2004-10-13, Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, NJ

Vote For Change
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Notes

"As Long As I (Can Be With You)" and "Love (Stand Up)" is Bruce guesting during Patti Scialfa's set. "Running on Empty" is Bruce guesting with Jackson Browne.

Eddie Vedder guests on "No Surrender", "Darkness" and "Better Man".

Jackson Browne guests on "Racing in the Street".

Eyewitness accounts

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Brian wrote: Patti was still sound-checking when we got in there, Bruce was there watching.She came out about 7:50, played about 45 minutes or so. I thought she was pretty good and really hot! Bruce came out and did the last two songs with her. She opened with Rumble Doll, which I always liked. Kind of neat seeing him be a member of her band. He really didn't allow the spotlight to be on him. Bruce was supposed to introduce her, but the band came out and just started playing, he did his introduction, etc, after the fact.

It seemed to take a while for Jackson to come out. When he did, I wasn't that into his early set, although it did include Fountain of Sorrow. But I had the same complaint about him as I did with REM, that they should have done stuff that more people were familiar with. Including the opening number, Jackson did 3-4 songs I didn't know, and they weren't that upbeat either. The set got better when he did Lives in the Balance and For America, which I hadn't heard him play in awhile. And I am a Patriot with Steve was cool, but a little rough. Running on Empty with Bruce was great, though. (Bruce screwed up the line '69 I was 21, he sang '65 I was 21) oh well.

Bruce's opening was similar to Philly, then Eddie Vedder came out, and I think of all of the guest spots, he did his the best. He really knew the stuff, and was dead on. I'm not necessarily a big Pearl Jam fan, but Betterman was awesome. Clarence, Bruce and Eddie all jamming at the end. Apparently, Clarence has some hip problem, which keeps him from standing for a long time, and he needs help getting up and down the steps. But when he did play he was good. His days on the road are numbered, I suspect. No Lost in the Flood, however.

Racing in the Streets with Jackson was pretty awesome too, The harmonies they did together were just chilling. The rest was similar to Philly, (but no Youngstown) Mary's Place rocked as always and was a little more elongated, with Bruce talking about how he had read the papers and saw that in New Jersey the race was getting tight, and him going off on that, then said he needed to get to the Meadowlands to straighten things out. (interesitng that he called it the Meadowlands, and not the Continental Airlines Arena). No guests on Born to Run. For the encores, they did 3 CCR songs instead of just one.

The tradeoffs on vocals for What's so funny.... and People have the Power were done well. People have the Power was particularly strong, with Eddie Vedder and Bruce just wailing during an extended jam, and they sort of ended and then started again, with the audience picking up on it and reprising the earlier pre-planned audience participation. (I was wondering if Patti Smith would show up, since she is from NJ).

Had I not seen the Philly show, this would have been the better show, however the element of surprise had a way of making the PHilly show more exciting. Also the Philly show had more of a feel for the whole purpose of the show, where as this was a bit more casual (and disorganized) in some regards.

Maureen Shames wrote: Awe-inspiring is the best descriptive of the rockin? Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band at The Concert for Change on October 13.

Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band were the last act to appear on stage at the Continental Arena. They brought the entire stadium out of their seats, dancing, clapping and singing starting with a rousing ?Badlands.? ?Poor man want to be rich, rich man want to be king, and a king ain?t satisfied ?till he rules everything. I want to go out tonight, I want to find out what I?ve got.?

Yes, the audience found out what Bruce has got. He is the boss because he is committed to an unbelievable quality in his music, lyrics, and showmanship. Every jam, every lyric is punctuated by an energetic move. His delivery envelopes the atmosphere, and we breathe it in, intoxicated. This description applies to every song he did, including the climactic songs - ?Born to Run? and ?Mary?s Place.? During the latter, he appealed to the Swing Voters to stop swishin? and sashayin? and commit to a candidate. Bruce offered that anyone can be released from the burdens of Republicanism.

He also played ?The Rising,? an exciting ?No Surrender? (the chosen song by the Kerry campaign), and an inspired ?Promised Land.? A deep expression of patriotism was expressed by Bruce during a gorgeous rendition of Jimi Hendrick?s, ?Star Spangled Banner.?

