Danny Glover introduced Ed, with a really nice summary of the money PJ has donated (over $2 million to various charities, and a recently organized foundation who plans to donate $500,000 to grassroots causes every two years. Wow.) In an incredibly awkward moment, Mr. Glover called Ed "Eddie Velder," and heard relentless taunts from the crowd. At this point, Mr. Glover explained he was dyslexic and had "been laughed at before." It was a really odd moment, actually, and while I felt terrible for Mr. Glover, it really took the wind out of the crowd's sails. Ed had a little catching up to do...
Ed emerged with the acoustic and the uke in hand ... right on. I was hoping for more than just "Soon Forget" and "Times," and I got it. Firstly, let me say that the reaction Ed recieved was equal to, if not more enthusiastic than the reaction Nader recieved. Strange, but positive for Ed. I was front row, center, and had been anticipating this, when a dozen people rushed in with their cameras to take pictures. All of the apologies and "excuse me's" in the world don't help. Take your picture and get out of my way. Please don't dawdle.
Ed first announced that he wanted to say hi to all of the "compassionate conservatives in the room," which killed. He wondered where they were, and then mentioned they were probably watching the Blue Angels (the fleet of planes performing in Seattle that weekend) "work their magic by turning costly fuel into air pollution ... it's amazing." He then went on a rant about how there is no such thing as a compassionate conservative, closing with "Show me a compassionate conservative and I'll show you a well-fed egomaniac," or something close. Anyway, Ed seemed to have some trouble getting the uke in his monitor and over the PA, so he suggested playing both into the mic they had set up for him, mumbling (audibly and SARCASTICALLY for those who aren't too good at picking that sort of thing up), "it's just a rally," to huge laughs and applause.
He preceeded "Soon Forget" with the same Paul Allen speech he gave last time he was in the Rose Garden, and made numerous comments about the EMP in Seattle and how Paul Allen's funny in that "He gives you something, and then he makes you pay for it." Ed mixed up the lyrics a bit, lost his way, reminded us "it's just a rally," and moved on. He absolutely killed. The uke gets set down, the acoustic gets picked up and we get the Lennon song "Just Gimme Some Truth," which Ed NAILED. After the song, he mentioned that there was a line about "no son of Tricky Dicky" and how badly he wanted to change it to "no son of Georgie Porgie," but had forgotten. It's the thought that counts.
"Patriot" was next, and at this point, people started singing along and really getting into it ... but, I was not ready to hear what came next. "Patriot" didn't really end, so much as it meshed into ... well ... I had debated missing the rally to go see Patti Smith with Sleater-Kinney in Seattle, but skipped it, basically because the rally was closer and cheaper. Who knew I'd get my cake and eat it too? Ed played Smith's "People Have the Power," and he did it justice. He suggested that this might be a good one to sing along to, and those of us who knew the words followed suit. Everyone joined in on the chorus (it's pretty easy to catch on to, four words). Not surprisingly, Ed was met with a standing ovation. We remained standing as Ed remarked that the John Lennon song was about getting the truth, and he wanted to introduce a man who simply was the truth ... with that he handed us to Ralph.
Nader spoke for close to an hour, touching base on everything from the election to "super-doppler radar," which apparently really creases him. This was not the first time I've heard him speak, so I had heard many of the points before. Those who were "rookies" got a very solid, detailed speech about exactly what it is to be an activist, and how we need to be active on ALL levels. I'd say Ed probably recieved the biggest reaction, but the folks around me were basically PJ groupies (prepare for brief rant), which really ended up getting on my nerves. It's fine if people were drawn to the rally by Ed (attendance was close to 7500), and it's fine if people came ONLY to see Ed. But, for God's sake, be respectful. After Ed's performance, two kids in THE FRONT ROW walked out, just as Nader was taking the stage, to go get hot dogs and kit kats. I kid you not. This man is the keynote speaker, not to mention one of few real heroes left in our country, and these people can't wait 45 minutes for something to eat? Besides, it's not like they ran off to get a top surloin. These were Rose Garden hot dogs and kit kat bars. I beg of anyone who reads this, and is thinking of attending any of the other rallies (Ralph mentioned there will be more, and Ed will appear at others, if not all), please show some respect to Mr. Nader. He's earned it. End mini-rant.
© 2001 Kasey Anderson