsteen has used the internet to air new, unreleased material. We like it. Listen in Windows Media (broadband) - Windows Media (dial-up) - QuickTime - Real Audio. - November 6, 2004
TALKING 'BOUT THE WEEKEND, SCRUBBING OFF THE DIRT On Wednesday night, Nightline aired a brief interview with Springsteen from November 1 in Cleveland, bookending his Vote for Change activity with a Ted Koppel follow-up. "I've been glad to be able to be out here," Bruce said of being on the campaign trail, "it's been inspiring." Prodded to address any "cost," he told Koppel, "Oh, I don't think so... I've gotten a lot more out of it than whatever the flip-side of it might be." On this election eve, before knowing that 51 percent of U.S. voters would not Vote for Change, Springsteen looked ahead to the next day and beyond: "Tomorrow I'm going to return to my job as mild-mannered rock musician."
So off goes the cape and on go the glasses... and while there are no guarantees, it wouldn't be a surprise if the rocking resumed this weekend. The fifth annual Light of Day concerts begin tonight at the Stone Pony -- Springsteen guested each of the previous four years -- with Gary U.S. Bonds and Jesse Malin among many on the bill for the first of three shows. For a full schedule and more information, visit Lightofday.org. Also check out the Home News Tribune's front page story on show organizer Bob Benjamin. - November 5, 2004
BRUCE'S PICK Last night in the battleground state of Ohio, on the eve of the election, Springsteen joined John Kerry for their fourth rally together. Senator (and astronaut) John Glenn introduced Springsteen, who laughed as he took the stage, "Senator, you made me feel like I blasted off into space! Like I went around the world!" In addition to "The Promised Land" and campaign theme "No Surrender," which Bruce played at the previous rallies, Bruce added a third song, an acoustic "Thunder Road" as a special dedication: "I met a lady tonight, Kristen Breitweiser, who is actually a neighbor of mine, just a few minutes away from me in New Jersey. And she was one of the 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls, who, when the administration was stonewalling the 9/11 Commission, held their feet to the fire and got the truth out. So I want to do this tonight for her."
After "Thunder Road," Springsteen gave a stirring speech, longer and more fleshed-out for this final rally than we'd heard before, including a call for "an open American government that's unburdened by unnecessary secrecy."
As a songwriter, I've been writing about America for 30 years: who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for -- these ideas are what's at stake tomorrow. I believe our American government has drifted too far from American values: The human principles of economic justice, healing the sick, health care, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, a living wage so folks don't have to break their backs and then come home and not be able to make ends meet, an open American government that's unburdened by unnecessary secrecy, protection of our environment, sane and responsible foreign policy where we take our place amongst a community of nations, civil rights and the safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home. This is what we're fighting for tomorrow.
Now, nobody's got all of the answers to all of America's problems. And when John Kerry wins tomorrow [cheering], it's just the beginning of the work that we need to do ourselves to create a humane American society. I got involved in this election because I saw the opportunity to have somebody in the White House with a heart, that would honestly ask the hard questions, that would respect our most struggling citizens, and a spirit that would seek the solutions to bring us closer to fulfilling America's promise for everybody. I believe that Senator Kerry honors these ideals, and that he'll work for them. He's lived our history over the past 50 years, he has an informed and adult view of America and her people. And he's had the life experience and understands that we as humans, we are not infallible, that we make mistakes. And as Senator Edwards said during the Democratic Convention, that struggle and heartbreak will always be with us, and that's why we need each other. That's why we need to be able to depend on and keep faith with one another through hard times and good times. That's why "One Nation Indivisible" and "United We Stand" can't be empty slogans, but need to remain guding principles of our public policy.
I was speaking to Senator Glenn the other night, and he said that politics is supposed to be the Personnel Department of the Constitution. It is supposed to be shining service. And that's why we need good, wise, and trustworthy servants to put our ideals in action. Senator Kerry, since he was a young man, has shown us by having the courage to face America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism, we find a more complete view of who we are, we find a more authentic experience as citizens, and that's where we find the power that is embedded only in truth to make our world a better and safer place for our kids to grow up in. These are the things that have brought me here tonight.
Paul Wellstone, the Minnesota senator, said, "The future is for the passionate." That's right. And those that are willing to fight and work hard for it. Well, the future is now. It's time to roll up your sleeves and let your passions flow in the service of a more just and equitable society. That's why I'm here to stand alongside Senator Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting. So tomorrow, get Grandma, get Ma, get Pa, get 'em all out there and vote! We've had a sax player, I think it's time for a guitar player in the White House!"
When John Kerry took the stage, the candidate began with words of thanks, including these for Springsteen and for an impromptu gift from the Boss:
Finally, but obviously not least importantly, I want to say thank you to that special fellow who has sung anthems across America for 30 years. He is a poet... [Brooocing from the crowd] You got it! [laughs]... He's a great poet, he sings from his heart, he writes from his heart, and he writes about real people and the struggles of life itself. We love him, we know him as the Boss: Bruce Springsteen, thank you so much for being here. I've been a fan of his for a long time, and I'll tell you what, I may be running for President of the United States, but we all know who the Boss really is. I gotta tell you, when George Bush heard that the Boss was going to be showing up with me, he thought they meant Dick Cheney! I also want you to know that as I came up here, Bruce gave me something that's about as special to me as anything I get. You may think I'm crazy for saying this, but he gave me his pick. He said, "Take it to the White House, this is gonna bring you good luck!" And I'll tell you, this pick is going to play in the White House. Here it is! The lucky pick!
- November 2, 2004 - photo by Mike Beder
WHAT ARE YOU DOING ELECTION EVE? After a rally this afternoon in Detroit (where Stevie Wonder is scheduled to play), John Kerry will be joined again by Bruce Springsteen tonight for the Election Eve Rally in Cleveland. Tivo/VCR Alert: tonight's rally is scheduled to be broadcast live on C-SPAN.
And tomorrow, Uncle Sam Wants You... don't forget to Vote! - November 1, 2004
LIFE AFTER THE ELECTION
Whaaaaaa? Oh, yeah! After the election! After all the votes have been cast... and at least some of them have been counted... and the lawsuits begin... there might actually be something else to talk about on BTX! For one thing, there's the fifth annual Light of Day benefit this coming weekend, three nights of music at the Stone Pony. In addition to LOD stalwarts Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, there's also Gary U.S. Bonds (just added), Shane Fontayne, Jesse Malin, Steel Mill Retro, and a whole lot more. See our concert calendar for the full Light of Day line-up.
