January 16, 2017
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might have to bring his iPod to the Garden State Inaugural Ball on Thursday night if he wants to listen to Bruce Springsteen.
That's because The B Street Band, a tribute act chosen to play the event in Washington, has decided in the face of public pressure that it won't put a paycheck ahead of the venerable ideals of The Boss.
Word began to circulate last week that the band was slated to perform during a "spectacular evening" organized by Christie and his wife Mary Pat, who are the event's honorary chairs. He may not have gotten the nod for vice president, or a cabinet position, but Christie was clearly determined to "recapture the fun and romance of the Jersey Shore" with his favorite Springsteen tunes to mark the transition of power he half-orchestrated, until Trump dumped him.
Initially, the band dismissed its critics by pointing out that their past gigs, including the same event in 2009 and 2013, have included Democratic events for President Obama and others dating back to the 1990's. This wasn't a political engagement, they reasoned. They had been advance-hired for the job way back in 2013, when Donald Trump was busy talking about eliminating borders around the world instead of charging other countries to help the U.S. fortify them.
So, a lot of people pointed out just how much Bruce Springsteen despises Donald Trump. Any time a celebrity says the President-elect is a "flagrant, toxic narcissist" and "moron" who's brought the American republic under siege is probably not going to play a guitar and sing for hours in recognition of that politician's newfound executive power.
On Monday, B Street Band keyboardist and spokesman Will Forte reached out to Springsteen fan site Backstreets.com to break the news of their reconsideration:
With deepest apologies to our fans and the New Jersey Inaugural Ball committee, the B Street Band is withdrawing from performing at this year's inauguration Gala.
Our decision is based SOLELY on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band.
Bruce's music has been the foundation of our livelihood. The B Street Band would not exist without the talents of Bruce and our E Street brothers.
We are most grateful to these rock legends and look forward to many more years of emulating and performing the Forever Music, of Bruce Springsteen.
It's all good, Gov. Christie. There's still the "Boardwalk Gourmet Buffet," which is well worth the price of admission ($175-$300), and a DJ who will be spinning the best of Frank Sinatra, Four Seasons, Whitney Houston and other New Jersey legends. The event page now makes no mention of Mr. Springsteen.