Article 2007-09-28 New York City, NY

Bruce Springsteen Performs Longest Ever “Today” Concert

Today show live concerts normally air between 8:30 and 9:00 AM, but this morning Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band broke the rules and played the show’s longest-ever set. “I can count on one hand the number of acts we would seek this for,” Today executive producer Jim Bell tells Rock Daily. “[Springsteen] is known for playing longer than scheduled, so we were prepared. He was supposed to play about four songs and he played seven.” The final set list was a mix of classics and new cuts from Magic: “The Promised Land,” “Radio Nowhere,” “Livin’ in the Future,” “My Hometown,” “Night,” “Last to Die” and “Long Walk Home.” Bell says this morning’s crowd ranks among the show’s largest, extending onto the plaza of 30 Rockefeller Center and including two women who arrived yesterday morning from Ohio to claim their front-row spot (giant screens were set up so everyone had a decent view). “Bruce had the Magic this morning, and we’ve had a lot of great feedback coming in from all quarters from people saying how special was,” Bell quips. After the show was over, Springsteen and Co. packed up and headed back to New Jersey, where tonight they’ll play the final of three benefit warm-up gigs for their fall tour.

By Erica Futterman via Rolling Stone.

Springsteen to Russert: Tiimmmmmmmm

At 8:50 this morning, Bruce Springsteen was telling the big crowd that had gathered on Rockefeller Plaza to watch him perform on the “Today’’ program about the things that he loves about America.

His list included cheeseburgers, “the Jersey shore,’’ “the Yankees battling Boston’’ and “trans fats.’’ But then there was also this: “Tim Russert’s haircut.’’

As luck would have it, and as Mr. Springsteen well knew, Mr. Russert was in the audience, watching just a few feet from the stage. An hour and a half earlier, Matt Lauer, the co-host of “Today,’’ had interviewed Mr. Russert live in the “Today’’ studio during a segment about Thursday night’s sparsely attended Republican primary debate, which was held at Morgan State University, an historically black college.

During that interview, Mr. Lauer could not resist ribbing Mr. Russert, who is based in Washington, D.C., for showing up in person “to talk about this subject – or was it Bruce Springsteen?’’ (Tavis Smiley, who was also interviewed in the segment, appeared via remote hook-up from Baltimore.)

“I’m just an opening act for the Boss today,’’ Mr. Russert said.

As it turned out, Mr. Springsteen’s list – which likened the way “we love all those things’’ to “the way the womenfolk love old Matt Lauer’’ – was something of a diversion. Continuing his introduction to a new song called “Living in the Future’’ – which, he explained, is actually about “what’s happening right now’’ – Mr. Springsteen began to itemize those things about modern-day America that give him great pause.

“Over the past six years we’ve had to add to the American picture,’’ he said, “rendition, illegal wire tapping, voter suppression, no habeas corpus, the neglect of our great city of New Orleans and her people, an attack on the Constitution, and the loss of our best young men and women in a tragic war.’’

“This is a song,’’ he said, in a monologue over Max Weinberg’s somber drumbeat and Roy Bittan’s soft, electric piano, “about things that shouldn’t happen here, happening here.’’

The crowd, which stretched from 48th Street to 49th Street, cheered.

By Jacques Steinberg via The New York Times.
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