April 19 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie denied newspaper reports that he fell asleep during a recent Bruce Springsteen concert, saying he closed his eyes while having a “spiritual” moment during the song “Rocky Ground.”
Christie, who has attended more than 100 Springsteen shows, said he didn’t nod off at any point in the three-hour performance on April 9 at Madison Square Garden in New York. He called the reports that he was sleeping “scurrilous.”
“What happened was during ‘Rocky Ground,’ which is kind of a really spiritual song, people sat, so I sat on the seat, put my head back, closed my eyes and listened to the song,” Christie, 49, told reporters in Trenton today. “I have never fallen asleep at a Bruce Springsteen show and I will never fall asleep at a Bruce Springsteen show.”
A concert-goer with differing ideological views pleaded with Christie to “wake up” politically during an introduction to the song “Death to My Hometown,” the governor said. Another fan then snapped a picture of Christie with his eyes closed, and a report in the New York Post’s Page Six section must have conflated the two episodes, Christie said.
“This shows you the level of intrusiveness now into my life -- there’s some joker taking pictures of me at Madison Square Garden,” Christie said.
Christie attended the Madison Square Garden show a day after returning from a week-long trip to Israel. The governor, who has a blue-and-white Fender guitar signed by Springsteen hanging on his office wall, has found himself at odds politically with the musician, who has championed President Barack Obama.
Springsteen’s latest album, “Wrecking Ball,” deals with the plight of the working class during the U.S. economic crunch. “The banker man grows fat, working man grows thin, it’s all happened before and it’ll happen again,” he sings on “Jack of All Trades.”
Christie, since taking office in 2010, has twice vetoed tax increases on those earning more than $1 million. The governor has urged Springsteen publicly and through Twitter to play at Atlantic City’s new Revel casino over Labor Day weekend.
The politician blushed during the news conference after he left out wife Mary Pat when naming fellow concert attendees including his brother Todd Christie, two oldest children and an aide. Mary Pat Christie reminded him from the front row that she skipped a recent Springsteen concert in Philadelphia, not the New York one, and quipped he was “in trouble.”
“When I was like fist-pumping during ‘Badlands,’ I’m glad no one took pictures of that,” Christie said. “When I was singing to ‘Out in the Street,’ thankfully no one took pictures of that. When I was contorting myself to ‘Because the Night,’ no one took pictures of that.”
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