Without Neil Young, there's nothing particularly rousing about seeing headliners CS&N getting assigned another political rally beat. No nukes? They were there with songs about "mutant sponges." Live Aid? Sure, who could object to feeding hungry Africans? The fall of the Berlin Wall? They were there with chisels ready. And with the inescapable Bush-is-to-Iraq-what-Nixon-was-to-Vietnam analogies, this evening of protest music for the pressed-jeans set wouldn't be complete without them, probably changing the lyrics to "Carry On" to promote their man. Rounding out the evening are non-threatening alterna-folk artist Jack Johnson and bluesman Keb' Mo'.
I'd like to think that the reason the most vocal Bush-whackers, like Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and the Dixie Chicks, weren't booked in Phoenix was because pro-Bush Clear Channel, which operates Cricket Pavilion, didn't want a show that would bring in anybody but old liberal rockers who just preach to the converted year after year anyway. It's almost as if they're saying, "Look, all we've got on the GOP side is Michael W. Smith and Toby Keith, so why should you people enjoy yourselves?" Kerry on!