Big star got together Friday night, February 8 to honor Bruce Springsteen at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Boss was picked as MusiCares' 2013 Person of the Year for his artistry and philanthropy. "Whatever philanthropy I've ever done usually involved playing the guitar," he said. "I was going to play the guitar anyway."
His performances, however, didn't happen until near the end of the show after a number of performers covered songs taken from his extensive catalog. Before the music fest began, he took the stage to help auctioneer, producer David Foster, goad buyers in an auction benefiting MusiCares charity. Thousands of dollars were successfully raised that night.
A New Jersey lady forked over the final bid of $250,000 for his mint 1952 Telecaster signed by a number of celebs coming to the event that night such as Sting, Tim McGraw, Katy Perry, Elton John, Emmylou Harris and Neil Young. As if it's not enough, lots of extra bonuses were added to the package.
The Boss offered a free one-hour guitar lesson and a ride in the side car of his Harley Davidson. "So dig in, you one-percenters!" he said. His generosity didn't stop there as he also promised eight tickets to any of his upcoming shows with a backstage tour conducted by himself. There's one more as he revealed the final perk, "Lasagna made by my mother!"
Jon Stewart said he agreed to host the event because Springsteen "is awesome and I love him," a sentiment which was apparently shared by the star-studded crowd that included Conan O'Brien, Sean Penn and J.J. Abrams along with previous MusiCares honorees like Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett and Bonnie Raitt.
Stewart's obsession with Springsteen started early in his younger days. The "Daily Show" presenter recalled driving home in his "off-brown Gremlin, because I never, ever wanted to get laid" after working in a dive bar in New Jersey. Listening to Springsteen songs, he told himself, "I am not a loser. I am a character in an epic poem … about losers."
After the auction and the introduction, the fun began as Alabama Shakes kicked off with "Adam Raised a Caine". The performance was followed by Patti Smith who dedicated "Because the Night" to Springsteen and her late husband, guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith. "When I sing it, and I've sung it a million times, I always think about the composer as well as the muse," she said.
The tribute continued as Zac Brown, Mumford & Sons, Kenny Chesney, John Legend, Elton John, Sting and Neil Young took the stage offering their renditions of his songs. There were also Tom Morello collaborating with Jackson Browne in "American Skin (41 Shots)" and Tim McGraw making a duet with his own wife Faith Hill in "Tougher Than the Rest".
"It's kind of a freaky experience. This is the huge Italian wedding Patti and I never had," Springsteen said when it's his turn to take the mic. "I had one of the loveliest nights of my life ...John Legend made me sound like Gershwin. Neil Young made me sound like the Sex Pistols. What a night." His wife Patti Scialfa and his mother Adele Springsteen were among the crowd that night.
After talking about the power and magic of music, he added, "The Taliban will never win, not now or ever, by banning music and dancing…. The minute you do that, you label yourself a tyrant, and your cruel days are numbered."
He later continued, "[Musicians] are bad people. We f*** up so many people's lives while setting fire to our own, dancing down the street…we are bad with our money. We spend it too freely and on too many stupid things. We drink it away, we do drugs, we love too many, and the wrong, people. We are the wrong people!"
"Thanks for taking care of my songs tonight," he concluded. "You made me feel like the person of the year. Now give me that damn guitar!" He performed at least four songs, going solo in "We Take Care of Our Own", collaborating with Morello in "Death to My Home Town" and sharing the stage with three more musicians in "Thunder Road" and "Born to Run" before capping the night with all stars in "Glory Days".
Bruce Springsteen 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year Setlist: