Rockers Pay Tribute To Billboard Editor
Don Henley, Roger Waters, and John Mellencamp were among the all-star performers who paid tribute to their friend, the late Timothy White, at New York's Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (October 8). The show was the second of two benefits for the family of White, the Billboard editor and author who died suddenly on June 27 at the age of 50. Others on the bill included James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Brian Wilson, Sting, and Jimmy Buffett.
It's estimated that the two concerts--the first was Monday (October 7) at a virtually sold-out FleetCenter in Boston--raised $1.5 million for White's widow, Judy Garlan White, and the couple's twin sons, Alexander and Christopher.
With a house band including drummer Steve Jordan, bassist Willie Weeks, and guitarists Waddy Wachtel and Danny Kortchmar, Wilson kicked off the night and got the nearly sold-out crowd on its feet with a set of Beach Boys classics including "California Girls," "God Only Knows," "Do It Again," "Help Me Rhonda," and "Surfin' U.S.A." Jimmy Buffet followed with "Far Side Of The World," "A Pirate Looks At 40," and "Margaritaville."
Roger Waters then took the stage to thunderous applause and proceeded to run through Pink Floyd�s "Wish You Were Here," the new song "Flickering Flame," and "Comfortably Numb," which saw Henley sharing guitar and vocal duties while Wachtel and Kortchmar traded blistering guitar solos throughout the song.
The mood shifted down a bit as James Taylor came on and did "October Road," "Stop Thinking 'Bout That," "Mexico" (with Buffett), and the lullaby "You Can Close Your Eyes," which featured beautiful vocals from Taylor and Sting.
Sheryl Crow's set included spot-on renditions of her songs "If It Makes You Happy," "Soak Up The Sun," "Home," and her current hit, "Steve McQueen."
Henley, who brought his band along, followed with "How Can I Stop Singing," featuring Taylor, Eagles singer-bassist Timothy B. Schmit, and a choir onstage. Then came the David Gray song "Shine," for which Schmit moved into the choir; "Boys Of Summer"; and a version of Bob Marley's "Get Up Stand Up" with Sting coming on for a verse and the choir backing the song.
After a short pause, Sting returned to the stage for the best-received set of the night, leading off with "Roxanne," then going to "Fields Of Gold," "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You," and "Every Breath You Take."
Mellencamp closed the show with powerful renditions of "Paper In Fire," "Peaceful World" (featuring Heather Headley on the female vocal originally recorded by India.Arie), a radically rearranged "Small Town," "Robert Johnson Blues," and "Pink Houses" with surprise guest Patty Smyth.
All the performers then gathered onstage for the two-song encore of the spiritual standard "This Train Is Bound For Glory" and Sly & the Family Stone's "Everyday People."
Before each artist took the stage, video tributes from each of them played on the arena's big screens. Also included was a video biography of White's life, both professional and personal.
-- Bruce Simon, New York (launch.com)