Measuring the distance
COLUMBUS, Ohio-- Legendary rocker Bruce Springsteen put on a blistering two-hour and 30-minute show here Monday night that had most of the crowd on its feet for the entire performance.
The tight set from Springsteen and his E Street Band meant there was little time for Springsteen to do other thing he does best: talk about the state of the nation.
That was fine with one concert-goer here in the moderate Midwest: "He's liberal, he's big into unions and all that," he told his companion before the show began. "I hope he keeps politics out of it tonight."
That was it! Bruuuuuce!
One of the few artists who has never been afraid to wear his political heart on his sleeve; Bruce Springsteen has been invoked by such disparate political contenders such as John Kerry and Ronald Reagan (At a campaign stop in Hammonton, New Jersey, Reagan said, "America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts. It rests in the message of hope in songs of a man so many young Americans admire, New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen." The Reagan campaign briefly used "Born in the U.S.A.", an anti-Vietnam War song, as a campaign song, without permission, until Springsteen, a lifelong Democrat, insisted that they stop.)
He was a huge supporter of John Kerry's in the last election, but had been mum so far as to which candidate he was supporting this time around. Until now.
The article went on to quote Bruce:
In the current race, "there are two really good Democratic candidates for president. I admire and respect them both enough to wait and see what happens."
He did, however, express admiration for Obama, saying: "I always look at my work as trying to measure the distance between American promise and American reality. And I think (Obama's) inspired a lot of people with that idea: How do you make that distance shorter? How do we create a more humane society? We've lived through such ugly times that people want to have a romance with the idea of America again, and I think they need to.
"The hard realities and how things get done are important, too, but if you can effectively convince people that it's possible to make things better, they get excited," the 58-year old singer-songwriter said.
Obama, for his part, has mentioned Springsteen as the person he would most like to meet. So, is it possible that Bruce could pull a Bill Richardson and throw a high-profile endorsement Obama's way as Obama's supporters seek to put pressure on Clinton to drop from the race for the good of the party?
The only hint Springsteen gave was after "Livin' in the Future." Taking a page from a famous 60s folk song, he shouted, "There's a new wind blowing!"
Then, he launched into the redemptive anthem "The Promised Land," which includes lyrics such as:
There's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I'm
heading straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain't got the faith to stand its ground
Blow away the dreams that
tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the
lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted
The dogs on main street howl,
'cause they understand,
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister, I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man,
And I believe in a promised land
I believe in a promised land...
Well all right then -- that was your Valley Doll Rock Report for the Day!