In the midst of the Magic tour Ev2 decided to revisit the Vote For Change tour. Quite fittingly I might add, Springsteen's motivation for doing this tour is very much related the messages he's trying to get across 4 years down the road. One could argue that few things have been as helpful in reviving Springsteen's career as President Bystander, making Bush the oddest muse a R&R star ever had. The Vote For Change tour found Springsteen playing along partisan lines for the first time in his career. Though the tour begged comparison to the Amnesty International Human Rights Now tour, Dave Marsh was correct to point out the moral basis of that tour. Singing in defense of human rights didn't necessarily put you in any corner of America's political boxing ring. Bush's "election" and the way he dragged the nation into an armed conflict on the basis of flimsy evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, deepened the political divisions in America. So Springsteen's decision to join this tour as the head liner was not without risk. Quite a few fans felt alienated, left out by his stance. As a blue collar rocker Springsteen has more than a few political conservative fans. Some of them felt Springsteen openly turned against them. For better or worse, Vote For Change defined the road Springsteen's career went down since.
Touring along the swing states, the objective was to get as many voters to register as possible. Although Springsteen was very outspoken in his support of senator Kerry outside of the shows, on stage he mostly let the music speak for itself as he always had. For music geeks the Vote For Change tour was finger licking good, no matter what side of the line you were on. The tour suddenly found Springsteen on stage with a new generation. In the course of the tour he shared the mic with R.E.M., Pearl Jam, and Hip Hop stars Jurassic 5. Aside from the young guns, there were plenty of old timers involved as well. On this particular show Springsteen is joined on stage by John Fogerty and Neil Young. St. Paul truly was the gathering of legends. This Ev2 re-master from a new source is one of the better bootlegs I've heard from this tour. Neil Young's solo on "Souls of the Departed" rarely growled meaner than it does here. The guest spots on this show roll from one high point into the next, with Fogerty's "Fortunate Son" suddenly sounding painfully relevant again, making the Band's self contained spots almost pale by comparison. Almost, there's very little that can beat the raving version of "Johnny 99". The Band really pulls out all the stops on that one, almost as if Springsteen wants to show the dinosaurs on stage he, and only he, is the Boss. This is fantastic stuff, sound wise almost as good as the in ear monitor recording of October 2nd from Cleveland. While this show may be just a few notches below that one, this St Paul show clearly had the upper hand on guest performances. I dare say an essential addition to your collection.
Download the full show in mp3 format here
A small request, only burn mp3s for personal use, but never use a mp3 based CD in a trade. The Quality of mp3s deteriorate rapidly every time a CD is ripped. Using high quality music files such as FLACs is essential in keeping the trading pool healthy.
Recording: 4 out of 5
Show: 5 out of 5
Artwork: 4,5 out of 5
Read USA Today's take on the Vote For Change tour here.
The PopMatters review of the show.