2004-10-05, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN

Vote For Change
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"Bad Day" and "Man on the Moon" is Bruce guesting with REM during their set.

Neil Young joins Bruce on "Souls of the Departed", "All Along the Watchtower" and "Rockin' in the Free World".

Eyewitness accounts

Were you there? Write about it!
Catrinka wrote: The concert last night in St. Paul was perhaps the best concert I have ever attended. Aproximately 5 hours of excellent music, and the suprise visit from Neil Young made the night even more special.

Bruce and the E-Street Band were unforgettable, as was REM and John Fogarty. It was also fun to see Bright Eyes, a new artist I had never heard of. The concert ended on the ultimate high note with all band members jamming together.
Fantastic evening. I'm still glowing.

Joe Jenkins wrote: I saw the concert of a lifetime Tuesday night in Saint Paul. The Vote For Change Tour billed as Bright Eyes, REM, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and special appearance by John Fogerty. The show started at 7:00 at the still new and modern Xcel Energy Center. Mark and Sherri and I sat in the 4th row of the upper deck about half way back from the stage. Bruce played Master of Ceremonies and came out about 7:15 to say a few words of support for Senator Kerry and remember to register to vote but that mainly we are just going to rock! Bright Eyes started the night?s rocking and featured an intense young Dylanesque type singer. They played about 30 minutes. After a quick equipment change REM came out and opened with ?The One I Love.? I have never seen REM in concert before. Stupid me, they sounded razor sharp and played about an hour. Some of the songs I remember were What?s the Frequency Kenneth, Begin the Begin and World Leader Pretend. Michael Stipe, dressed all in white, was doing his spaz dancing all over the stage. About half way through their set Stipe says they have a guest and out walks NEIL F***ING YOUING! Neil played lead guitar on ?Country Feedback? and then left the stage. I figured we would see him again before the night was over. Bruce joined REM for ?Man on the Moon.? Stipe and Springsteen traded lead vocals on each verse. Sounded great.

Time for Springsteen?s set. Bruce came out with a single spotlight and played an instrumental ?The Star Spangled Banner? on acoustic 12 string. Beautiful. After that Bruce and the band launched into a hard rocking Born in the USA, Badlands, No Surrender and Lonesome Day with out hardly taking a breath between songs. Bruce had already sweated thru his shirt by this time. After a pretty version of ?The River? that featured Suzi?s violin, Bruce asked the crowd if they have ?seen any Canadians for Kerry, I know I saw at least one around here.? Out walks Neil Young. First they played Bruce?s ?Souls of the Departed? with Bruce and Neil jamming with some intense guitar solos. Next up was a scorching ?All Along the Watchtower? with Bruce and Neil both singing and again wailing on guitars. Neil departs again and Bruce and band play a full band rockabilly version of ?Johnny 99.? Gary Talent played acoustic upright bass on that one.

Bruce then introduces John Fogerty, calling him ?our generations Hank Williams.? John comes out to join the E St Band. Fogerty says, ?I have a final score, Twins 2 Yankees 0? to thunderous applause. John sings Centerfield, D?j? vu, and blistering E Street version of ?Fortunate Son.? John remains on stage and sings with Bruce on ?The Promised Land.? Really cool hearing Fogerty take lead vocal on a Bruce song! Fogerty leaves the stage and Bruce plays a ?The Rising, Because the Night (with Michael Stipe on lead vocal!), and Mary?s Place. Mike Mills and Peter Buck join Bruce and the band for ?Born to Run.?

Can it get any better? Yes it can! Fogerty returns to the stage and he and Bruce trade lead vocals on ?Proud Mary.? After that Neil comes back out and him Bruce play one you just knew was coming ? ?Rockin? in the Free World.? And man it did rock! Neil stays on stage, Fogerty, Pegi Young, and all members of REM and the singer from Bright Eyes come on stage. There were about 20+ musicians on stage! Everyone on stage to finish the night off with a rockin? version of Elvis Costello?s ?What?s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding? and Patti Smith?s ?People Got the Power.?

What a concert! I was drained. It was a four hour concert after an 8 hour drive that day! Plus I didn?t get a lot of sleep Monday night because of staying up watching the Chiefs kick Baltimore?s butt. Drove back Wednesday. It was worth every penny and every minute of lost sleep. I never dreamed I would see Bruce, Fogerty and Neil Young on the same stage on the same night.

BT wrote: At 7:25 Bruce introduced a guy named Bright Eyes, who played for 35 minutes. He was well received. Very young, kind of acoustic rock, a lot of profound lyrics, anger over this, despair over that. Hair in the eyes, ok band. Probably gets laid a lot.

