Bruce Springsteen sang “Dancing in the Dark” last night by himself with acoustic guitar, filling the Theater at Madison Square Garden with a soulful quiet.
Then he told a joke about a guy going into a whorehouse in Nevada where he experiences something called a Hurricane Tessie.
“I didn’t say they were good dirty jokes,” Springsteen said at the seventh annual Stand Up for Heroes, a fundraiser for veterans organized by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival.
Among the comedians were Bill Cosby, Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan. A band of wounded warriors accompanied Roger Waters on his Pink Floyd song “Comfortably Numb.”
All of it was catnip for Wall Street. Sponsors included Axonic Capital LLC, the Paul E. Singer Foundation and Veterans on Wall Street, founded by Deutsche Bank AG, Citigroup Inc., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
From Citigroup were Michael Corbat, chief executive, Suni Harford, regional head of markets for North America, and Jamie Forese, co-president of institutional clients.
Deutsche Bank’s Jacques Brand, CEO of North America, and John Eydenberg, global head of financial sponsors, were present. From Fortress Investment Group LLC: Mike Novogratz.
Goldman Sachs brought Todd Haskins, a former Marine and managing director in the financial sponsors group, and Owen West, who served with the Marines in Iraq and is head of U.S. natural gas and power trading.
Journalists Bob Woodruff, injured in Iraq while reporting, and his wife, Lee Woodruff, honored caregivers and veterans in the front rows. General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took the stage. Michelle Obama and Jill Biden appeared in a video, thanking the Bob Woodruff Foundation for investing in programs to help veterans go to school and find jobs.
Springsteen closed the show, dedicating one song to the families of fallen heroes, and singing a cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream.” Then Brian Williams joined him to auction off a Springsteen fan’s dream package: a Fender guitar he’d just played on, a one-hour private guitar lesson, lasagna, and an invite to attend a recording session at his home. It went for $250,000.
The event raised more than $5 million, Ashley Bunce, a spokesman for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, wrote in an e-mail.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)