Michael Stipe, Rufus Wainwright, Moby and surprise guest James Iha all performed last night (March 20) in New York for the Bring ‘Em Home concert, marking the third anniversary of the United States-led invasion of Iraq. The event was held at Hammerstein Ballroom and featured music interspersed with speeches by anti-war advocates like Public Enemy’s Chuck D and activist Cindy Sheehan.
Steve Earle began the show with “Rich Man’s War” and “F the CC,” both drawn from his highly political 2004 album, “The Revolution Starts… Now.” Fischerspooner injected a dose of theatricality into the proceedings, as members Casey Spooner and Warren Fischer were decked out in outfits parodying American Revolutionary war uniforms.
Moby strummed an acoustic guitar alongside singer Laura Dawn and guitarist Darin Murphy for a cover of Buffalo Springfield’s anti-war anthem “For What It’s Worth.” Devendra Banhart followed with “Heard Somebody Say” from his most recent studio album “Cripple Crow” (“I heard somebody say that the war ended today/but everybody knows it’s going still… it’s simple/ we don’t want to kill”). He also debuted a new song with lyrics about hearing “the souls of those who are fighting” though “you don’t want to hear of war no more.”
Dance rocker Peaches said she “talks about Bush and talks about Dick,” though probably not in same way the rest of the audience does, before launching into a new song that declared “We want tush/ if we are wrong/ then eat my bush.” She followed with “Two Guys for Every Girl” and “F*** the Pain Away” (occasionally replacing the word “pain” with “war”).
After Chuck D addressed the crowd, condemning the Bush administration for “deluding the citizens with weapons of mass distraction,” Wainwright delivered “Gay Messiah,” “11:11” (a song he “wrote right after 9/11”) and “Liberty Cabbage.” Wainwright finished with a cover of the Leonard Cohen-penned “Hallelujah” on piano and “Over the Rainbow,” alluding to his upcoming In the Sun,” which Stipe released a charity single for Hurricane Katrina victims.
Stipe was later joined by musicians like actress/singer/activist Rain Phoenix and bassist Catherine Popper, as well as 1 Giant Leap collaborators Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman. He debuted “Don’t Talk Crazy,” a song about a husband being sent to war, and “I Have Seen Trouble,” which will be included on 1 Giant Leap’s next album. Iha played a lengthy guitar solo with an E-bow as Stipe sang, “I have been quiet/quiet is good/I have listened/and I understood.”