Live 01 Nov 2004 version
[Spoken intro:] Thanks, they, uh, gave me an extra song to do tonight, so I'm gonna get to do three. (laughs) But I met a lady tonight, uh, Kristen Breitweiser, who is actually a neighbor of mine, a neighbor of mine just a few minutes away from me in New Jersey. And, uh — whoa, disaster! And, uh, she was one of the, uh, 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls, who, when the administration was stonewalling the 9/11 Commission, held their feet to the fire and got the truth out. So I want to do this tonight for her, Miss Kristen Breitweiser.
Well, the screen door slams, Mary's dress sways
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey, it's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again
Don't you run back inside
Darling, you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty, but hey you're all right
Oh, and that's all right with me
You can hide 'neath your covers and study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain for a savior to rise from these streets
Well, I'm no hero, that's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night's busted open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
Yeah, we got one last chance to make it real
We can trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven's waiting down on the track
Oh, oh, come take my hand
We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
Whoa, oh, oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road, Thunder Road
Well, it's lying out there like a killer in the sun
Yeah, I know it's late, but we can make it if we run
Whoa, oh, oh, Thunder Road, sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road
Well, I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride it ain't free
I know you're lonely, there's words that I ain't spoken
Well, tonight we'll be free, all the promises will be broken
There were ghosts in the eyes of all the men you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets
Well, they scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they're gone
On the wind, so Mary climb in
It's a town full of losers and we're pulling out of here to win
[Spoken outro:] Yeah! That's right.
Oh yeah. As a songwriter, I've been, uh, writing about America for thirty years: who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for. Now these ideas are what's at stake tomorrow. I believe our American government has drifted too far from American values. The human principles of economic justice, healing the sick, health care, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless. A living wage so folks don't have to break their backs and then come home and not be able to make ends meet. An open American government that's unburdened by unnecessary secrecy. Protection of our environment. Sane and responsible foreign policy where we take our place amongst a community of nations. Civil rights and the safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home. This is what we're fighting for tomorrow. Now nobody's got all the answers to all of America's problems, and when John Kerry wins tomorrow, it's just the beginning of the work that we need to do ourselves to create a humane American society. I got involved in this election because I saw the opportunity to have somebody in the White House with a heart that would honestly ask the hard questions, that would respect our most struggling citizens, and a spirit that would seek the solutions that bring us closer to fulfilling America's promise for everybody. I believe that Senator Kerry honors these ideals and that he'll work for them. He's lived our history over the past fifty years, he has an informed and adult view of America and her people, and he's had the life experience, and understands that we as humans, that we are not infallible, that we make mistakes, and as Senator Edwards said going to the Democratic Convention, that struggle and heartbreak will always be with us, and that's why we need one another. That's why we need to be able to depend on and to keep faith with one another through hard times and good times. That's why "one nation indivisible" and "united we stand" can't become empty slogans, but need to remain guiding principles of our public policy. I was, uh, speaking to Senator Glenn the other night, and he said that politics is supposed to be the personnel department for the Constitution. It is supposed to be shining service. And that's why we need good, wise, and trustworthy servants to put our ideals in action. Senator Kerry, since he was a young man, has shown us by having the courage to face America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism. We find a more complete view of who we are. We find a more authentic experience as citizens. And that's where we find the power that is embedded only in truth to make our world a better and safer place for our kids to grow up in. These are the things that have brought me here tonight. And Paul Wellstone, the Minnesto — the Minnesota senator, said, "The future is for the passionate." That's right! And those that are willing to fight and work hard for it. Well the future is now. It's time to roll up your sleeves and to let your passions flow in the service of a more just and equitable society. That's why I'm here to stand alongside Senator Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting, so tomorrow, get grandma, get ma, get pa, and get 'em all out there and vote! 'Cause we've, uh, we've had a sax player, now I think it's time for a guitar player in the White House!
The above lyrics are for the live 01 Nov 2004 live performance of THUNDER ROAD at Cleveland Mall in Cleveland, OH, during the last of the four A Fresh Start For America Rally events on which Bruce Springsteen appeared. The rally was held in the mall's B and C sections, known as Mall B and Mall C. The song was played in a solo acoustic guitar and harmonica arrangement. It was a special dedication to Kristen Breitweiser, a World Trade Center widow who pushed hard for the 9/11 Commission (read the above spoken intro).
In 2004, Bruce Springsteen appeared on four election rallies for U.S. presidential candidate senator John Kerry. These election rallies were billed as "A Fresh Start For America Rally". Accompanied only by his acoustic guitar and harmonica, Springsteen performed THE PROMISED LAND and John Kerry's campaign theme NO SURRENDER on each of the four rallies, and on the fourth and last date he additionally performed THUNDER ROAD.
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.
If you have a ticket stub or promotional poster for this event, please contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.
List of available versions of THUNDER ROAD on this website:THUNDER ROAD [Album version]