Which was the bigger surprise is hard to say, but yesterday two announcements were made that were both rather unexpected. One was that Bruce has added a final show for 2012 in Mexico City, and the other was that this Thursday he will once again take time out of his calendar to perform in support of Barack Obama, in Ohio and Iowa respectively.
Bruce Springsteen has never played in Mexico in any shape or form. The country has never seemed to exist on Bruce’s personal world map, but that is all about to change. The show will take place December 10 at the 20,000 seat indoor Palacio de los Deportes and will round out the Wrecking Ball Tour for 2012. Whether the tour will be resumed in 2013 remains to be seen, but plenty of rumors suggest that it will.
As is the case with several other major cities outside of North America and western Europe, Bruce has been fairly alone among the world’s top live attractions in neglecting Mexico City, the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere. U2 has been there, Rolling Stones have been there, Madonna has been there, Coldplay has been there, and the list goes on. But then again, based on album sales, Bruce hasn’t had much reason to reward Mexicans with a show. Wrecking Ball has sold fewer than 2,000 copies to date - in a country of more than 100 million people - and that’s not unusual for Bruce’s releases in Mexico at this point in his career.
But maybe his appearance there will help increase Mexicans’ desire for Bruce music and give Bruce a taste for more shows south of the US border, including shows in South America, which is one of the above-mentioned rumors for 2013.
Bruce’s decision to lend his voice to President Obama’s reelection campaign is hardly shocking, but goes against previous statements he’s made about sitting this campaign out. Obviously, the recent decline in Obama’s polling numbers must have made him reconsider, or someone within Obama’s campaign must have flattered him enough to convince him he can make a difference.
As most fans will remember, Bruce made similar appearances at Obama campaign rallies in 2008, and he was even more involved in John Kerry’s bid for president in 2004. The latter resulted in the Vote For Change Tour, with Bruce being the opening act for John Kerry himself before a few of the candidate’s speeches. None of that is in the cards this time around, but Bruce’s renewed political stance is bound to make a few fans shake their heads. A recent weekly poll here on Greasy Lake showed that more than half of the respondents said they preferred he stay out of the presidential campaign, whether they supported Obama or not.
In return, everybody is probably more comfortable with Bruce once again appearing at the Stand Up For Heroes benefit in New York City on November 8. The benefit will support the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which helps provide resources and support to injured service members, veterans and their families. Bruce is expected to sing a few songs backed by the Max Weinberg Big Band.