Springsteen Sings For Earthquake-Struck Christchurch

“Finally, Christchurch!” Bruce Springsteen said to a sellout 30,000-strong crowd at the city’s AMI Stadium Feb. 21 as he led the E Street Band into opening song “No Surrender.”

AP Photo / Manu Fernandez
– Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

It was an apt choice of sentiment for a resilient city that had been rocked by a series of earthquakes in February 2011 during which 185 people died. As Christchurch rebuilt itself, its people adopted Springsteen’s ode to Asbury Park, “My City Of Ruins,” as their own as they rebuilt their city. Invited to play the song in the city during a visit to New Zealand, the Boss asked

It was a logistics nightmare but Springsteen was insistent. He told the crowd: “Quite a few years ago I got a letter, a petition, actually, about a town that suffered an earthquake and they wanted us to come and play. It took a while, but I’m glad we got here.”

He allowed the Christchurch audience to shape much of the set “Sherry Darling” and “Saint In The City” came from requests scribbled on placards.

When he noticed an 11-year-old girl standing with her family holding a sign “I can resist Trump, but I can’t resist Max,” he got her, and another teenage boy, to play drums during “Dancing In The Dark,” as reported in the New Zealand Herald.

The most emotional moment came during “My City of Ruins,” which he dedicated to the earthquake victims as well as emergency service workers battling forest fires in Port Hill.

He recounted mid-song: “I originally wrote this song about my own town that suffered an enormous amount of economic hardship and basically disappeared for a quarter of a century but slowly, slowly over the past 10 years, it’s built itself back up. “So the song, at the end of the day, became about a lot of things, about my town, about your town, about New York City and even personal friends that you’ve lost.”