Bruce Springsteen once again took to the stage in support of President Obama. "The Boss" made two appearances stumping for the President, kicking off his day on Thursday (October 18th) appearing with President Bill Clinton at a "Get Out The Vote" event in Parma, Ohio at Cuyahoga Community College, before going on to address the crowd in Ames, Iowa at the Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University. Springsteen and the E Street Band kicks off their fall leg tonight (October 19th) at Ottawa, Ontario's Scotiabank Place. On Wednesday (October 17th), Springsteen posted an open letter to fans, titled, "A Message From Bruce" which spelled out why he was once again supporting Obama.
Rolling Stone reported that following a speech by President Clinton, Springsteen took the stage and joked: "I get to speak after President Clinton. That's like going on after Elvis (Presley). I was frantically calling the E Street Band backstage saying, 'Quick, I need backup. I need backup. Human speech has been monopolized.' If I had brought the saxophone, you would have seen a real jam up here." In all, he performed seven songs in Ohio -- "No Surrender," "The Promised Land," a comical new election song called "Forward," "Youngstown" -- which featured updated lyrics about Iraq and Afghanistan, "We Take Care of Our Own," Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," and "Thunder Road." "Forward" -- which is the Obama campaign slogan, featured such lighthearted jabs at the candidates as, "Smiling Joe really brought the drama/ Tuesday Romney was schooled by Obama."
Springsteen's setlist in Ames, Iowa was nearly identical, but included "The River" instead of "Youngstown."
While softly strumming his guitar while reading a prepared speech he had propped on a music stand, he spoke plainly about what he feels is at stake in this election. Springsteen stated: "Voting matters. Elections matter. Think of the events over the last 12 years and try to convince yourself they don't. We get an individual hand in shaping the kind of America our kids get to grow up in. I have three kids. I'm 63, and I've lived through some galvanizing moments in American history: the civil rights struggle, the peace movement, times when you could feel the world shifting under your feet. I remember President Obama's election night was an evening when you could feel the locked doors of the past finally being opened to new possibilities."
Springsteen went on to say, "The world is brutally resistant to change. The forces of opposition have been tireless. But I came here to say that I'm thankful for universal health care, the lack of which was for so long an embarrassment to our country. I'm thankful for a more regulated Wall Street. I'm thankful GM is still making cars. What else would I write about? I'd have no job without that!"
He went on to talk about some of the key differences between the candidates: "I'm here today because I'm concerned about women's rights. I don't have to tell you the danger to Roe vs. Wade under our opponents' policies. But I'm here today because I'm very concerned about the continuing disparity in wealth between our best-off citizens and our everyday citizens. That's a disparity that I believe our honorable opponents policies will only increase, and that threatens to divide us into two distinct and foreign nations."
Springsteen closed by saying, "I believe he's got the strength, the commitment, and the vision to live these days with us, and to carry the standard forward toward a country where, as I've written, 'nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone.' Thank you, Ohio. Let's elect President Obama for four more years!"
As with some of his other songs -- most notably 1984's "Born In The U.S.A" -- the lyrics to "We Take Care Of Our Own" may read like a "love it or leave it"-styled nationalistic anthem, but a closer look at the words shows Springsteen delving a bit deeper into the modern American experience. Springsteen recalled how in the 1980's, "Born In The U.S.A." was almost co-opted by the precise people it was slamming: "I feel that I'm patriotic -- I'm not jingoistic. I felt that I had as much right to claim my own flag and my own country as Ronald Reagan -- whose views I disagreed with tremendously. Y'know, the Republicans were taking everything American and tried to make it theirs, y'know -- including me!"
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band tour dates (subject to change):
October 21 - Hamilton, ON - Copps Coliseum
October 23 - Charlottesville, VA - John Paul Jones Arena
October 25 - Hartford, CT - XL Center
October 27 - Pittsburgh, PA - CONSOL Energy Center
October 30 - Rochester, NY - Blue Cross Arena
November 1 - State College, PA - Bryce Jordan Center
November 3 - Louisville, KY - KFC Yum! Center
November 11, 12 - St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center
November 15 - Omaha, NE - CenturyLink Arena
November 17 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
November 19 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
November 26 - Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena
November 28 - Portland, OR - The Rose Garden
November 30 - Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena
December 4 - Anaheim, CA - Honda Center
December 6 - Glendale, AZ - Jobing.com Arena