When Will They Ever Learn?

Scott wrote yesterday about the deplorable Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday. Last night, there was a birthday bash in honor of the old Stalinist at Madison Square Garden. A number of the usual suspects performed:

A star-studded medley of musical guests played tribute to Pete Seeger at a benefit concert for the legendary folk singer’s 90th birthday. Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Ani DiFranco and John Mellencamp were among the 40 musicians performing in Madison Square Garden for the Sunday night show….

Springsteen was the headliner. This was a line from his introduction of Seeger:

At 90, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country’s illusions about itself.

Speak for yourself, Bruce. I suspect it would be hard to find a group of people with more illusions about themselves than Seeger, Springsteen and the rest of the gang who performed last night. It would have been hard to take:

Most of the evening consisted of multiple artists performing together with one highlight coming before the intermission–Seeger joined by Harris, Joan Baez, Billy Bragg and others for a spiritual version of “We Shall Overcome.”

Arlo Guthrie, son of folk legend Woody Guthrie, was joined by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.”

Tom Morello was the evening’s interloper, performing four numbers with different artists. The most impressive was his duet with Springsteen near the end of the show. The pair traded verses on Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” The former Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist also performed “John Henry,” with Tom Paxton, and “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” with Taj Mahal.

Dave Matthews told the crowd: “The first concert that my mother took me to was Pete Seeger.” Then he launched into a searing version of “Whiskey Rye Whiskey.”

Seeger and the rest of the evening’s performers came on stage for an extended cover of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is My Land.”

The evening evidently passed without anyone asking any uncomfortable questions, like: what, exactly, is it about a life devoted to Communism that is so admirable?


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