On the west coast, this Saturday night, November 6, is the 20th Anniversary party for the Boss Club, with live music from the tribute band Bruce in the USA, at Aura (12215 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA). For more information, to make a reservation or to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org. - November 1, 2004
SOMEBODY ITCHING FOR STUMPING TO START Miami missed out on that Vote For Change finale, but Springsteen will still get to bring his message to town, for his third rally appearance with John Kerry in two days. According to CNN.com: "One day after the Boss drew crowds of 80,000 in the capitals of Wisconsin and Ohio, Camp Kerry hastily scheduled another event in Miami today. (Kerry aides tell CNN's Kelly Wallace that this was Bruce's idea, not theirs.)" As the Miami Herald reports, Bruce "told the Massachusetts senator that he doesn't want 'to wake up Wednesday' -- the day after the election -- and wish he could have done more."
IF THERE'S STUMPING YOU NEED... Springsteen raised his hand and his voice at two John Kerry rallies yesterday, playing acoustic renditions of "The Promised Land" and "No Surrender" to stadium-sized crowds in Madison, WI (80,000 people) and Columbus, OH.
In Madison, Bruce was introduced by Governor Jim Doyle, in a speech bursting with Springsteen songs: "John Kerry has given us a reason to believe... we can restore America to its glory days!" (Such shameless title-dropping, it really crossed The Line.) Springtseen took the stage joking, "Well, I've heard it all now. I think that's gonna be the governor's last appearance as my opening act."
After "The Promised Land," Springsteen gave a speech in support of Kerry that built on his VFC tour P.S.A. and incorporated a sentiment from the late Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota:
"As a songwriter, I've written about America for 30 years. I've tried to write about who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for. I believe that these essential ideals of American identity are what's at stake on November 2nd. The human prinicples of economic justice, just healing the sick, health care, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, a living wage so folks don't have to break their backs and not make ends meet, the protection of our environment, a sane and responsible foreign policy, civil rights and the protection and safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home.
"I believe that Senator Kerry honors these ideals. He has lived our history over the past 50 years, has an informed adult view of America and its people. He's had a life experience, and I think he understands that we as humans are not infallible. As Senator Edwards said during the Democratic convention, 'struggle and heartbreak will always be with us,' and that's why we need each other. That's why 'United We Stand,' that's why 'One Nation Indivisible' aren't just slogans, but they need to remain guiding principles of our public policy.
"And he's shown us starting as a young man that by facing America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism, that's where we find a more complete view of who we are, that's where we find a more authentic experience as citizens, and that's where we find the power that is embedded only in truth to make our world a better and a safer place.
Paul Wellstone, the great Minnesota senator, he said 'the future is for the passionate, and those that are willing to fight and work hard for it.' Well, the future is now, and it's time to let your passions loose. So, let's roll up our sleeves... that's why I'm here today to stand alongside Senator Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting. And together we can move America together towards her deepest ideals. And besides, we had a sax player in the White House... we need a guitar player in the White House!
Then leading into "No Surrender": "All right, this is for John. This is for you, John." Watch the video here.
Also in Madison, Springsteen and Patti Scialfa took a bunch of University of Wisconsin students by surprise, taking them up on their invitation for a beer and watching Kerry's speech from their balcony. Read the story in the L.A. Times; photos here.
Springsteen is scheduled to join Kerry again on Election Eve, in Cleveland. See the Plain Dealer for location and other details for that night's rally. - October 29, 2004
DEJA VU: SUNDANCE TO RE-AIR DC FINALE There are no plans at the moment for a home video release of National Anthem (the Vote for Change documentary and live broadcast from the DC show), but thanks to popular demand, the Sundance Channel will be rebroadcasting the whole program this weekend. So if your Tivo didn't catch the whole thing, or you otherwise missed the broadcast, tune in this Saturday, October 30 at 6:30 p.m. for an encore presentation.
For an audio repeat, Sirius will be rebroadcasting the show on Halloween (this Sunday, 10/31) at 7:00 p.m. ET, on The Spectrum, Channel 18.
Update: In case you don't get Sundance... you can at least check out video for "People Have the Power" online. - Updated October 29, 2004
STUMPING IN THE NIGHT
Springsteen to play Kerry rallies in Wisconsin and Ohio With one week left until the election, it was announced today that Bruce himself will be joining John Kerry on the campaign trail. He'll be performing at two Fresh Start for America Rallies this Thursday, October 28: in Madison, WI that morning (where Foo Fighters are also scheduled to play), and Columbus, OH later in the day. The Madison Capital Times writes that 60,000 are expected to attend the morning event, "billed as one of the biggest political rallies Wisconsin will have seen." On November 1, Springsteen will join Kerry at an election-eve rally in Cleveland. Follow the links above for complimentary tickets (no oath pledge necessary).
According to Shore Fire Media, "Springsteen will speak on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards campaign at the stops and is expected to perform one or two songs."
Update:Channel3000.com will be streaming the Madison rally live, starting around 11 a.m. Central Time (noon ET). Click here for the stream.
Update: In Madison (not that we could get the dang stream to work), Springsteen played acoustic versions of "The Promised Land" and Democratic campaign theme "No Surrender." Between songs he gave a brief speech similar to his Vote for Change tour P.S.A., adding, "We had a sax player... we need a guitar player in the White House!" For tonight's rally in Ohio, check out local Columbus affiliates of NBC (promising a live stream) and CBS (with video already posted of crowds starting to gather). - Updated October 28, 2004
THE EXORCIST "Are you ready for a Boston house party? Well, tonight we're here on a very special occasion... and it's gonna call for more than a rock and roll house party.... we got to have a rock and roll exorcism, baby! Because even though we are from New Jersey.... I can feel your pain!.... We know how you´ve struggled against your nemesis to the south... I wanna introduce your exorcisers..."
--Springsteen and the E Street Band take care of the Curse of the Bambino, Fenway Park, 9/7/03
UPCOMING CONCERTS: SIX DEGREES OF SPRINGSTEEN We can connect Patti Scialfa to Kevin Bacon in... one step! On November 19, she'll be sharing a bill with the Bacon Brothers at Sayreville, NJ's Starland Ballroom, as part of the Writers in the Raw songwriter showcase series. Tickets are onsale now through Ticketmaster.
