Tell Us The Truth Tour - Washington, DC 11/25/03
Billy Bragg & Steve Earle
Photo by Emily DeBord
I caught the last stop of the Tell Us The Truth Tour last night at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC and what an event.
First the highlight. REM's Mike Mills led all the performers including Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Tom Morella and others in a rousing version of Neil Young's 'Ohio'.
Mills introduced the song by saying:
"This next song is by someone who has never been afraid to tell the truth."
Playing acoustic guitar, Mills then launched into an angry cover of 'Ohio' and changing the lyrics to:
"Tin soldiers and Bush is coming
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio."
By the end of the song, the audience was singing the chorus and Earle and Bragg were pumping their fists in the air. As they left the stage, several were flashing the peace sign.
It would be quite an evening even without the Neil bonus. Other highlights included, Lester Chambers "People Get Ready", Jill Sobule's 'You Will Never Love Me', Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morella (The Night Watchman) "House Gone Up In Flames", Boots Riley's 'This is For All', Steve Earle's 'Ashes to Ashes' and "John Walker Blue's", and Billy Bragg's 'The Price of Oil'.
Of course, there was a fair amount of criticism from the stage about the impact of media consolidation. With the
Coupled with the politics of fear ("You're all gonna die if don't do what I tell you to do"), the mass media are enabling the polarization of society for its own selfish goals. The media divides the populace on behalf of the politicians who conquer on behalf of their corporate funded elite backers.
The show closed with "The Time Has Come" with all the performers on stage leading the crowd through the chorus. As the crowd filed out of the 3.5 hour show, they were greeted by volunteers with clipboards for a variety of causes.
More on Media Consolidation on Tell Us The Truth Tour.
From PhreshWater.com @ The Orange Peel, Asheville NC 11.15.03 by S. Remington:
"The Tell Us The Truth show rounded out the evening by all the players taking the stage for one last set that started with Lester Chambers belting out a wild version of 'Lets Get It On'. Mike Mills, from R.E.M. then took the lead and rallied the players and crowd through Neil Young's 'Ohio' which the masses took notion to sing aloud in unison, it was a beautiful moment! Just when you thought things would wind down after the players left the stage they reappeared for thrilling encore version of 'The Time Has Come Today' with the crowd cheering along and fists pumping into the air.
It was definitely a great and memorable evening of politically charged music and information!"
More on music's impact on politics.
The new CD from the Tell Us The Truth Tour is out now.
Lots of great tracks, including "Christmas in Washington" by Steve 'Start the Revolution' Earle, "5 Million Ways to Kill a C.E.O." by Lester Chambers, and "Price of Oil" by Billy Bragg. Plus a bunch of other revolutionary tunes.
But my favorite track is "Ohio" performed by REM's Mike Mills along with all of the other tour performers. Lately, there has been a lot of interest in Neil Young's song "Ohio". But I can't really see how the song ties in that clearly into the situation with the election and the state of Ohio. Incidentally, the song is considered to be one of the The top 100 protest songs according to MoJo mag (via Rock and Roll Report).
We attended the final tour stop in Washington, DC last November where some of the tracks were recorded. So that's pretty cool. But it's hard to believe that here we are a year later and still no truth?!
Oh -- and by the way. Although we are in a "post November 2" world, it's more important than ever that they tell us truth. Settle for nothing less.
Preview tracks on Amazon.com - Tell Us the Truth: The Live Concert Recording.