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Hot Rocks | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

Hot Rocks

My latest "Think Again" column is called “Homeless Hotspots? Reality Bites.”

And my New Nation column is called “Gaddis's Kennan: Strategies of Disparagement.”

Read ‘em and weep.

Got my copy of The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama, yesterday. Amazon has it at 419 pages and $29.95 but it's really 576 pages and $32.95. They're selling it for under twenty bucks. A steal I tells ya..

So Tuesday night I went to the eigth annual benefit for kids’ music programs produced by the City Winery owner Michael Dorf at Carnegie Hall, this one dedicated to the Stones, based on Hot Rocks, 1964-71. It was the best of these shows so far, not including the forty or so minutes that Bruce actually appeared at his. No Stones showed up, Keith-related rumors not withstanding. And Bruce remains the only principal to appear at any of them. But this one surprised and delighted both the spirit and quality of the performances as a well as the fact that it turns out Stones songs can be great even when other people perform (and re-interpret) them.

There were really too many wonderful performances to even begin to do justice to most of them (and a crack house band led by Lenny Kaye). Among the most fun/interesting: 

Peaches, in a tight black hooded jumpsuit, open down to her pipik, doing a nasty of “Heart of Stone”; Juliette Lewis, my old friend from Jay Leno’s couch—“You know a lot of big words,” she told me--who I didn’t know could sing, doing a perfectly credible and rather exciting “Satisfaction” in silver sequined hotpants, screwed-up lyrics not withstanding; Marianne Faithfull with “As Tears Go By” and (a bonus track), “Sister Morphine”; David Johansen, doing “Get Off of My Cloud” at least as well as Jagger could these days; Art Garfunkel’s ethereal “Ruby Tuesday”; Rosanne Cash’s “Gimme Shelter,” Jackson Browne’s “Let's Spend the Night Together,” Steve Earle’s “Mother’s Little Helper,” were all sterling. The opening, TV on the Radio with a choir from Young Audiences New York doing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” was moving and thrilling in equal parts.

OK, I could go on, Taj Mahal’s “Honky Tonk Woman,” Ronnie Spector’s “Time is On My Side,” but you get the point.

Sorry, that’s all we got that week. Reed is away or something. 

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