It began with the Boss. On October 26, Bruce Springsteen came to San José State for a concert to benefit the Center for Steinbeck Studies. Normally accompanied by his legendary E Street Band, Springsteen performed solo on the Steinbeck-themed folk album The Ghost of Tom Joad. Before a capacity crowd of 4,600 at the Event Center Arena, Springsteen played an impeccable acoustic set, capped by his sensitive reading of a closing passage from The Grapes of Wrath. At a reception afterward, Springsteen was presented the first John Steinbeck Award by Elaine Steinbeck, the author's widow. Said Elaine Steinbeck, "If my husband were alive, he would have wanted every word Bruce sang tonight included in a prologue of The Grapes of Wrath."