Next week, The "Kerry Rising!" show brings together John Wesley Harding, Marshall Crenshaw, David Poe and others, for a night of Springsteen covers. Each artist will play two Bruce songs at this Concerts for Change event, to be held at the Knitting Factory in New York on Monday, October 25. - October 18, 2004
NJ, 10/13: FLYIN' THE FLANNEL WITH THE LOCAL HERO AT THE REAL GRAND FINALE The final night of Springsteen's VFC tour brought a unique bill to the Meadowlands, with Patti Scialfa and her band opening this homecoming show, and Jackson Browne in for REM. While Bruce joined REM at each of the previous concerts, tonight we had a trifecta as he played in the opening set with Patti (for the same two songs as his guest appearances on her September tour), in the second set with Browne (for "Running on Empty"), and one of the longest headlining sets of the run (rivaling St. Paul in both length, at 21 songs, and performance). Speaking of trifectas, surprise guest Eddie Vedder joined the E Street Band for a powerful trio of "No Surrender," "Darkness on the Edge of Town," and Pearl Jam's "Betterman." And continuing to speak of trifectas, the encore opened with not one, not two, but three classic CCR songs with Fogerty. But the emotional highlight of an emotional show had to be in the post-"Rising" slot (formerly occupied by "Because the Night" with Michael Stipe), when there was an audible gasp as Browne came out for "Racing in the Street." As one concertgoer said, "all the air was sucked out of the building." In a good way. Browne's own set included topical songs like "For America" and "Lives in the Balance," and Little Steven finally took a bow on a song of his that has cropped up at several other VFC shows this month, joining Jackson for "I Am a Patriot." A fine end to a righteous tour.
Look for full tour coverage, with exclusive photos and much more, in the next issue of Backstreets magazine. Subscribe now!
For the full setlist from this and other recent Springsteen appearances, see our setlists page.
- Updated October 14, 2004 - Debra L. Rothenberg photo
DON'T GET SUNDANCE? TUNE IN TO RADIO VFC After years of radio silence, it's the very welcome return of the Springsteen concert broadcast. As reported earlier, footage from Monday's Washington D.C. concert will be shown live as part of a five-hour special on the Sundance Channel called National Anthem: Inside the Vote for Change Concert Tour. But if you don't get Sundance -- or even if you do -- you'll be glad to know that the DC show will be carried live by satellite radio (including XM and Sirius) and on stations across the country. In addition, you can watch an online webcast using RealPlayer. See vfcfinale.com for more details... and roll your tapes! - October 7, 2004
KEEP ON ROCKIN' IN THE VFC WORLD
A quick breather between shows, and a good time to look at some interesting happenings at other Vote for Change shows so far.... The E Street spirit has been present elsewhere, with Little Steven's "I Am a Patriot" covered by Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and Keb Mo' at their VFC shows, and also by Eddie Vedder on the Pearl Jam/Death Cab for Cutie bill. Eddie broke out "Growin' Up," too.... Neil Young has made a couple guest appearances so far, playing with Dave Matthews Band on 10/3 at the Palace in Auburn Hills, and with Pearl Jam (along with another surprise guest, Peter Frampton) on 10/2 at the Toledo Sports Arena. Our fingers are all sorts of crossed for St. Paul. - October 4, 2004
THE VFC PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT Watch live footage from Philly of Springsteen's P.S.A. online now! You can also read the P.S.A. transcript here.
YOU DIDN'T REALLY THINK THEY'D SKIP NJ, DIDJA?
Ticket alert: 10/13 Meadlowands show onsale 10/6 It's official, Springsteen has added an extra stop on the Vote for Change tour, after the DC "finale," on October 13 at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This Meadowlands show will have a different line-up than his previous VFC shows, featuring Springsteen & the E Street Band, John Fogerty, Jackson Browne and Patti Scialfa. Jon Landau says: "The Vote For Change experience has been so wonderful that we couldn't let it end without taking it to New Jersey. The Meadowlands is going to be shaking." Tickets go on sale this Wednesday, October 6, at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster by phone and online.
TICKET ALERT: LIGHT OF DAY 5 ON SALE TODAY The fifth annual Light of Day Parkinson's Disease Foundation benefit, this year a three-night event at the Stone Pony (November 5-7), goes on sale Saturday, October 2, at noon. Many artists are participating, though the bill has yet to be finalized; it's currently unclear which night(s) artists like Marshall Crenshaw, Soozie Tyrell, and Jesse Malin will play. We do know that 11/6 will include Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers; 11/7 will include Shane Fontayne. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, Vintage Vinyl, and at the Stone Pony box office. - October 2, 2004
PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM The Vote For Change tour launched its opening night in Philly with the emphasis placed firmly on hard rockin' rather than grandiose speechifyin'. Here's all the nitty gritty.
The GA Scoop: Minor opening night glitches aside, the general admission line was a pretty smooth one and served as a good indication of how upcoming shows will work. The main things to know: no lining up before 3:00 pm, no fan- or third-party lists honored. Numbered wristbands are given out between 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm, with a lottery to determine order of entry for the first 400 people who get access to the pit. Be sure to have your ticket and i.d. with you. Refer to venue websites for upcoming shows to see if any rules might differ. In Philly, wristbands were handed out in a very orderly fashion starting at 3:00 pm. A lottery number was selected at 4:50 pm to reorder the line, and fans began to be let in at 5:30 pm.
The Schedule: (as it happened on opening night)
Bruce's first appearance: 7:42
Bright Eyes: 7:45 - 8:15
R.E.M.: 8:30 - 9:30
Springsteen/E Street Band/Forgerty: 10 - midnight
Bruce played MC as well as headliner, appearing on stage very shortly after the 7:30 ticketed start time with REM's Michael Stipe to greet the crowd. Bruce officially declared a "No BRUUUCE Zone," saying "I will come out and slap you silly. We have too much great music tonight. No BRUUUCING!" He also set out the overall mission of the night: to "fight for a government that is open, forward-looking, rational, and humane -- and we plan to rock the joint while doing so." Next, Bruce introduced opening act Bright Eyes as "someone whose record floored me when it came out."
After a solid 30-minute Bright Eyes set, Springsteen returned around 8:30 to introduce REM by saying that they had inspired him for the last 20 years. An hour later, Bruce came back out to share lead vocals with Stipe on the set-closing "Man on the Moon," having fun goofing on Elvis. Hey baby!
