In his first Springsteen On Broadway show in over a year since the pandemic put paid to live events, Bruce Springsteen has delivered a new monologue about the “troubling” state of the world in 2021.
“We are living in troubled and troubling times,” Springsteen said at the first show of the new run held on 26 June (per Rolling Stone). “I don’t believe I’ve seen, certainly not in my lifetime, when democracy itself, not just who is going to be running the show for the next four years, but survival of democracy itself was as deeply threatened.
“The Rule of Law, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution have been so cavalierly bludgeoned, disrespected and tread upon that I’m frightened for us. I understand those folks out in the street. It’s scary times filled with confusion.”
While Springsteen made no mention of specific events, he followed up the speech with a performance of American Skin (41 Shots), a song which was written two decades ago about the shooting of Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo. Diallo was shot dead in 1999 by New York City police officers, who were charged with second-degree murder but later acquitted. Furthermore, the performance came only a day after Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.
In another monologue, Springsteen commented for the first time about his November 2020 arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. The more serious charges were dismissed in February this year, but Springsteen was ordered to pay $540 for consuming alcohol in a prohibited area.
“I didn’t wake up one morning, get on my motorcycle and say, ‘I think I’ll drive to jail,’” he said. “And then I had to go to Zoom Court! My case was the United States of America vs. Bruce Springsteen. That’s always comfortable to hear, that the entire nation is aligned against you. ‘You have managed to engage in an act so heinous that it was offended the entire fuckin’ United States! You, my recalcitrant, law-breaking, bridge-and-tunnel friend have drunk two shots of tequila.’ New Jersey, they love me there!”
The new run of Springsteen On Broadway will continue to early September at the St. James Theatre. Only vaccinated fans will be allowed entry.
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In other Springsteen news, the Boss recently released a collaboration with The Killers, Dustland, which is a reimagining of the Las Vegas band’s track A Dustland Fairytale.