Presidential nominating conventions have a way of turning party leaders into part-time concert promoters.
“We’ve booked outstanding performers and world-famous acts,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus boasted last week, referring to the Republican convention‘s musical line-up. “Everything from pop and rock to country and gospel.”
Organizers of the 2012 Democratic National Convention were determined not to be outdone. “This roster of performances only adds to the excitement building in Charlotte for the historic week ahead of us,” Democratic convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa said. “[B]e ready for quite a show.”
Here’s your side-by-side comparison of the bands playing in Charlotte this week, and the ones that took the stage in Tampa last week.
1) A Tale of two taylors
The Republicans got…
Taylor Hicks: On the last night of the Republican National Convention, Hicks sang Michael McDonald’s 1976 hit “Takin’ It to the Streets.” The American Idol season 5 champion is famous for competently covering Stevie Wonder, being damned by TMZ‘s faint praise, and for his baffling, harmonica-laced cameo on Stephen Colbert’s cover of Rebecca Black’s signature song:
When asked about his performance by the Huffington Post, Hicks got bashful about his politics: “I don’t really talk about my party or political affiliations. I’m an entertainer; that’s what I was invited to do.” (His most political lyric is probably in “The Distance,” which goes, “[s]eems we’ve taken different sides, all caught up in politics and pride.” That is about as middle-of-the-road as it gets.)
And the Democrats got…
James Taylor: Taylor, who grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (roughly a 3-hour car ride from the site of the Democratic convention), arrived in Charlotte to entertain convention-goers on the final day. Taylor also wrote that song that has something to do with North Carolina. Along with marrying Carly Simon and guest-starring on The Simpsons space exploration episode, the singer-songwriter is known for being pretty hilarious in Judd Apatow’s Funny People:
James Taylor is a die-hard liberal; he played on the anti-Bush “Vote for Change” tour in 2004, along with Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, and Pearl Jam. His pet causes include the environment, cancer research, and not destroying rainforests.
2) The Partisan Solo Artists
The Republicans got…
Kid Rock: Standing in for the indefinitely postponed Reagan hologram, Robert James Ritchie performed a 75-minute set outside the GOP convention site last Thursday. During the gig, he ad-libbed the following rap lyrics: “They say Obama is lyin’ / That’s why I’m voting for Romney and Ryan.” (Ironically enough, during the whole performance Rock was wearing a “Made in Detroit” t-shirt that wasn’t actually made in Detroit.)
Kid Rock is also famous for purportedly putting his marriage on the rocks by blowing up at his now ex-wife, Canadian actress/activist Pamela Anderson, over her cameo in Borat.
Here’s footage of a Romney rally in Michigan (where Rock endorsed the Republican candidate), with the heartland rocker singing Romney’s official campaign jingle “Born Free”:
[VIA MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones]