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The Blue & Gray Press | September 26, 2017

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Rock the Vote in Richmond: Beastie Boys, Jack Johnson Urge the Youth to Vote

BY TRICIA CALLAHAN

The Beastie Boys headlined a concert in Richmond on Tuesday, Oct. 29 that hoped to get young people from Virginia to the polls Nov. 4.

The overhead projected a huge megaphone saying “Get Out and Vote 08” and the 6,000 who attended left with not only a desire to vote but a strange inkling that every artist wanted you to vote Democratic. Some even mentioned that they had marked Obama on their early ballots.

Wearing a KISS t-shirt, tights and big gold 80s earrings, Santogold was first to the stage. Her wardrobe only added to the confusion of the music she was about to deliver. Although her name is far from being flashed on Broadway any time soon, her retro reggae rap seemed to coax the crowd to swing their hips. To add to the amusement, two dancers stood to the right and left of her in gold MC Hammer-like shirts and pulled off alien-like dance moves, often matching the wild rhythm of Santogold’s songs.

Next in the line-up was Norah Jones, offering her smooth melodies to calm everyone down after the opening performance. She opened with “Come Away with Me,” and the crowd buzzed at the sweetness of her voice. She sang the most profound song of the night, “My Dear Country,” even changing the last lines of the song to fit the event perfectly.

“Next week hopefully we’ll all be happy to find a new song I can sing on election day,” she said.
Jack Johnsons’ laid-back rhythms helped the audience stretch back into their imaginary lounge chairs on the sandy beaches of Hawaii. He began his set with “Gone,” which holds a powerful message. He wants people to realize that things such as politics and making a difference are more important than material things: “Cars, phones and diamond rings, bling bling, but those are only removable things.”

Getting the crowd excited seemed to be like second nature to Sheryl Crow. Moving from one corner of the stage to the next, Sheryl Crow effectively got everyone clapping and cheering. Her song “A Change Would Do you Good” seem to hold a whole new meaning when performed—considering Obama’s campaign slogan is “Change,” it was easy to see where her allegiance lay.

After complaining to the crowd about the gas prices and the success of Exxon, Crow sang “Gasoline” with re-occurring quotable “Gasoline will be free,” a dreamer’s perspective to many. Sheryl Crow was also the most vocal about the reasons behind the concert.

“I have to believe that we have enough strength to change the course of our nation,” she said. “I have to believe that war never solved a [darn] thing. We’re going to be aware, aware, aware.”
The Beastie Boys set started with their amazing disc jockey, “Mix Master Mike,” who got the crowd pumped for the headliner. When Mike D, Adam “MCA” Yauch and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz stepped onstage, the crowd rocked with overwhelming screams and applause. After their performance of “Sure Shot,” they reminded everyone that the 2004 election would have been very different if all registered voters had gone out to vote.

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