Just after 10:00, Bruce and the E Street Band took the stage for a two-hour set....
See our setlists page for the full performance report from this opening night, and beyond.
- Updated October 2, 2004 - Deb Carvalho Photo
IT'LL BE TONIGHT! Springsteen and the E Street Band's Vote for Change tour begins tonight in Philly. In the meantime, check out Tom Moon's preview in the Philadelphia Inquirer, and we'll make long-shot last request before hitting the road: Little Steven's "I Am a Patriot." We'll have a full report right here after tonight's show with setlist, times, and more. - October 1, 2004
R.I.P. SCOTT MUNI
New York radio legend Scott "Scottso" Muni died at 74 on September 28. An early champion of Springsteen's music, "The Professor" deejayed on WNEW from 1967 through 1998, and since then on Q104.
NEXT STOP, PHILADELPHIA After three days of closed rehearsals in Asbury Park -- where they were joined by John Fogerty today -- Bruce and the E Street Band have loaded out of Convention Hall and will roll on to Philadelphia for the tour opener, just two days away. No more spoilers here, but...
For reports from the Asbury Park rehearsals and recent Springsteen appearances, see our setlists page.
- September 29, 2004
COAST TO COAST WITH MR. AND MRS. S
After Patti's last show in L.A., it's rehearsal time in Asbury It was a Saturday Night Music Club at the Roxy in L.A., as Springsteen and Sheryl Crow joined Patti Scialfa for her tour-closer. The September 25 Los Angeles show made the trifecta for Mr. Scialfa, who joined Patti for the third time on her five-show tour for "As Long As I (Can Be With You)" and "Love (Stand Up)." A few songs prior, Crow was onstage for "City Boys."
Now back East, Springsteen began closed rehearsals today for the Vote for Change tour (just four days away!) with the rest of the E Street Band in Asbury Park. Getting the E Street machine back up to speed after nearly a year off the road, they ran through.... [spoiler alert: see our setlists page for rehearsal reports]. Any relation the rehearsals bear to what we hear on tour remains to be seen... if you won't be at the Philly concert on Friday, stay tuned to Backstreets.com, where we'll have the setlist, times, and other pertinent details after the show.
For reports from the latest Springsteen appearances, see our setlists page.
- September 27, 2004
VFC TOUR TV SPECIAL TO AIR ON SUNDANCE National Anthem will include live broadcast on 10/11 If you can't make the Vote For Change tour finale in Washington D.C., you'll still be able to catch some of the action on the small screen. Filmmakers Albert Maysles and DA Pennebaker are coming back together for a documentary of the tour to be broadcast that night on the Sundance Channel. Titled National Anthem: Inside the "Vote for Change" Concert Tour, the five-hour television special will include behind-the-scenes footage from the tour as well as live performances from that final D.C. show. The live footage will be directed by Joel Gallen, who produced and directed America: A Tribute to Heroes in 2002 as well as the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. National Anthem will air from 6:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. on Monday, October 11. - September 24, 2004
SPRINGSTEEN HITS THE SPEED LIMIT...
...turning 55 on September 23. Happy birthday, Bruce!
NEW SPRINGSTEEN INTERVIEW IN ROLLING STONE The October 14 issue of Rolling Stone features an Q&A with Bruce by Jann Wenner, in which Springsteen talks more about the upcoming Vote for Change tour, now just 9 days away. "I don't know if someone is going to run to the front of the stage and shout, 'I'm saved' or 'I'm switching,' but I'm going to try. I will be calling anyone in a bow tie to come to the front of the stage, and I'll see what I can do." Read it now online. - September 22, 2004
BOWERY BUMS: BRUCE JOINS PATTI IN NYC When Bruce joined Patti Scialfa's band onstage in Asbury Park last week, she warned the crowd that he wouldn't be at the next show in Boston. But she didn't say anything about shows after that.... Sure enough, when Patti's tour hit NYC last night after shows in Boston and Philly, Bruce was back onstage. Mr. Scialfa pitched in once again on guitar and backing vocals for "As Long As I (Can Be With You)" and "Love (Stand Up)" at the Bowery Ballroom. From there, Patti heads west: don't miss her appearance on The Tonight Show on Friday night (9/24), and on Ellen on Monday (9/27). See our concert calendar for the remainder of her itinerary.
For reports from other recent Springsteen appearances, see our setlists page.
- September 22, 2004
FOGERTY LIVE TONIGHT ON A&E If you're itching for an advance taste of the upcoming tour, catch one of Bruce's VFC bill-mates, John Fogerty, on tonight's A&E Live By Request, which airs live from New York at 10 p.m. Eastern. You can even make a song request at www.livebyrequest.com. - September 22, 2004
37 YEARS LATER, THE CASTILES GET RADIO PLAY
NPR features unearthed '67 Left Foot tape In September 1967, Episcopal priest Fred Coleman hired the Castiles (featuring 18-year-old Bruce Springsteen) to play two shows at the new Freehold, NJ teen center, the Left Foot. Not only that -- he taped the shows. This made news last month,when Coleman came across the reel-to-reel tapes in a closet. Now, fans everywhere have a chance to hear some of this early Springsteen performance, on the Thursday September 16 edition of NPR's "All Things Considered."The 16th, not so incidentally, is the 37th anniversary of the Castiles' opening performance at the Left Foot. The broadcast includes interviews with Coleman as well as Castiles George Theiss and Bob Alfano. And, of course, a first listen to these tapes that had been gathering dust for more than 30 years.
