Rockin’ Out the Vote at the Showbox

So, last Monday night I was rocking out to Stone Gossard, Mike McCready and Tom Morello at the Showbox at the Market for their Get out the Vote concert (even though staying out past 1:00 in the morning isn’t the best way to get out the vote, especially when you still vote at a polling booth like I do).  What can I say?  The price and line up were right.  Sleep, who needs sleep?

I dragged along a couple of my friends from our local Amnesty International group, Merri Ann and JoJo (who saved a place early in the line and got us up close to the band, being who he is). 

They started off the evening with Pearl Jam’s new video of the 2004 Vote for Change Tour.  Needless to say, the filmmakers’ enthusiasm dwindled after that election.  It was great to see it now (and evidently, the only way we’re going to see either Eddie or the full Pearl Jam line up play in Seattle these days, ironically enough).


Then Governor Chris Gregoire kicked things off.  Glad to see her win against Rossi.  Jim McDermott came out to speak later.  Like most mortal politicians, they pop in before bands or between sets.  Only Obama can have Stevie Wonder open for him!


Stone played with his Hank Williams tribute band, The Hank Khoir.  He was having a lot of  fun with it, including honky tonk versions of the Rolling StonesStart Me Up and Prince’s 1999.

Here’s the two steppin’ version of Start Me Up:

Mike McCready tore it up once more with his Jimi Hendrix tribute band, Shadow’86. One of his band mates making his Ralph Nader support clear, on the back of his t-shirt and stickers on his pants pockets, playing mostly with his back to us! 

A little confession, I was watching a live video link (posted on the Pearl Jam message board) of one of Mike’s Shadow ‘86 tributes (that I was shut out of seeing live) instead of listening to Joe Biden during the Democratic Convention.  Admittedly, Joe probably can’t play guitar behind his back, or dress a moose (don’t try both at once, now), but I’ll have to check on what a Vice President does and get back to you about whether that seems to be an important qualification to Joe Six Pack or Joe the Plumber. . . 

Fortunately, the American public seems to think the job entails more important things.  Maybe Hey Joe would be more appropriate right now, but here’s Mike and Shadow ‘86 playing Voodoo Child (with a behind the back solo from Mike):

I’m not that into hip hop, but loved Boots Reilly’s energy.  I’m sorry to say I missed the name of the comedian, who’s take on King 5’s Jim Foreman’s misadventures being put out in extreme weather and WTO conditions was very funny. It made me feel more forgiving of Jim’s “batten down the hatches”, fearful across the street coverage of the demonstrators demanding their rights at the jail to know Jim had a very bad day at WTO (hopefully not as bad as the comedy bit). 

More some other time, but I get tired of WTO being called a riot.  I was out in it wandering around for, I think an two and a half hours after our boss let us out early, looking for my friends from Portland’s Northwest Veteran’s for Peace up for the day before meeting them at the original time and place (before I had a cell phone, though that was one of the demonstrators tools).  Do I look like I’d survive in a riot?


Okay, my most recent picture is with a clown statue. . .

Fortunately, I didn’t get any of the worst of it that day (although like everyone else I breathed in the toxic cloud of various tear gas/pepper spray and whatever other noxious crap they aimed at the demonstrators), but got quite the civics lesson when we tried to get city council to hold the police accountable at two marathon hearings to the wee hours of the morning afterward.


Tom Morello.  I’ve heard about this guy ever since I missed his show for Amnesty International’s Annual General Meeting in Portland in 2006.  In fact, I heard about that show twice this week from Amnesty members (not including Merri Ann, who told me what I missed at the time, and turned to me at the show Monday and said, hey, isn’t that the guy who played the Portland AGM?). I don’t remember him as headlining the show, but he’s the one I hear about. Now I understand why.

He tore into songs like One Man Revolution, Whatever it Takes, The Lights Go Out in Spidertown and this updated for the Bush Administration version of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap:

God, what a hell of the last 8 years.  Did you ever think this would happen in America – rendition, torture, elimination of habeas corpus?  At least, done out in the open?  That is the problem.  Our hands have really been dirty for some time. Another war for oil?  Well, that one’s expected (and again, that’s the problem).

Then, Katrina, did you ever think we would leave Americans stranded while the flood waters rose? 

Midnight in the City of Destruction:

I lost my guitar, my home, my hope and my good fortune
I lost my grandfather, two neighbors and my friend
I pray that God himself will come and drown the president
If the levees break again
Now we’re standin’ at the crossroads waitin’ for instruction
And it?s midnight in the city of destruction

Guantanamo again:

There’s a secret prison somewhere south of 60
And in that secret prison there’s a secret cell
And the prisoner’s bound and burned, blinded and beaten
Still that secret prisoner keeps his secret well
Turn out the lights ’cause for one night that’s enough, son
It’s midnight in the city of destruction

I needed an exorcism of the Bush years.  Scary thing it, it isn’t quite over yet.  What more can he do wrong?

Oh, yeah, the economy in shreds.  Yes, Tom did do Bruce Springsteens The Ghost of Tom Joad, and he really did it justice.  Not to forget Tom’s touching tribute to his Aunt who he wrote Saint Isabelle in honor of.

Both the comedian and Tom joked about the people that come up to him to tell him they beat him at Guitar Hero.  Now, Tom didn’t seem to broken up about this.  I’m thinking he probably makes a few dimes off of it (well, hopefully more).  But, just in case you’re tired of those wannabes, Tom, I have the solution: challenge them in real life to – Guitar Hero: The Reality Show.  Oh, yes, that terrible trend in America that thrives on someone’s public humiliation.  I’d think less of you, Tom.  But I want my cut for coming up with the idea!


Tom brought some members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War up on stage to join him and all the other bands for the finale of This Land is Your Land.  He described the scene in Denver, at the Democratic National Convention.  The police with all their pepper bullet or whatever noxious or injurious weapons drawn.  All the other demonstrators fell back.  The veterans held their ground. In formation. 15 cops walked away.  They couldn’t fire on the veterans.  Then the vets started marching – toward the police line.  The police were a little freaked out.  It wouldn’t look good, firing at veterans.  It’d be like Chicago ‘68.  At the last minute, Obama’s people intervene, and agree to talk to them and that Obama will consider their opinions about ending the Iraq War.

I agree with what Tom said near the end, about it still not being over, that even with Obama in office we still need to keep pushing.  Obama is going to be such an improvement – especially over the past 8 years.  He’s not perfect on all issues, and he’s going to need reminding on others.  You can’t be complacent. 

Oh, yeah.  I almost forgot.  Did I vote?  I mean rockin’ past 1, catching the bus around 1:30.  Actually, then sending off messages of concern about a local human rights case too close to home both before going to bed and getting up a little early.  I think I might have got 2 1/2 hours of sleep. 

I did vote my final time in a polling place – needless to say, not first thing in the morning.  After work, on a pouring rain night, I got off at the post office, walked to the church my polling place was moved to and found it pretty packed where it used to be a ghost town.  I filled my ballot out on a table (where people were studiously going through their voter guides; I already had my cheat sheet from looking at it at home).  I walked over to the machine you feed it into, where my final polling place vote was actually recorded by a television camera. (No doubt, saying – last of the dinosaurs, check out that hippy hat!)

Then the beauty of it being called so early – we finally won!  Seriously, lack of perfection or not, this was a victory for the people, who mobilized and fought like they never have before.  Now, can we stay mobilized and not go complacent again?


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