N.Y. Promoter Wants Boss to Upstage Bush

Rasiej books Giants Stadium in hopes of Springsteen show.

A New York concert promoter has mounted an online campaign to "draft" Bruce Springsteen to headline a show to upstage the Republican National Convention, but the rock icon appears to be uninterested.

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.

"This is a simple idea that captures the imagination of Americans opposed to George Bush," Rasiej told Reuters about hopes of staging an anti-Bush rock show the night Republicans nominate the incumbent to run for another term as president.

Springsteen's publicist, however, told Reuters the music star does not plan to perform at any events tied to the Democratic or Republican conventions.

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 R.E.M., 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 on Monday.

"I've spoken to the manager of R.E.M., 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."'

Republicans and Democrats both asked to use Springsteen's 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 -- for use 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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