Article 2008-10-04 Philadelphia, PA

Bruce Springsteen Inspires Voters With Passionate Acoustic Set at Philadelphia Rally

On Saturday, Bruce Springsteen kicked off three days of Vote For Change concerts on behalf of Barack Obama with a powerful acoustic set that drew estimated 50,000 to the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. Cutting a distinctly Woody Guthriesque profile in rolled up flannel, denim and tousled hair, Springsteen stood atop a 30 foot high stage emblazoned with the word “CHANGE” and belted out a seven-song, 45 minute acoustic set as a gift for Obama volunteers and a catalyst for the disengaged to register to vote. Plenty of people heard the call — according to the Obama campaign, some 21,000 new voters were registered as a result of the event.

“I’m not Barack Obama, but I’ll do my best,” said Springsteen, before wheezing his harmonica like an angry freight train launching into a tense, jingle-jangle reading of “The Promised Land,” his 1978 affirmation of faith in the ideal American in a time of dwindling opportunity and diminished expectations.

Four songs later — including a like-minded “The Ghost Of Tom Joad,” the obligatory “Thunder Road” and the rarely-heard “Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?” — Bruce spoke humbly about why he believes in Barack Obama. “I’ve spent most of my creative life measuring the distance between that American promise and American reality. The distance between that promise and that reality has never been greater or more painful. I believe Senator Obama has taken the measure of that distance in his own life and in his work. I believe as president, he would work to restore that promise to so many of our fellow citizens who have justifiably lost faith in its meaning.”

After a mournful rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” Springsteen sent the people back out onto the streets with marching orders to take their country back from “those who who would sell it down the river for a quick buck.”

By Jonathan Valania via Rolling Stone.

Springsteen for Obama

The big draw for a crowd of nearly 50,000 at a get-out-the-vote rally in Philadelphia on Saturday was not Senator Barack Obama, whose campaign was sponsoring the rally, but Bruce Springsteen. The Boss performed a free, 40-minute set on Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 20th and 22nd Streets in Center City. Mr. Springsteen likened the country to a house that needs rebuilding: “I don’t know about you, but I want my house back — I want my America back, and I want my country back,” he told the crowd before playing “The Rising,” a song inspired by 9/11. Mr. Springsteen continued his three-day swing for Mr. Obama with a concert at Ohio State University in Columbus on Sunday and is scheduled to perform at Oestrike Stadium in Ypsilanti, Mich., on Monday afternoon.

By Steven McElroy via The New York Times.
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