.

Bruce Springsteen Delivers On Super Bowl XLIII Party Promise

February 2, 2009 8:20 AM ET

The Super Bowl isn't simply about football. It's about 100 million people buying into the dream, hoping that this uniquely American moment — a festival of corporate branding, organized violence and pure showbiz — can somehow save them, lift them from life for a while — from debt, fear and heartbreak.

On Sunday, they sought refuge in their living rooms, tapping into the pageantry in hi-def. And in the face of economic ruin, they still flocked to Tampa, Florida, by the thousands — some shelling out close to $2,000 for nosebleeds, others with shorter pockets content simply to bask in the shadow of the stadium, but all grasping at the dream.

Enter Bruce Springsteen.

He made good on his promise of a "12-minute party" Sunday night, lifting millions who sorely needed it. His opening act was a Super Bowl record 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by the Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison, but Springsteen had some hard hits of his own on deck. He hit the stage, playfully demanding, "I want you to put your chicken fingers down and turn the television all the way up. (Check out photos of Springsteen's Super Bowl set.)

"Is there anybody alive out there?" he shouted as he and the E Street Band dove into the rollicking "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out." More than 70,000 who had been jeering, heckling and cajoling each other for hours were dancing, suddenly all revelers at Bruce's party. He pushed the pedal closer to the floor with "Born To Run," and raised the roof higher (with help from a backing choir) with the title track from his latest album, "Working on a Dream." Finally, at last call, he brought out "Glory Days," tweaking the lyrics and dropping in game-appropriate gridiron references. As the band brought it home, guitarist Steven Van Zandt quipped that they were beyond overtime, beyond penalty time and into "boss time."

And in a flash of pyro, it was over. Man-made mesas of steel were wheeled away and a cast of hundreds scurried out of sight, returning the performance space to a playing field in a matter of minutes. "Boss time" was over and game time resumed (and damn, what a game), but for those of you who actually had money riding on it, that set was:

"Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"
"Born To Run"
"Working on a Dream"
"Glory Days"

Follow our ongoing Super Bowl weekend coverage, and check out the best from our archives in our Super Bowl hub.

Related Stories:

Photos: Bruce Springsteen's Super Bowl Party
Photos: U2, Prince, The Rolling Stones and More Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Performances

Video: A Short History of Rock Stars in Super Bowl Commercials

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com