Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Concert Flashback: Vote For Change

Almost three years ago, a lineup was annouced for the closing night of the Vote for Change tour, which was a politically-motivated concert tour that took place in October 2004. All concerts were held in swing states, to benefit MoveOn.org and to encourage people to vote against George W. Bush in the 2004 Presidential election campaign.

At the last minute, this finale concert was moved from Florida to Washington, DC. Reading about the lineup on the news, it was the most superstar-laden roster that I'd heard about since the 9/11 memorial concerts in 2001. Of course I just had to be there. I was lucky enough to get tickets through the online sale and be there in person. Most of you probably weren't even aware that this concert took place, but I will not ever forget it.

The lineup included:
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Dave Matthews Band, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, John Fogerty, John Mellencamp, Pearl Jam, and REM.

I was impressed with almost all of the performers that night, but the one act that stood out well more than any other was Michael Stipe and REM. When they started to play, the energy in the place went through the roof. On top of that, the ultimate peak of the night for me, came when Micheal Stipe joined Bruce Springsteen and his band of merry men (the E Street Band) for a rousing version of "Because the Night". Watching it again now, for the first time since that night, I am reminded of why I liked it so much in the first place. It's all about the energy. And Bruce does his best Neil Young impression with a ripping guitar solo towards the end.

In honor of both REM and Patti Smith (co-writer of Because the Night with Springsteen) being inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame last night, here is that performance of Because the Night from October 11, 2004 in Washington, DC:

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