Springsteen lashes out at bankers in Berlin show

Wed May 30, 2012 8:44pm EDT
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By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters) - Rocker Bruce Springsteen touched on a nerve of widespread discontent with the financiers and bankers at a Berlin concert on Wednesday, railing against them as "greedy thieves" and "robber barons."

Springsteen, a singer-songwriter dubbed "The Boss" who has long championed populist causes, played to a sold-out crowd at Berlin's Olympic Stadium, singing from his album "Wrecking Ball" and speaking about tough economic times that have put people out of work worldwide and led to debt crises in Greece and other countries.

"In America, a lot of people have lost their jobs," said Springsteen, 62, who performed for three hours to some 58,000 fans in the packed stadium that hosted the 1936 Olympics and the 2006 World Cup final.

"But also in Europe and in Berlin, times are tough," he added, speaking in fluent German. "This song is for all those who are struggling." He then introduced "Jack of All Trades", a withering attack on bankers that includes the lyrics: "The banker man grows fat, working man grows thin."

Europe has been especially hard hit since 2008's financial meltdown that sparked an enduring sovereign debt crisis. Unemployment on the continent has risen to levels not seen since the 1990s.

Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball" tour began on May 13 in Spain, which is struggling with its crushing debt load, and it runs for 2-1/2 months with 33 stops in 15 countries before concluding on July 31 in Helsinki.


Berlin, largely a working class city, has been a special place for Springsteen since his July 1988 concert behind the old Iron Curtain in East Berlin.   Continued...

U.S. singer Bruce Springsteen performs with the E. Street Band during their European tour to promote their latest album "Wrecking Ball" in Frankfurt May 25, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Domanski