At 8:25 REM came on to a very enthusiastic welcome. They were also introduced by Bruce. Pretty loud. They played for an hour. Neil Young came out and played one song with them.. I do not know this band at all. They were into it, and had a lot of energy. The front man (REM?), is an INCREDIBLE double for John Malkovitch. It was weird.

30 minute break. Bruce and the band came on at 9:55. Bruce started with a loud 12 string acoustic version of the Star Spangled Banner, and then the band went right into Born in the USA, and then right into Badlands. All this took probably 25 minutes. No screwing around. The night could have ended then. It was riveting. Then, also without any break they went into No Surrender, and finally calmed down and did Lonesome Day (not one of my favorites) The River followed that, and then (this is the song list per Greasy Lake) Souls of the Departed, and then Neil Young came out and they did an incredible, REALLY LOUD, long, All Along the Watchtower. My life and evening were complete at that point. Johnny 99 followed (if I've heard this live I don't remember it) and then Bruce introduced John Fogarty who started by yelling "This just in: Minn Twins 2-NY Yankees NOTHING", and then they did Centerfield to a totally nuts crowd. (Those who cared-and there were a lot of people from out of town(the show did not sell out until that afternoon)who did not care, really made noise).

Fogarty did a pretty tasteless plug for his latest album and then they did Deja Vu, which is currently playing on FM (the closest thing to a protest song Clear Channel will allow, apparently), and they ended with a loud and great version of Fortunate Son.

Bruce followed with The Promised Land (always one of his best), The Rising, Because the Night (with the REM guy, I think), and a long pretty good version of Mary's Place to ostensibly end the set. Mary's Place is not a great song to me, but it was well done and received.

At that point some people not versed started to leave, but he had not played Born to Run and I just could not imagine that not occurring. He gave his little political talk (which was well stated and brief) , and changed to what I think was the guitar he had on the cover of the album. And they just flew into it. The building really moved. It shook.

Proud Mary followed, which I could live without (I think the stage started to fill up at that point), and the last three songs were: Rocking in the Free World, What's So Funny about Peace/Love/Understanding, and People Have the Power.

The whole set was about 2 hours or perhaps 2:15. Very tight, and the pure Bruce songs along with Watchtower were as good a group as I have experienced.

A funny thing in the middle of The River. Our seats were right inside the arena, and in the middle of the song the game finished. It was on a huge screen not far from us with perhaps 500 people watching. So a pretty big roar went up when the game ended. They could hear it throughout the arena, or at least all through our area. Pretty funny.

All in all, totally worth the effort. The political undertone added a degree of seriousness to the event, making the song selection much more meaningful. Since this was pretty much total preaching to the choir, there was very little proselytizing.

Mike Mosiman wrote: Well, this one was fun. Bruce really seemed to enjoy his role as emcee. He had a smile on his face all night and you can tell her really enjoys sharing the stage with the other artists. There was certainly a political tone to the evening (in the speeches as well as the song selections), but the music always took center stage. Bright Eyes was intense and he commanded the attention of those that showed in time to see him. I was never a big Stipe/REM fan, but they did a great job. Rubberband man Stipe was a hoot to watch. Fun to see Bruce play on those REM songs. The main event went on at 9:50. Great set overall. A lot of the songs were abbreviated versions (no ending guitar solo in BUSA, no reprise ending in Badlands that became the staple during the Reunion Tour) due to time contraints I'm sure. Highlights included a very intense All Along the Watchtower, a kind of rockabilly Johnny 99, and Because the Night (with the lights on) was superb. It was also a real treat to hear Bruce play Souls of the Departed with Neil and his feedback loaded guitar. Fogerty is awesome. He was having a great time. I love the baseball bat guitar he used for Centerfield. The set list was perfect for the mood of the evening. No Surrender, Badlands, BUSA, Johnny 99, Souls of the Departed, etc. all hit home to those that know the words. I saw FOR YOU on the set list (through my binocs), but The River was played in its place. They finally closed it up at midnight. I'm ready for the next tour. I never get tired of watching this guy play.

Peggy Hannan wrote: Bought 2 GA's below face on ebay can u believe! Totally ROCKING SHOW! So what if my rents due! N Young and Bruce trading guitar licks was surreal and sonic with no trace of feedback. That arena has very good sound. Much better then the Staples center.

David La Vaque wrote: For whatever reason, several people along the sides in the lower deck (where I was) took their seats for Souls of the Departed and stayed there when Neil Young started playing All Along the Watchtower. My wife included. They didn't stay seated for long. In one of those I'd-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it moments, everyone rose -- actually pulled -- from their chairs watching Neil and Bruce square off during the solo. It was really the moment only two legends like that can pull off. Incredible amount of musical force.


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