Bruce Springsteen has performed his one-man Broadway show based on his memoir 146 times, each sticking to the usual script and set list, as most theater productions tend to do. But during Tuesday night’s performance, he went rogue with an emotional speech slamming Donald Trump’s new (and short-lived) border-control policy separating children from their families. According to The New Yorker’s David Remnick, Springsteen stood “on a bare stage and under a simple spotlight” to reflect on the renewed significance of the March for Our Lives protest after witnessing the traumatic scenes from detention centers at the border in recent days.
“It was a good day, and a necessary day, because we are seeing things right now on our American borders that are so shockingly and disgracefully inhumane and un-American that it is simply enraging,” he said. “And we have heard people in high position in the American government blaspheme in the name of God and country that it is a moral thing to assault the children amongst us. May God save our souls.” Following his speech, Springsteen further deviated from his set list to perform “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” Springsteen has skewered Trump multiple times, once calling him a “moron” who’s taken the country under siege, and trolling him in Australia.
Read Springsteen’s full speech, per The New Yorker, below:
I never believed that people come to my shows, or rock shows, to be told anything. But I do believe that they come to be reminded of things. To be reminded of who they are, at their most joyous, at their deepest, when life feels full. It’s a good place to get in touch with your heart and your spirit. To be amongst the crowd. And to be reminded of who we are and who we can be collectively. Music does those things pretty well sometimes, particularly these days, when some reminding of who we are and who we can be isn’t such a bad thing.That weekend of the March for Our Lives, we saw those young people in Washington, and citizens all around the world, remind us of what faith in America and real faith in American democracy looks and feels like. It was just encouraging to see all those people out on the street and all that righteous passion in the service of something good. And to see that passion was alive and well and still there at the center of the beating heart of our country.It was a good day, and a necessary day, because we are seeing things right now on our American borders that are so shockingly and disgracefully inhumane and un-American that it is simply enraging. And we have heard people in high position in the American government blaspheme in the name of God and country that it is a moral thing to assault the children amongst us. May God save our souls.There’s the beautiful quote by Dr. King that says the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. Now, there have been many, many days of recent when you could certainly have an argument over that. But I’ve lived long enough to see that in action and to put some faith in it. But I’ve also lived long enough to know, that arc doesn’t bend on its own. It needs all of us leaning on it, nudging it in the right direction, day after day. You’ve gotta keep, keep leaning. I think it’s important to believe in those words, and to carry yourself, and to act accordingly.