Sunday, October 03, 2004

Stars sing Democrat's praises in Ohio concerts, appearances

Stars sing Democrat's praises in Ohio concerts, appearances: "Rekindling the spirit of the 1960s anti-war movement and the 'No Nukes' benefits a decade later, Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., the Dixie Chicks and James Taylor headlined two simultaneous concerts in Cleveland Saturday night, calling on their fans to support Democrat John Kerry and oust President Bush in November.
'We want to thank you for coming out to show your support and raise your voice for a change in the direction of the country,' Springsteen said to open the show before a capacity crowd at Gund Arena.
The concerts were the highlight of a day that blended politics and celebrity all over the state with Hollywood stars flipping pancakes for union workers, and with the real president nearly crossing paths with an actor who plays one on TV.

The Cleveland concerts coincided with four other "Vote for Change" concerts around Ohio Saturday to raise money for America Coming Together, an independent but Democrat-friendly political organization. The concerts, which head to Michigan today, feature musicians who have been critical of Bush and the war in Iraq, including Pearl Jam, the Dave Matthews Band, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt.

Security at Gund Arena was tight, with long lines for ticketholders. Jann Wenner, the longtime editor and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, was detained for five minutes before he was allowed backstage.

Though the concerts were not officially affiliated with the Kerry campaign, Kerry supporters handed out pamphlets at the Gund and the State Theatre at Playhouse Square, where the Dixie Chicks and James Taylor played before about 3,000 fans."

Scott Hiaasen
Plain Dealer Reporter


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