Listen online: The NPR website now has an extended version of the story, featuring three longer snippets from the Castiles recordings with Bruce on lead vocals: "Mr. Jones" (written by Springsteen and organist Alfano), plus covers of Donovan's "Catch the Wind" and Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne." You'll also find longer interviews with Alfano, Theiss, and Charles R. Cross. - Updated September 17, 2004
BRUCE STANDS UP AS PATTI'S TOUR GETS UNDERWAY Patti Scialfa and her band -- still featuring E Streeters Nils Lofgren and Soozie Tyrell -- began their five-city tour last night,with a show on the Asbury Park boardwalk that evenly mixed material from Rumble Doll and 23rd Street Lullaby.And an "only in Asbury Park" treat for the Paramount Theatre crowd: special guest Mr. Patti Scialfa. Springsteen shared a mic with Nils, playing a 12-string Telecaster on "As Long As I (Can Be With You)" and taking an extended lead on "Love (Stand Up)." Patti told the audience that they shouldn't go on the internet and say he'll be in Boston, because he won't. Bruce leaned into her mic and said, "I got kids to watch!" (Michael Brazinksi photo)
From there, Patti and her band will head to Boston, Philly, New York, and L.A., with a couple national TV appearances planned for the West coast stop. See our concert calendar for details, and check out a preview profile in the Boston Herald. - September 16, 2004
SIXTH & FINAL DATE ADDED, OCTOBER 11
It's official: Miami is out, DC is in, for VFC Tour closer After all signs had pointed to a Vote for Change Tour grand finale in Miami, Springsteen and the E Street Band will be heading north for an inside-the-beltway blowout instead. After performing on separate bills in early October, 13 of the Vote For Change artists will come together for one concert in Washington DC on October 11. Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard says: "We all wanted to come back together for a finale show after we had finished our separate tour dates. We thought our nation’s capitol seemed like the most ideal place to do that." That Monday at the MCI Center, Springsteen and the E Street Band, John Fogerty, and R.E.M. will hook up with Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Matthews Band, the Dixie Chicks, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Jurassic 5, Keb’ Mo’, and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds for a four-hour show.
Tickets for the finale go on sale to the general public this Saturday, September 18, at 10 a.m. Eastern via Ticketmaster, with a pre-sale on September 16 at 10 a.m. (as with previous shows, MoveOn has e-mailed pre-sale codes and details to randomly selected members of their mailing list). There are three price levels for the MCI Center tickets: $178, $98, and $78.
SAKES ALIVE, IT'S LIGHT OF DAY 5!
Three November nights plus a September preview For the fifth year in a row, Bob Benjamin is putting together a Light of Day benefit for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation in November. Back at the Stone Pony again this year, the benefit will stretch out over three nights, up from last year's two, for shows on November 5, 6, and 7. Springsteen has been a surprise guest four years running, and hopes will be high that he'll go five for five... though the three-night format makes it a real guessing game for the Bruce-watchers.
The official bill has yet to be announced, but it's likely that the Official Light of Day 5 Preview Show will be the perfect time for that -- on September 24, also at the Pony. This is the first year that Benjamin has offered a taste in advance, with a lineup featuring LOD regulars Boccigalupe & the Bad Boys, Joe D'Urso & Stone Caravan, Jennifer Glass, and Moxy featuring Dawne Allynne. Tickets are available now at the Stone Pony box office. - September 15, 2004
FALL RELEASE ROUNDUP Summer may not be officially over, but with Labor Day behind us, the first fall's frost isn't too far away.... time for a look at the season ahead. Of course, the Vote for Change tour is coming up fast, kicking off just three weeks from tonight! As for upcoming releases, the due date of Bruce's next record is anybody's guess, and for the first time in recent memory, there won't be an official Springsteen calendar for the new year. But there are still a few things for Bruce fans to look forward to between now and the holidays.
Due out shortly after the VFC tour is the Zevon tribute CD, Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon. The album will include Springsteen and the E Street Band's live version of "My Ride's Here," which opened the 9/10/03 Toronto show. An October 19 release from Artemis.
[Updated:] Also in October, "I Am a Patriot" by Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul will kick off Songs and Artists That Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11 (Epic/Sony), with Bruce's live cover of "Chimes of Freedom" as the second track. This isn't a soundtrack, obviously; according to the New York Times, the album presents a "a compilation of artists who [director Michael] Moore said provided motivation to him and his crew while they were making the film." Of "I am a Patriot," Moore writes: "That is how I feel. That is what we are. People who love our country and are trying to save it. This is a great anthem (and I love Jackson Browne's version of it also)." And of "Chimes of Freedom": "...What can I say? Bruce is THE man. I have had his music playing in all my work, starting with 'My Hometown' in Roger & Me. He is who we all aspire to be! He never broke faith. I have carried his Chimes of Freedom EP with me for years, an EP that not many have, and I am proud to include [the title track] here." Sony soundtrack exec Glen Brunman told the Times, "This is not a record about the next 55 or 56 days in America. These songs deal with issues that will be with us long after Nov. 2 no matter who's president." The album also includes Bob Dylan ("With God on Our Side"), Pearl Jam ("Masters of War" live), John Fogerty ("Fortunate Son" live), The Clash ("Know Your Rights"), Steve Earle ("The Revolurion Starts Now") and more. Half of the net profits of the album will benefit the Fallen Patriot Fund, a charity selected by Moore.
The first DVD release for Springsteen's In Concert: MTV Plugged is now set for election day, November 2. [9/30 Update: a new release date has just been announced, for a week later, on November 9.] The DVD will have the same content as the LaserDisc edition, the lengthiest prior release of this MTV performance. 19 tracks include the 16 songs originally broadcast on MTV, plus bonus tracks "Living Proof" and "If I Should Fall Behind" (previously available on the VHS version) and "Roll of the Dice" (previously available only on the LaserDisc). In Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround/PCM Stereo.
Also due in November is a book that "plunges into the heart of the American psyche from America's beginnings to Bruce Springsteen's 'Nebraska.'" The Rose & the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad, edited by Greil Marcus and Sean Wilentz, is a collection of commentaries on individual ballads from writers such as Joyce Carol Oates, R. Crumb, and Dave Marsh. A companion CD by the same name, featuring "Nebraska" among its 20 tracks, is planned for later this month, due September 28.
After previous issues focusing exclusively on Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain, and U2, Uncut Legends next turns its attention to Bruce for the fourth volume in this series of specials from Uncut in the UK. Uncut Legends: Bruce Springsteen is in the works now, expected in December.
Watch for all of these upcoming Boss items to be added to our online store as the weeks go by, and thanks for supporting Backstreets! - Updated September 30, 2004
SIXTH & FINAL DATE ADDED, OCTOBER 11
It's official: Miami is out, DC is in, for VFC Tour closer After all signs had pointed to a Vote for Change Tour grand finale in Miami, Springsteen and the E Street Band will be heading north for an inside-the-beltway blowout instead. After performing on separate bills in early October, 13 of the Vote For Change artists will come together for one concert in Washington DC on October 11. Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard says: "We all wanted to come back together for a finale show after we had finished our separate tour dates. We thought our nation’s capitol seemed like the most ideal place to do that." That Monday at the MCI Center, Springsteen and the E Street Band, John Fogerty, and R.E.M. will hook up with Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Matthews Band, the Dixie Chicks, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Jurassic 5, Keb’ Mo’, and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds for a four-hour show. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, September 18, at 10 a.m. Eastern.
