Bruce Springsteen - lead vocals, guitar, harmonica; Patti Scialfa - vocals, synthesizer; Clarence Clemons - saxophone, backing vocals, percussion; Danny Federici - organ, backing vocals; Nils Lofgren - guitar, backing vocals; Garry Tallent - bass; Roy Bittan - piano, backing vocals; Max Weinberg - drums; Sting - guest vocals on "The River"; Shankar - guest violin on "The River"
1988 marked the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In an effort to raise world consciousness about human rights and of the plight of political prisoners worldwide, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N'Dour, and Tracy Chapman, embarked on the Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour. The tour was an ambitious undertaking that criss-crossed the globe during September and October of 1988, where these artists performed before monumental crowds in Europe, Asia, Africa, as well as North and South America. This rollicking performance by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band was captured for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, recorded on the final night of the tour at el Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, the home of Argentine footballing giants, River Plate.
The Boss and co. kick off the night's activities with a lively cover of Bob Marley's classic "Get Up, Stand Up," just as they did on every night of the tour. Sting, Peter Gabriel, and Tracy Chapman join the group for the reggae classic. The powerful vocalists co-exist comfortably for a surprisingly tight, enjoyable performance, avoiding the vocal toe stepping that commonly takes place when rock stars share the stage.
The band returned to take the stage later on in the night to close out the concert. To kick things off, following a belted "1-2…1-2-3-4," the group bursts into the famous melody of "Born in the U.S.A." Though this was the last performance of a world tour, Springsteen's voice shows no signs of weakness or strain.
From there, the classic group blasts through many of their greatest hits, electrifying the crowd with anthems like "The River," "Dancing in the Dark," and "Glory Days." They also break out a punchy version of Edwin Starr's soulful classic "War."
One of the show's standout tracks is "The Promised Land," which is full of spirit and features a stunning solo by the great Clarence Clemons. "My Hometown" also carries a lot of weight, as Springsteen talks about his dreams of "creating a world without torture and disappearances," without brutal dictators like Agosto Pinochet (Chile) and Anastasio Somoza (Nicaragua), before easing into the famous ballad.
The group closes the set with a powerful version of the Bob Dylan protest song, "Chimes of Freedom." It is a hopeful way to end a special set that shows how much of a success the tour really was. Obviously, Springsteen has played many, many shows, but this is certainly one to cherish.
Born in New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen aimed at a folk career in New York City, but returned to Asbury Park, redefined his style, and found a place fronting the E Street Band on his way to a contract with Columbia Records in 1972. 1973 saw the release of his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., and established Springsteen as a songwriter as fine as the untouchable Dylan, but with working-class, identifiable roots that spoke of everyday heroes and man's universal throes. A dispute with his manager silenced Springsteen for three years after 1975's hugely successful Born to Run, and the issue released a logjam of creativity upon its resolution.
With the E Street Band, he released Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978, The River in '80, and the brooding and beautiful Nebraska in '82. "Hungry Heart" from The River cemented Springsteen's status as an international star. His abandonment of introverted lyrics for the exuberant sounds of Born in the U.S.A. in 1984 let him embark on a two-year, highly successful—and hugely publicized—tour.
Springsteen's career has been characterized by its versatility and longevity, swinging from soulful introspection to plugged-in arena rock, group to solo efforts, and widespread touring to intense periods of writing. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, Springsteen reunited with the E Street Band to go on tour.
The shattering events of 9/11 sent the Boss back into the recording studio and led to The Rising, an eloquently honest message of hope wrapped in rock 'n' roll rhythms which earned multiple Grammy awards in 2003. Magic, released in 2007, also garnered rave reviews from critics and fans, and further cemented Springsteen's reputation as one of the finest and most accessible songwriters ever to grace the hallowed halls of rock 'n' roll.