Last year, Bruce Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa had to miss their traditional appearance for Bob and Lee Woodruff’s Stand Up for Heroes. The charity show was on a Thursday night, and the Springsteens were tied up on Broadway.
So this year, organizers Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox, with the Woodruffs, moved the event to a Monday, when “Springsteen on Broadway” is dark. The result was the return of the rockers, who sang a beautiful duet together on “If I Should Fall Behind.” Bruce also sang “Dancing in the Dark” and “The Hard Land” by himself, and performed a duet of “Working on the Highway” with country star Eric Church.
Church was less impressive, I thought. He sang some song that really rips off the Stones classic “Sympathy for the Devil.” The crowd didn’t care. He got a big ovation. His charms eluded me.
A clutch of five star comedians preceded the singers, starting with Seth Meyers, Jim Gaffigan, and Jon Stewart. They were all fine and appropriate, and very funny. Brit comic Jimmy Carr thought it was 1960 at the Stardust in Vegas and told a lot of off color, un PC sex jokes. It was a relief, if Rodney Dangerfield or Don Rickles are your heroes (I love them).
Springsteen told his own “dirty” jokes, a tradition, but they’re really quite tame.
The evening was brisk and short, but it remains a perfect way to honor soldiers who’ve lost body parts while defending this country. They are truly heroes,and they love this organization. I do remember the old days at Town Hall, or The Beacon Theater, when the event had a more intimate feeling. The corporate Theater at Madison Square Garden– now called The Hulu Theater– can put a chill on any event.
PS I’ve always loved Patti Scialfa’s voice and she was in rare form tonight. Just lovely.