"MY FRIEND SEAN PENN IS VERY COOL."
Springsteen honors Penn with 2004 Steinbeck Award Backstreets subscriber Matthew Koontz reports:
Sean Penn received the 2004 John Steinbeck Award on Friday at The San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts. Prior to the award presentation, Peter Coyote conducted an onstage interview with the actor. The talk was interrupted several times by loud applause as the audience seemed to appreciate the artist's passion for his craft and the state of the world today.
After the interview, San Jose State's acting president took over realm of the podium to express to a confession. "But I will not be presenting this award to Sean tonight... Instead, they arranged to fly in the first recipient of the Steinbeck Award..." At that point my girlfriend and I seemed to be the only ones in the audience who knew what was unfolding before our eyes as we "Bruuuced" the mystery presenter onto the stage. "All the way from New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen!"
Springsteen discussed Penn's coolness and authenticity and expressed his general admiration for the actor (despite the fact that Penn briefly dated Springsteen's sister). Penn more than returned the compliments, citing the Boss as "one of the most important creative inspirations in my life."
SPRINGSTEEN-A-GO-GO Bruce was one of several Friends of Steve to serve as an official host for Little Steven's International Underground Garage Festival on Saturday August 14, along with wiseguys James Gandolfini, Vinny Pastore, and Tony Sirico. He didn't play, but Springsteen was onstage to introduce the Chesterfield Kings and, appropriately enough, the Boss Martians.
In case you missed the rawk extravaganza (also including the New York Dolls, Iggy & the Stooges, and Backstreets faves The Mooney Suzuki), it's coming to the silver screen next year. A film is in the works, directed by Chris Columbus and planned for 2005 release. (This is in place of a showing originally scheduled for late this month at cinemas around the U.S.) - Updated August 30, 2004
THE GREAT BEYOND: POST-SALE UPDATE Philly sold out ridiculously fast, but there are still scattered seats available through Ticketmaster for Cleveland, Detroit, St. Paul, and Orlando. Otherwise, if you're looking for tickets, have tickets to sell or tickets to trade, check out our Backstreets Ticket Exchange. Be sure to post in the proper forum, and remember, BTX is a scalper-free zone, for fans helping fans. Any poster selling for more than face value will be banned from the boards.
John Fogerty has been officially reconfirmed for these shows, with a slight change to the wording of the bill, now listed as "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band/REM/Bright Eyes, with a special guest appearance by John Fogerty." - August 24, 2004
THE WAITING ROOM: VFC TOUR ON SALE 8/21 Springsteen's October "Vote For Change" shows will be going on sale this Saturday, August 21 -- see our Tour/Ticket Info page for specific details and rules.
Some further skinny on the shows, and a bad moon rising for John Fogerty fans: A source close to the Springsteen organization tells Backstreets that Fogerty, originally slated to play with the E Streeters at each event, is no longer on the bill. As it's shaping up now, look for Springsteen and the E Street Band to get about 90 minutes of stage time, R.E.M. about an hour, and Bright Eyes to open. (Bright Eyes will not be playing October 8 in Orlando.) Update: Easy come, easy go... easy come again? Word has it today that Fogerty may be back in. Our fingers are crossed, we'll just have to see what happens Up Around the Bend.
The October 3 Ann Arbor show has been moved to Detroit's Cobo Arena. Read more in the Ann Arbor News.
Pre-sale winners notified: Over 191,000 people registered at moveonpac.org for a chance at a pre-sale lotttery. Lottery winners, chosen at random, were informed by e-mail on Wednesday, August 18, for an August 19 pre-sale. If you registered for the pre-sale lottery, be sure to check your email! Lottery winners received an individual code that can only be used by one person, to buy up to four tickets (2 per show max) for the shows on October 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8. For those who didn't win the lottery (and pre-sale winners who want to try for additional tickets), the public sale for these shows begins on August 21.
A Miami recount: An October 10 finale Miami has been much discussed for weeks now, and it was even officially listed for a brief time on Moveonpac.org (prompting a news item here and from Billboard), but we seem to have some hanging chads. Move the October 10 Miami finale back into the "rumor" column for now, and we'll let you know if/when that changes.
Be sure to note: due to Federal election laws, those buying tickets must be at least 18 years of age and have U.S. citizenship. Good luck to all!
For the full schedule and additional onsale details, rules, and links, see our Tour/Ticket info page.
- Updated August 20, 2004
THIS WEEK ON E STREET While we wait for more ticket sale details for this fall's Vote for Change tour, don't forget life right now: some E Street Band members are busy chasing away the summertime blues. This weekend Little Steven caps his Underground Garage Battle of the Bands series with one serious mother of a show, the International Underground Garage Festival, August 14 on NY's Randall's Island. Dig just some of the lineup: Iggy & the Stooges, the Strokes, the New York Dolls, the Raveonettes, the Mooney Suzuki, Bo Diddley... and a whole lot more (including the winner of the nine-city Battle), for a day of non-stop garage rock from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are available now through Ticketmaster, or head to littlesteven.com for more info.
You can chat live with Patti Scialfa at MSN.com this Thursday, August 12 at 7 p.m. Eastern. Patti has also lined up shows for September (in Asbury Park, Boston, Philly, New York, and L.A.), with some tickets on sale already, and the rest going on sale this week. See our concert calendar for the scoop, as well as gigs this week from Clarence and Nils. - Updated August 11, 2004
"What's at the heart of it is still the same sort of questing after the country that you're carrying in your heart, the country that you want your kids to grow up in."
A few months back, there was a movement afoot to "Draft Bruce" for a proposed political concert that would go head-to-head with the GOP Convention. A statement from Springsteen's publicist read simply, "Bruce Springsteen will definitely not perform at any concerts tied to either the Republican or Democratic conventions." True -- but that wasn't to say that he didn't have plans of his own.
Back in the spring, a group of artists including Springsteen had begun to privately discuss how they could make a difference in the November election. The resulting Vote for Change coalition attracted a large roster of musicians that will be descending on swing states in October, pairing Springsteen and the E Street Band with R.E.M., John Fogerty, and Bright Eyes for five concerts from Philly to Florida (see further down this page for complete Vote for Change tour details).
