Call it a case of feeding the hand that bites you — despite suffering extensive abuse at the hands of Washington, D.C., politicians and media watchdogs earlier in the week, Thursday night a plethora of film and music stars turned up at Radio City Music Hall to fête Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore and running mate Joe Leiberman.
"One thing I could never have dreamed of six weeks ago is that I'd be here at Radio City as the opening act for Bette Midler," quipped Leiberman. That's OK, Joe — when Bette was playing gay bathhouses, she probably never thought she'd share the stage with a vice president.
But Midler's three-song set, featuring duets with '60s sensation Darlene Love on "He's a Rebel" and "River Deep, Mountain High," was only one of a host of musical performances. Eagles members Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Timothy B. Schmit trotted out "Desperado," and Paul Simon's short set made room for topical tunes "America" and "Call Me Al." Sheryl Crow, Jon Bon Jovi, and Lenny Kravitz joined forces for a romp through The Beatles' "Revolution," and Crosby, Stills and Nash wrapped up the evening with the ubiquitous "Teach Your Children."
Singer k.d.lang was also on hand, although she originally declined offers to perform; perhaps she thought it absurd for a Canadian citizen to lend support to an election in which she can't vote? But she turned up to sing "Constant Craving" after a personal invitation from Gore himself, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
The event, which raised $6.5 million for the Democrats, was hosted by three entertainment industry giants: Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Miramax Film's Harvey Weinstein, and VH1's John Sykes. Introducing Leiberman, Weinstein admitted that the candidate "isn't making my job any easier," yet tactfully pronounced him to be "a strong but fair critic of the entertainment industry."
Echoing concerns about adult entertainment fare targeted at children revealed in a Federal Trade Commission report released earlier in the week, Gore told the audience — which included Hollywood stars Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Michael Douglas, and Harrison Ford — "It's wrong to market inappropriate material to children."
Reuters contributed to this report