Bruce Springsteen was backed to the hilt by fans last night (June 12) at the first of his 10 sell-out NEW YORK gigs at MADISON SQUARE GARDENS, despite the singer being slammed by police chiefs over one of his new songs.
Fans were vociferous in their support of the star after controversy blew up when The E Street Band debuted the song ‘American Skin’ in Atlanta last week. It refers to the shooting of West African immigrant Amadou Diallo last year in his Bronx home. Four police officers were acquitted of murder after the case came to court.
As reported by nme.com yesterday, president of the New York chapter of police union the Fraternal Order of Police, Bob Lucente, ranted that Springsteen had “turned into some type of fucking dirtbag. He has all these good songs, American flag-waving songs, and now he’s a floating fag”.
President of New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Organisation, Patrick Lynch sent a letter to officers, who frequently moonlight as security guards at gigs at the venue, calling on them to boycott the show, saying he was outraged that the performer was “trying to fatten his wallet by reopening the wounds of a tragic case”.
Vice-president of the organisation, John Puglissi – who wants to meet the singer to discuss the impact of ‘American Skin’ – called for any proceeds from the as-yet unrecorded track to go to the Diallo family and PBO widows and children’s fund. He claimed that many cops had ditched their tickets for last night’s show. According to reports in the New York Post, however, many turned up to work on security for the gig despite the union boycott.
But Springsteen‘s fans are firmly behind the star, with two turning up in shirts with the logo ‘Diallo 41’, and another declaring: “When an artist feels strongly about something it’s easy for them to express the feeling by singing it, and I agree with them.”
Diallo‘s family have also spoken out in support of Springsteen and were due to meet him after the concert last night. His mother, Kadiatou said she planned to invite The Boss to Harlem to “thank him for keeping the Amadou Diallo name in the public eye”.