Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Promoter wants Springsteen vs. Bush; 'Concert for Change' would upstage GOP


NEW YORK - A New York concert promoter has mounted an online campaign to “draft” Bruce Springsteen to headline a rock ’n' roll show to upstage the Republican National Convention on the night it nominates President Bush to run for another term.

The “Concert for Change,” would be held Sept. 1 at Giants Stadium, across the Hudson River from the Republicans’ meeting at Madison Square Garden, said promoter and Democratic activist Andrew Rasiej, who has reserved the date at Springsteen’s New Jersey home venue that he routinely sells out when he tours.

“This is a simple idea that captures the imagination of Americans opposed to George Bush,” Rasiej told Reuters.

An online petition at www.draftbruce.com has been signed by about 50,000 people in 10 days since it was launched, Rasiej said, adding he had also reached out to acts such as REM, The Dave Matthews Band, Bob Dylan and Carlos Santana.

“When it gets to half a million or so I would formally try to deliver the petition to Bruce’s people directly,” he said.

REM, Bon Jovi receptive
“I’ve spoken to the manager of REM, to Bon Jovi’s people and the rest of the names I’ve mentioned and they all said, 'If you build it, we will be there.”’

Rasiej said he envisions drawing a big TV audience, but only if he can get a star of the magnitude of Springsteen to get on board and encourage other big acts to take part.

Springsteen’s publicist was not available for comment.

Republicans and Democrats both asked to use his 1984 hit "Born in the U.S.A.” — a song about how unwelcoming America was to returning Vietnam veterans but often mistaken for a patriotic anthem — in political campaigns. Springsteen declined the requests.

The New Jersey rocker has typically stayed out of politics, but in May posted the text of an anti-war speech by former Vice President Al Gore on his official Web site, calling it “one of the most important speeches I’ve heard in a long time.”

Rasiej, founder of popular New York rock club Irving Plaza, said a “VoteAid” show could win a large TV audience, raise money to support voter registration and deliver a message that could affect the November presidential election.

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