'The Boss' rocks against rising global income gap

Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:23pm EST
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CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Rising income inequality in the United States and South Africa threatens to tear their societies apart, rocker Bruce Springsteen said on Sunday before his first performance in Africa for almost three decades.

Riding high on the global charts with his latest album "High Hopes", the musician stayed true to his New Jersey working class roots and socially conscious lyrics when answering media questions.

"There is a tremendous problem with income inequality in the States right now and it's been increasing and increasing," Springsteen said a few hours before his opening night performance in South Africa's tourist capital Cape Town.

"Initially it tears society apart and I don't think society can make good when economic differences and economic inequalities are so widespread. It is a real problem in the United States and a big problem here too," he said.

A journalist had asked him whether things had got worse since 1988 when Springsteen famously compared "the systematic apartheid of South Africa" to "the economic apartheid of my own country," during an appearance in neighboring Zimbabwe.

Springsteen and the E Street Band will play three concerts in Cape Town and another one in Johannesburg, before flying on to Australia and New Zealand on February 2.

It is their first concerts in South Africa since his guitarist Steven van Zandt led a campaign by rock musicians in protest against apartheid nearly thirty years ago.

Springsteen played in neighboring Zimbabwe and the Ivory Coast in 1988 as part of the Amnesty International human rights concert series, and he said it was "special" to eventually be in South Africa.

"It is really incredible and special to be here," he said.   Continued...

Singer Bruce Springsteen greets journalists during a sound check session ahead of his concert in Cape Town, January 26, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings