Kerry on!

New York Daily News, 2004-10-02, by: Jim Farber
Bruce rocks vote in Pa.
They were rockin' in the swing state last night.
Bruce Springsteen and a host of other big-name stars took the stage in Pennsylvania in the first of a series of concerts aimed at steering voters toward John Kerry.

At the largest of five shows held across the key Keystone State last night, The Boss headlined Philadelphia's Wachovia Arena on a bill with John Fogerty, R.E.M. and the alternative rocker Bright Eyes.

"Thank you for raising your voice for change in our country," Springsteen told the audience of 18,000 before the music began.

"We're here to fight for a government that's open, rational, forward-looking and humane. And we plan to rock the joint while we're doing it."

Outside the concert, the scene felt more like a normal Springsteen concert than a political rally. Fans, most of them white, with an accent on males in their 30s and 40s, sported Bruce T-shirts while they blasted songs like "Born in the U.S.A." Kerry stickers were a rare sight, and most of those belonged to concert organizers.

"I'm here for the music - but the politics is a nice twist," said Abbey Sullivan, 24, of Scranton, Pa. Her father, 53-year-old Dan Sullivan, added, "He [Bruce] is playing to the choir."

Beth McCullough, 36, of Northeast Philly, said she came for the songs and the sentiment. "I'm a fan, but I'm glad that the concert may make people more aware of the vote," she said. Other fans were more aggressive. Barbara Devico, of Edison, N.J., sported a T-shirt saying "A village in Texas has lost its idiot," referring to the President.

Devico felt the show could be politically effective. "Even if just 500 people who are on the fence get swayed by the show to go out and vote, it could make a difference," she said. More than 20 star acts have signed on for these "Vote for Change" shows, set to hit eight hotly contested states over the next eight days, including North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. Plans for shows in Florida were in the works.

Each night, different lineups play various cities. Pennsylvania also had shows from The Dixie Chicks and James Taylor in Pittsburgh, Pearl Jam in Reading, John Mellencamp in Wilkes-Barre and the Dave Matthews Band at Bryce Jordan State College.

In Philly, the alterna-folk-rock act Bright Eyes opened, followed by R.E.M., then The Boss, who brought out '60s rocker John Fogarty.

Bringing home their message, Springsteen said, "We remain a land of promise, but it's time to move America toward the fulfillment of it's promise," before launching into his closing song, "Born to Run."



2004-10-01 Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA