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Volume 91, Issue 25

Thursday, October 9, 1997

about face


Artists band together for agriculture

©Dan Bursic/Gazette
TO ALL THE GIRLS BECK HAS LOVED BEFORE. The odd pairing of Willie Nelson and Beck perform "Peach Picking in Georgia" at Farm Aid '97.

By Dan Bursic

Gazette Writer

"NO FACTORY FARMS" was the chant led by Neil Young on Saturday night in Tinley Park at the New World Music Theatre just outside Chicago. Young spoke out against the environmental hazards caused by factory farms and told young people they should eat organic food. He lectured the crowd between his acoustic set which featured "Helpless," "Long May You Run," and "Mother Earth" played on a rusty old pipe organ.

Young is one of the co-founders of Farm Aid, along with Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and other musical artists. The show, originally scheduled to take place in Dallas, Texas, was canceled due to poor ticket sales, yet managed to sell-out in the new location with only 17 days to prepare. Farm Aid '97 had an impeccable line-up and was televised live nationally by TNN, raising $600,000 for family farmers.

The partying crowd was treated to an Indian summer afternoon. Solid opening sets were done by Nashville newcomer Chris Knight, Dean Miller (country great Roger Miller's son) and Mary Cutrufello, a wild guitarist/vocalist from Houston. Billy Ray Cyrus danced with the Dennis Alley's Indian wisdom dancers while playing "Achy Breaky Heart."

Steve Earle and The V-Roys rocked the crowd with "Copper Head Road" and fed them "Here I Am" – a track from their new album.

Beck pushed aside his turntable and brought out a slide guitar and fiddle, for his all-bluegrass/country set.

John Fogarty brought the crowd to its feet and kept them there as they called for an encore. Fogarty's unbelievable set included a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Green River," "Suzie Q," and "I Put A Spell On You."

The Dave Matthews Band brought out their huge following and put them into a frenzy as they closed their set with "Ants Marching." The set also included "Tripping Billies," "Too Much," and "Crash."

A short set by The Allman Brothers included the Grateful Dead's "Franklin's Tower" as an intro to "Blue Sky" and jammed out "Midnight Rider."

John Mellencamp's high energy performance featured timeless hits such as "Small Town," "Jack and Diane," and "Crumblin Down."

Better late than never, by the time Nelson came on to do his set it was past the concert's curfew. But Farm Aid decided to pay a local fine and kept the show going. "Whiskey River" was Nelson's first from a 30-minute set. The grand finale brought out Young, Earle and others to sing "On The Road Again." Nelson left the stage by calling Farm Aid '97 "the best one yet."

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997