NEW YORK (Billboard) - As primary and caucus voters go to
the polls in 24 states on Super Tuesday (February 5), a wave of
artists as disparate as the Grateful Dead, Will.I.Am, OK Go and
members of Pearl Jam are rallying support for Democratic
presidential nominee Barack Obama.
On Monday (February 4), the Grateful Dead reconvened for
the first time since 2004 at San Francisco's 2,400-capacity
Warfield Theater for Deadheads for Obama, a concert that sold
out within minutes of going on sale February 1.
Surviving Dead members Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bob Weir
took the stage for an 18-song set following a video message
from Obama taped specifically for the event. Iclips.net had a
streaming video feed of the event while Sirius Satellite Radio
carried the audio on the dedicated Grateful Dead Channel.
There are more than 400 Democratic delegates at stake in
California, one of the states holding a primary Tuesday.
In New York, where nearly 300 Democratic delegates will be
allotted, OK Go and a reunited Shudder To Think led a Barack
Rock show aimed at getting younger voters to the polls. The
Bowery Ballroom concert also included sets by Joan As Police
Woman, countrified Brit rockers Alberta Cross, comedians
Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain (performing
as Stella), plus a brief guest appearance by "Knocked Up" actor
On Sunday night, Stevie Wonder performed briefly at an
Obama campaign stop at UCLA.
In the realm of recorded endorsements, Black Eyed Peas'
Will.I.Am gathered Common, Herbie Hancock, John Legend,
Scarlett Johansson and others for "Yes We Can," a song and
video inspired by and set to a Barack Obama stump speech.
Directed by Jesse Dylan (son of Bob Dylan), the video features
a split screen of the celebrities speak-singing the chorus "yes
we can" and clips of Obama saying the same phrase during a
Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready and
Matt Cameron, meanwhile, posted "Rock Around Barack" to
PearlJam.com. The song, a retooling of the 50's rock classic
"Rock Around the Clock," comes days after the site posted a
clip of Cameron playing drums on the Obama-inspired track
"Fired Up and Ready to Go!" by Seattle's Bergevin Brothers and
the Total Experience Gospel Choir.
Electronica artist Daedelus' side project FMB joined the
chorus of support for Obama, releasing a song called "Obama" on
Monday (February 4).
Instead of a musical tribute, rapper Q-Tip issued a press
release that said, in part, "I am endorsing Barack Obama
because I feel that we can benefit greatly from a leader that
offers sound judgment and experience rooted in the lives of