On the Friday after the Democratic National Convention ended, Bruce Springsteen spoke with Backstreets by phone about the state of the nation, his motivations behind these concerts, misinterpretation of his songs, and how activism affects the artist/audience bond.
Backstreets: You've supported a lot of causes over the years, but as political and socially conscious as a lot of your work has been, this is the first time you've really weighed in on electoral politics. So I guess the big question is, why now?
Bruce Springsteen: Basically, this is probably the most important election of my lifetime. I think that the government has drifted too far from American values. After 9/11, I was like everybody else -- I supported going into Afghanistan, and I felt tremendous unity in the country that I don't think I've ever felt exactly like that before. It was a moment of great sadness, but also tremendous possibility. And I think that was dashed when we jumped headlong into the Iraq war, which I never understood, and I talked about that on the road. I never understood how or why we really ended up there. We offered up the lives of the best of our young people under circumstances that have been discredited. I had to live through that when I was young myself, and for any of us that lived through the Vietnam War, it was just very devastating.
Along with that, the deficits, the squeezing of services like the after-school services for the kids who need it the most, the big windfall tax cuts, the division of wealth that has threatened our connection to one another over the past 20 years that is increasing.... these are things that as the election time neared -- I couldn't really keep true to the ideas that I'd written about for 30 years without weighing in on this one.
I don't think I've seen anything like it before in my lifetime. I think that the freedoms that we've taken for granted -- I spoke about this on the road a little bit, too -- they are slowly being eroded. In the past I've gotten involved in a lot of grassroots organizations that sort of expressed my views, and where I thought I could be of some small help. I guess I’ve been doing that for about 20 years, and that was a way that I was very happy to work. I always believed that it was good for the artist to remain distant from the seat of power, to retain your independent voice, and that was the way I liked to conduct my work. But the stakes in this one are just too high. I felt like, given what I've written about, the things that I've wanted our band to stand for over the years, it's just too big a battle to lay out of.
Backstreets: A lot of great, unique artists are coming together for these shows -- R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Jurassic 5, Bonnie Raitt - so I'm guessing that even with the unity of at least one common goal, there will be some different viewpoints. How much expression of that do you think there will be? Will we get different perspectives from different artists?
Springsteen: I would imagine so -- as different as all the artists involved. I think we've all come together with one goal in mind, but I think everybody's idea of where it goes from there could very well be different. Myself, I like John Kerry a lot. I don't think he has all the answers, or that John Edwards has all the answers, but I think they have the experience, the life experience, and I think they have the sincerity to ask the hard questions about America and to try to search for honest solutions. I believe they're going to do that. And I don't feel that way about the guys who are in there right now. I feel that trust has been broken, and there's no going back.
Backstreets: What did you think of Kerry's speech [at the Democratic National Convention]?
Springsteen: I thought it was fantastic -- the best one I've heard him give.
Backstreets: And using "No Surrender" for his entrance music -- is that something the campaign clears with you in advance?
Springsteen: No -- somebody mentioned to me that they'd heard it at different rallies here and there, around the country... but it was a nice call.
Backstreets: You've focused a whole lot more on issues than labels or parties over the years -- whether that's Democrat, Republican, Independent, Reform, Green, or anything else. That has appeared to be a very conscious decision, so in this case was it just that things reached a tipping point?
Springsteen: Yeah, I would say. I mean, I grew up in a Democratic house. The only political discussion I ever remember in my house was when I came home from school when I was little -- I think someone asked me at school what we were, it must have been during an election season at some point, and I was probably around my son's age, eight or nine. And I came home and said, "Mom, what are we?" And she said, "Oh, we're Democrats. We're Democrats because they're for the working people." And that was it -- that was the political discussion that went on in my house over about 18 years.
So I've always held progressive beliefs, or liberal beliefs. I think that when I went to write -- you're shaped by your background, fundamentally, there's no getting around it. I lived in a household that was caught in the squeeze, endlessly trying to make ends meet. My mother running down to the finance company, borrowing money to have a Christmas, and then paying it back all year until the next Christmas and borrowing some more. So I know what that's like. This time out, there just wasn't really any way I could sit on the sidelines.
Backstreets: That makes me think about that "criticism" you always seem to get: how can a millionaire still write about blue collar concerns? Something similar gets leveled at Edwards: he's the son of a mill worker, and yet he turned into a millionaire lawyer, as if one negates the other. But clearly those formative experiences help shape how you see the world.
Springsteen: That criticism is also a tremendously muddled idea of how writers write. First of all, have you ever been to Mark Twain's house?
Backstreets: No, I never have.
Springsteen: It's really nice[laughs]. The room he wrote in is beautiful.
Backstreets: It wasn't a whitewashed shack with a bunch of frogs hopping around outside?
Springsteen: No, it's a really beautiful Victorian home. So it's been done before! [laughs]... It seems to me that particular criticism gets aimed at musicians rather than, say, filmmakers. Nobody complains that Marty Scorcese isn't actually in the Mafia. It always comes up -- I've settled into the fact that I'll be answering that question for the rest of my working life. But it's a muddled understanding of the way that things get written.
Backstreets: Well, I hear you've been writing up a storm these days.
Springsteen: People say that all the time. I wish that were true!
Backstreets: Just wondering if we should be looking for any new material on the tour, if you've written anything for it specifically?
Springsteen: I'm always trying... I don't have anything until I have it, you know? Actually, I took a lot of time off -- Patti was working on her record, and so I've been spending time with the kids, and I enjoyed watching her work. I'm always writing, I'm always trying to come up with something, but until I have it, I don't have it. So I can't predict.
Backstreets: You've said that "a writer writes to be understood." And there's been so much misinterpretation of your songs over the years, the obvious ones being "Born in the U.S.A." and "American Skin (41 Shots)." For the most part, you've let your songs do the talking, but I'm wondering, in addition to the changes these shows are trying to effect in the country, if you think this will give your audience more clarity as far as the meaning and intent of your writing?
Springsteen: I don't know, it's possible. Basically, I have faith in the songs. And I also surrender to the reality that once your songs are out there, that you're simply another voice in the ongoing discussion to define them. That's just the way it plays. And that's okay -- I think they're out there to be debated, some of them. It's funny with "American Skin," I do run into people who thoroughly believed the New York Post's interpretation of that piece of music! But I've also run into a lot of people who completely understood what I was trying to say. And that's the way that it goes. When those songs go out there, then you add your voice to the chorus of people fighting for their definition and what they stand for. I have an edge, because I've still got the guitar in my hand.