Some artists were unintentionally dissed, receiving the usual crowd- call for , ?BRUUUCE.? Patti Scialfa opened the show with music from her newest album. She was talented, but after several songs, the crowd yelled for her husband. Gracefully, Patti told them, please, I get enough of this at home. Give a listen to her latest music, it's quite poetic with some New York City attitude. Folk/rock would be an apt label.

Jackson Browne followed Scialfa, looking like he stepped right out of Rolling Stone Magazine from 25 years ago. Same haircut, same activist attitude. Jackson?s highlight was playing old favorites such as: ?The Pretender,? ?How Long? and ?Running on Empty.? Some of the new songs came across muffled, and we would have preferred more oldies such as, ?Stay,? or ?Friend You Can Depend On Me.? Still, it was refreshing to see this friend we could depend on, in such times as these.

A nice surprise was the unexpected appearance of Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam on stage. One song he sang was requested by his friend Springsteen?. ?Can?t Find a Better Man? was delivered with the typical Vedder intensity as if John Kerry possibly could hear this cry of support on the campaign trail and stay encouraged.

John Fogerty sang old classics. We were watching history remake itself as he sang ?Fortunate Son? and ?Proud Mary.? Different people in this political cycle, yet Fogerty?s distinctive voice remained tried and true. His enthusiasm was shown as he did his trademark hopping that punched up the protest in his songs.

A glaring void at the concert was the fact that a former leader in the ?60s folk/rock political movement did not participate. Ofcourse, Bob Dylan could have added a special dimension with any of his vast array of music, particularly his bone tingling dead-on apropos songs such as, ?The Times They Are A Changin?,? and ?Chimes of Freedom.? What vision Dylan had as a young adult.

This was just a shortened group of the usual crew of artists participating in The Concert for Change, yet it still seemed difficult to fit everything in and after the encores, it was nearly 1 a.m. The artists never wavered giving every bit of energy to us, (with the exception of Clarence Clemens who appeared under the weather.)

The political end of this concert makes perfect sense. Civil Liberties, stem cell research, the Iraq War, the struggles of everyday people to make ends meet are but some of a long list of things at stake, Bruce told us. We know there is much, much more.

The Concert for Change gave me an outlet to express my political views. I brought a political homemade poster that said, ?Give the Boot to this Cowboy? (with a picture from page one of that morning?s Asbury Park Press of a dumbfounded George Bush). My daughter and I taped boots around the border so people could take one and mail it to Bush.

We don?t have to imagine how a government lacking respect for basic civil liberties might respond in a worse case scenario to us as individuals or to Bruce and everyone in Concert for Change. We learned that from John Lennon during the Nixon years when they refused him citizenship and had the CIA tap his phones. Outrageous.

As an artist Bruce is inspirational, using his celebrity to make a difference in this effort for change. As a man, he is equally inspirational taking a risk by sticking his neck out during a time when people are being arrested for expressing civil liberties.

When I vote on election day, I?ll keep close to my heart the memory of this very moving concert. I?m crossing my fingers that the intensity, passion and love displayed by Bruce and everyone who touched the stage translates into a change in President.

Ralph wrote: What a special night...but, then they are all special. This was my 100th Bruce show and my friends were out in full force - the Springsteen Republicans. Bruce was on fire. He juked with Patti, jostled with Jackson and showed a great deal of admiration and respect for one of his mentors, John Fogerty - and where did Eddie Vader come from. Wow. I fell in love this night. I was in the right place in the arena and in the company of a perfect friend. I was taking the usual rollercoaster ride of emotions with Bruce handling the controls. Up to the heights of the songs when I needed my dancin' shoes, and down to the depths of the songs when I needed to take a breath and be humbled. Bruce was never better. He was home in NJ, he was believing in his cause, and he was looking at the sun setting on this, his last show. The entire show was 5:15 long (the title of my favorite Who song) and we all left work early one day and never made it in the next. Nights like this come every night somewhere in the world for some luck souls. Tonight, tonight was my night. Bruce was as good as he ever was. If the poets don't know nothin' at all, then they at least know this much. Time Magazine's review of the album "The River" in 1980, as the Album of the Year simple said: 'Rock, as good as it gets". Time to invoke those words again. Time to enjoy.

Brian Mac wrote: Better Man with Eddie V. had to be one of my favorite Bruce moments of all time. The band sounded crisp.

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