An impressively in-depth article in The Atlantic in 2012 examined Gov. Christie’s fandom of Bruce Springsteen, and included some discussion of a 2008 benefit concert that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street presented at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. At that amazing show, which I reviewed for The Star-Ledger, the group played its Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town albums in their entirety. It was the first time they had performed one of their albums in its entirety at a concert, and, to date, the only time they have done two of them.
Christie, not yet governor, was there, as was the state’s then-governor, Jon Corzine.
Here’s what Christie had to say about the show in the Atlantic article: “There was this moment early on when I realized that Corzine just didn’t understand New Jersey. It was a benefit show at the Count Basie Theatre, in Red Bank — it was the first time that Bruce did whole albums through. It was the best show I’ve ever seen. It’s a small venue, maybe 600 or 700 people. I’m U.S. attorney then, I’m thinking about running for governor, and I’m in the front row of the balcony. Corzine is governor and he’s in the front row. And he left during the encores. He just left. You could see him look at his watch. He left during ‘Raise Your Hand’ — Bruce is on top of the piano screaming — and it just struck me that unless there’s an emergency, which I found out later there wasn’t, you don’t leave. You just don’t leave.”
As you may have heard, Christie, in a taped interview, has said that he prefers Bon Jovi to Springsteen. People have a problem with that, not because they’re anti-Bon Jovi, but because Christie has been such public superfan of Springsteen for so many years. To take that kind of stance, and then turn your back on The Boss because you don’t like his politics … it was the moment when I finally realized that Christie just doesn’t understand New Jersey.
Here’s another quote from that Atlantic article, in which Christie talked about the 2011 death of E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons: “I felt like all the energy was drained out of my body. I just lay there silent on the bed, and (my wife) said to me, ‘I just want to understand what you’re feeling,’ and I said, ‘My youth is over. He’s dead and anything that is left of me being young is over.’ ”
How is it possible for a man who felt that way — and said the Basie show was the best he’d ever seen, and claimed, in that Atlantic article, to have seen 129 Springsteen shows at that point — to flip-flop in such a drastic manner? Even for a politician, it’s just inconceivable to me.
(And just for the record, the Count Basie Theatre doesn’t include 600 or 700 people, as Christie thought. The capacity is actually around 1,500.)
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