But it's possible -- it's not something I thought about, but it may.
Backstreets: In the past when you've felt the need to define something more clearly -- I'm thinking right now of "Empty Sky" at the  Atlantic City show, when you made it very clear what you intended "an eye for an eye" to mean -- what goes through your head when you decide to clarify things like that?
Springsteen: I have no compunction about stopping and telling someone what I mean. There's a moment to do that. And so, hey, I had the stage at the moment [laughs], and generally if I feel any sort of recurring misunderstanding that's occurred more than a few nights running, I'll say, "Okay, there's a few people...." Maybe there's 100, maybe there's ten. Maybe there's two. Maybe I'm just hearing the guy who's making the noise at that moment. But in the end, I am speaking to you. I'm speaking to you individually. And so I don't have a problem stopping at a particular moment and making clear my intentions. And now with the fabulous help of the Internet [laughs], those intentions are instantaneously around the world, and it helps clear things up even faster.
Backstreets: Well, hey, happy we could be of service!
Springsteen: Or muddle things even quicker, I suppose.... But when you have an audience the size of mine, that audience is broad. And when I spoke about the Iraq war during this past tour, before the truth came out, there were people who cheered, and there were people who booed. And that's the way it rolls. I tended to keep my comments down to approximately two minutes at the end of the night, which I felt was a pretty good balance to the three hours that we'd spent playing, you know?
I do believe that you serve at the behest of the audience. But, at the same time, I believe that my ideas and the beliefs that our band has stood for over the years are an integral part of our work, and we have a duty to make those ideas as clear as possible. To make our stand at different moments as clear as possible. I think that's part of what people look to us for, that's a part of what we have provided to a portion of our audience. And I think on any given night I'm playing to many of my audiences out there. There's the Tom Joad audience, there's the "Dancing in the Dark" audience, but hey, they're all there at that particular moment. So I look at it as a part of our process. You also figure, these are the times we're working in. And I think you've got to take your stand in them.
PART TWO Available now in the pages of Backstreets Magazine!
Read our complete interview with Springsteen in the new Summer/Fall 2004 issue of Backstreets: The Boss Magazine, out now! This issue, our 80th over 24 years, also features the Backstreets Interview with Patti Scialfa, our chats with Marah and Gary U.S. Bonds, an in-depth look at the Boss and the King to celebrate 50 years since Elvis Presley's first single -- all presented by Springsteen fans, for Springsteen fans. Subscribe now!
See our Tour/Ticket Info page for any and all updates on ticket sales for the tour.
- Updated August 11, 2004
"VOTE FOR CHANGE" IS GONNA COME: BRUCE & THE E STREET BAND TO KICK OFF MINI-TOUR OCTOBER 1
Tickets on sale August 21 for five-night mini-tour with R.E.M. and John Fogerty One year after the Rising tour's end, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be back on the road for a multi-artist tour with purpose, the likes of which Springsteen fans haven't seen since the 1988 Human Rights Now! Tour for Amnesty International. This time, the banner is Vote for Change, a "loose coalition of musicians brought together by a single idea -- the need to make a change in the direction of our country."
A month before the Presidential election, starting on October 1, Springsteen and the E Street Band will join a large group of fellow musicians to make their voices heard at concerts in swing states. The "Vote for Change" Tour is a multi-city, multi-artist tour that focuses on key electoral battleground states, bringing Springsteen and the E Streeters to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Florida. Sharing the bill at each stop will be R.E.M., John Fogerty, and Bright Eyes. Click here for the full itinerary.
Springsteen talked to Backstreets editor Chris Phillips while gearing up for the tour announcement: "I always believed that it was good for the artist to remain distant from the seat of power, to retain your independent voice, and that was just the way I liked to conduct my work. But the stakes in this one are just too high. I felt like, given what I've written about, the things that I've wanted our band to stand for over the years, it's just too big a battle to lay out of."
Also playing Vote For Change concerts at the same time (hitting other cities in the same states, as well as Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri): Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie, Dixie Chicks, James Taylor, Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper, Jurassic 5, My Morning Jacket, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Keb' Mo', Babyface, John Mellencamp, and more. In all, there will be roughly 34 shows in 28 cities in just over a week.
A statement from the coalition lays out their mission in clear terms: "We share a belief that this is the most important election of our lifetime. We are fighting for a government that is open, rational, just and progressive. And we intend to be heard. We plan to do something never done before -- to concentrate our energies in the states where the election is expected to be closest. We hope this commitment of time and effort by so many artists and our willingness to take our energy to so many parts of the country will help inspire our fellow citizens to take a hard look at what is at stake in this election, at the federal, state, and local level, and to get involved in trying to move our country in a truly compassionate and humane direction ... Most importantly, we wish to communicate our concerns to our fellow citizens and join with them in the effort to change the direction of our government towards one that will make our country as great as it can be."
Tickets: All Vote for Change concert tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster on August 21. For Springsteen's itinerary, as well as additional ticket sale information as soon as it's available, see our Tour/Ticket Info page. And of course, we'll be following the tour blow-by-blow on our setlists page.
Press: In conjunction with the tour announcement, Springsteen will appear on the August 4 edition of ABC's Nightline, interviewed by Ted Koppel, at 11:35 Eastern. For more related press as it comes in, check our "Out on the Wire" column at right. - August 4, 2004
THE ESSENTIAL INTERVIEWS From Backstreets editor Chris Phillips and Runaway Dream author Lou Masur, TALK ABOUT A DREAM is in stock now
Backstreet Records is the mailorder division of Backstreets, delivering Bruce Springsteen merchandise to fans for over 20 years. We carry numerous collectibles, tour shirts, books, fanzines, and imported CDs and records. The world's best selection of Springsteen collectibles, all available by mail.
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For more information on upcoming shows such as these, check out our Concert Calendar.
Many from the Springsteen community banded together to preserve this Asbury Park landmark.... and Tillie has now been saved!
Check our Save Tillie page for the latest developments.
THE SPRINGSTEEN SPECIAL COLLECTION
Organized by Backstreets in 2001, this storehouse of Boss books and magazines is the largest such collection outside of Bruce's mother's basement. Thanks to the generosity of fans around the world, total holdings are now well over 11,000. But the collection is by no means complete.