STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen says his home state will rebound from the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy.
During a stop at the Jordan Center on the Penn State campus Thursday, Springsteen also thanked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for "doing a fine job" of taking care of citizens. He lauded police, firefighters and other first responders.
Springsteen then launched into an extended, heart-wrenching rendition of his song "My City of Ruins."
His legion of dedicated fans roared back with reverent approval, most of them acquiescing to Springsteen when he signaled for quiet as the lights dimmed at one point, as if requesting a moment of silence.
His shirt soaked with sweat just a half-hour into the show, Springsteen said he and his E Street Band feel a strong connection to New Jersey wherever they are.
"It's so hard to see those businesses ... be washed away by the storm last week," Springsteen said.
Several fans on the floor among a crowd of at least 12,500 held up signs referencing the damage along the Jersey shore.
"Greetings from Belmar, N.J. Sandy left my city in ruins," read one sign.
"Jersey strong," read another sign.
Springsteen also made several other references to the storm during the show. He said he hoped Asbury Park, N.J. — the city where he cut his musical teeth in the early days — would recover from Sandy's wake much quicker than the 25 years it took for the coastal town to rally from earlier hard times.
During a line from the second song of the night, "Wrecking Ball," Springsteen paused for at least a minute following the line "Now my home is on the Jersey shore."
At another point he held up a sign handed to him by a fan. "Never forget, 4th of July, Asbury Park."
"There you go," Springsteen told the crowd, "we can't let a hurricane get rid of that one."
On Wednesday, Springsteen and the E Street Band performed in the upstate New York town of Rochester, a concert that had been postponed from Tuesday because of travel difficulties caused by the storm.
"We're a band you can't separate from the Jersey shore," Springsteen said during that show.
As the band played "My City of Ruins," Springsteen also dedicated the song to Asbury Park, which along with other communities was hit hard by flooding, power outages and damage.
"There's just been terrible disruption all along the coast we grew up on," said Springsteen as he paced back and forth across the stage.
Springsteen will join NBC's planned benefit concert Friday for victims of the storm.