18 August 2004

Production Issues (Updated)

Update===>The venue for the concert has been moved to Detroit's Cobo Arena. How a venue designed as a hockey stadium differs from one designed as a basketball stadium with regard to the aforementioned "production issues" is anyone's guess. I'm just sayin', that's all. Read it here: 'Vote for Change' Springsteen show moves to Cobo.

Original post:

Good. I needed a chuckle today. Front page, above the fold, above the masthead of today's issue of the Moscow on the Huron's edition of Pravda was this headline:

The touted concert by the lengendary Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band was supposed to be part of the "Vote for Change" series of concerts (in their words) "working to unseat President Bush". According to the article, "production issues" have scratched the Crisler Arena as the venue.

I opined on this concert previously, as you loyal and valued readers will remember. One must wonder what these "production issues" could possibly be, to forego the opportunity to speak out against President Bush and to unseat the evil Republicans.

Some excerpts from the article and commentary:

"Nothing is final, but it does not appear now that Ann Arbor will work because some of the production issues we're dealing with are incompatible with the building at this time," (Phil) Ober (a volunteer organizer and promoter for the show) said Friday.

The size and design of the stage, floor seating and placement of lighting and sound equipment required by the artists are some of the issues the artists' production staff had concerns with at Crisler, he added.

"The building is designed as a basketball venue and the concert production is solely devised by the artists, who carry their own stage. There are bound to be some issues," said Ober, who would not rule out the possibility of some changes being made to keep Ann Arbor in the running.

"When you're dealing with an event of this magnitude there is a degree of flexibility necessary," he said. "It would be very sad to move the venue because we desperately wanted to have it there, but if we physically can't make it work it, we can't make it work."

When this monumentous concert undertaking was announced earlier this month, Bonnie Raitt vocalized that "This is the most important election of our lifetime." Other artist expected to participate voiced similar opinions. If getting john kerry elected is so important, you'd think the artists would do whatever it takes to make this thing work. Look back on rock and roll history, to the VietNam era, where the music was the focal point of "stop the war / oust The Man": you then had artist bent on protest (see also Guthrie, Arlo / Dylan, Bob / Seeger, Pete) setting up their acts in coffee houses, on street corners; gigantic concerts were organized in open fields in upstate New York (in the rain). Now, "It's important, sure, but we can't use our stage set-up in a basketball arena" BullShit. If they were true believers, the response would be "What size is the stage? How much room do we have to work with?" They'd do the math, set up what would fit, plug it in and turn it up to eleven and bash some bush.

Proceeds will be earmarked for America Coming Together, a national voter-mobilization project whose goal, as stated on its Web site, is to defeat Bush and Republican allies.

Maybe the "production issues" are that America Coming Together can't produce enough cocaine to secure the artists. From my commentary on the previous article:

"All funds raised beyond expenses will go to America Coming Together."

All funds beyond expenses" indeed. Have you seen the cost of cocaine lately? "America Coming Together" is going to get stuck with one hell of a bar tab.

"The interest and response we got was huge in terms of phone calls and e-mails," said Linda Siglin, coordinator for U-M's Office of Major Events. "It's always disappointing when you have what appears to be a successful event and things don't work out at the last minute."

Both Siglin and Ober said the university was not a factor in the discussions to move the concert.

No, I'm sure it wasn't. They both said so. The University of Michigan may lean so far to the left that they almost topple over, but they aren't stupid. There's currently a rift between U of M and the Bush Administration over some stem cell / partial birth research data; this could be the U's attempt to make nice, as they have their snout deeper in the trough than most.

Sure there was a huge interest: who wouldn't be interested in seeing Springsteen, John Fogerty, and Bonnie Raitt in one big show. What fails to be quantified is how much of the "interest and response" was motivated by the music vs. that what was motivated by the politics.


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