Suspended chords, strummed on an acoustic guitar, are plaintive. Tonight the Boss keeps stretching the suspensions until they sound as plaintive as a harmonica wail. Then he starts in on a harmonica wail. The plaza is a canyon, sounds dissolving long after they begin: a haze. It is like a summer camp closing campfire. You look for someone to hug. The first song is “The Promised Land”: “Working all day in my daddy’s garage/ Driving all night chasing some mirage/ Pretty soon little girl I’m gonna take charge.” The second song–dedicated to one of the “Jersey Girls,” Kristin Breitweiser (damn, what an honor, to see a hero like that nicknamed after one of your songs), “who when the administration was stonewalling the 9/11 Commission held their feet to the fire and got the truth out”–speaks the same language: “Oh oh come take my hand/ “Riding out tonight to case the promised land/ “Oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road.” Ballads of transcendent yearning: that we can do better. Always. No surrender.
But this is just the warm-up act. It is Kerry who says it all:
“Just because George Bush can’t do it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”