In politics, Bruce rocks the boat

Philadelphia Daily News, 2004-10-02, by: Regina Medina
JERSEY rocker Bruce Springsteen tried to impose a little rule last night before he performed at the Wachovia Center in South Philadelphia.

"Tonight, it's official. No Brucing. I will come out and slap you silly," he said, referring to the "Bruuuuuuce" chants fans sing out in his presence. A few minutes later, he repeated his order. "Don't Bruce or you die!!"

C'mon Bruce. This is Philly.

In a nanosecond, many crowd members defied The Boss and sung out

"Bruuuuuuce." But the fans and Springsteen could agree on the cause that brought everyone under one roof last night - the ouster of President Bush.

The politically-charged "Vote for Change" concert - featuring various artists - was held in six cities around Pennsylvania, kicking off a 33-city, 11-swing state tour aimed at changing the country's elected politicos at the federal, state and local levels.

Again, this is Philly. We know you mean Bush.

Springsteen, dressed in a black T-shirt and showing off his pecs was joined onstage by R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe, who donned a white suit and shirt.

Calling Pennsylvania "an important state in this election," Stipe said it "is a very important moment for each and everyone of us and for our country."

The crowd, many wearing "Kerry-Edwards" or anti-Bush slogans on their T-shirts, cheered at every statement.

"We're here tonight to fight for a government that is open, rational, forward-looking and humane. We're glad to rock the joint while we're doing it," Springsteen said, revving up the audience even more.

The music fans had another chuckle later on when Bright Eyes guitar player Conor Oberst told the crowd, "You have to go out and f---in' vote so we don't have this madman running the country anymore."

Before the concert, many fans arrived early to chill out in the parking lot. They played Springsteen tunes and drank a few cold brews.

Rae Barnes, 41, a nurse from Ridley Park, Delaware County, sat in back of her Ford Escapade with fiance Brian Powers, 41. The pro-Kerry and pro-Joe Hoeffel placards in the SUV's front windshield gave away their party affiliation.

"We really are interested in seeing a Democrat in the presidency," she said.

Added Powers: "Kerry represents the working man more than President Bush, who cares about the wealthy part of society."

Dari Tumolo, 38, of Brookhaven, Delaware County, waited on line inside for a sausage and pepper sub.

"I agree with Bruce Springsteen and the other bands to vote for change," said Tumolo, who works at Direct Paint and Collision body shop in Havertown.

Three University of Pennsylvania law students wore some creative tank tops to the concert. "John Edwards is Hot" was emblazoned across their chests.

"He's hot, he's firey, he's up and coming in Congress and he's really good-looking," said Kirsten White, 27, a first-year law student.

Her colleague, Paige Fleming, 24, simply said, "His message is hot."

Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the National Democratic Committee, also attended

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2004-10-01 Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA