Gov. Chris Christie put out a public appeal to Bruce Springsteen on Tuesday, asking that the rocker spend Labor Day weekend playing at the new Revel casino.
“I would make a direct plea to Bruce right now,” said Christie, who is well-known for his affinity for the rocker’s music. “Labor Day weekend at Revel for Bruce Springsteen would be an incredible show of support for his home state.”
The governor made the remarks during a tour of Revel on Tuesday morning. The $2.4 billion megaresort is set to hold a soft opening Monday and then formally open to the public for Memorial Day weekend, when Beyonce is scheduled to perform.
“I think (Springsteen) has missed out on the opportunity to open this place because Beyonce has picked up on the mantle,” Christie said, adding other opportunities exist for the rocker. “He has to do something for the fall … so cut out Labor Day weekend and come here.”
Revel also has booked the pop-rock band Maroon 5 for a May 18 show and the garage-rock duo The Black Keys on May 19.
Christie said he will have seen Springsteen perform 127 times in concert, including Thursday when the rocker will be in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center as part of his Wrecking Ball tour. The Republican governor said if he has a chance to talk to the rocker directly, he will make a personal plea to Springsteen.
While the two are polar opposites when it comes to their political views, Christie said he believes Springsteen would approve of Revel and the use of taxpayer money for the project because it will create jobs for the middle class. The casino will benefit from $261 million in state tax reimbursements.
“Bruce, if he is true to his lyrics, would love the fact that the state used taxpayer funds to invest in this place to create jobs for men and women,” Christie said. “Those are middle-class, working people.”
While Christie said that Springsteen’s newest album is darker than most, the lyrics likely were written a while ago, the governor said.
“He’s yet to have been caught up in the New Jersey Comeback,” Christie said, referring to the economic recovery the governor hopes to bring to the state. “I’m sure he’s feeling a bit infected by the New Jersey Comeback because he knows it’s begun. So I think you’ll see more optimistic things from Bruce going forward. … A good artist is a mirror of the times.”
Christie said the Revel project will serve as a catalyst for further development in the region.
“This is going to force people, attract people to take a second look at Atlantic City, and when they do, I think it’s going to be very helpful in terms of motivating others to invest here,” he said.
“Candidly, we lost our vision for a period of time,” Christie said. “The stop button wasn’t hit, it was only the pause button. We hit play again because this administration believes that the nearly 300 construction jobs that will be created here and the nearly 10,000 that will be created — both permanent and temporary jobs — are important to the state of New Jersey, and that Atlantic City absolutely has a strong and bright future if we work together.”
Revel Chief Executive Officer Kevin DeSanctis said he believes the city’s success will depend on what comes after Revel and not with the project itself. Other developers must invest in the city if the revitalization effort is to be successful, he said.
“This town needs private investment,” he said. “This is what it should be about.”
DeSanctis said the casino was preparing for its soft opening, namely working out glitches, some of which likely will persist well after next week but are expected to be resolved by the time Revel officially opens in May. He referred to that time period as “practice.”
In anticipation of Christie’s arrival, dozens of casino workers lined up by department to catch a glimpse of the governor outside the casino’s front doors. He spent several minutes shaking hands or high-fiving employees, thanking them for their service.
In his remarks to the press after a brief tour, the governor also alluded to improvements to Atlantic City International Airport, such as a planned expansion, saying that he and other officials are “very cognizant” that expanding the airport is key to attracting visitors, particularly as a convention destination.
“We’re working on the plan,” Christie said. “We need to expand the services of Atlantic City airport.”
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