Thursday, May 06, 2004
By Roger Friedman
Photo: Mitchell Gerber
The likely Democratic presidential nominee is about to get some big gun help from some major pop stars.
Next week it will be announced, I am told, that Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond will perform a one off-concert for John Kerry. The pair, who had a huge hit many generations ago with “You Don’t Send Me Flowers,” will be sending bouquets of cash Kerry’s way on June 7 in Los Angeles. Streisand isn’t likely to stop there. She performed for Al Gore in the 2000 presidential race and is expected to start pitching in all over the place later this year.
Meantime, New York will reciprocate three days later on June 10 when a gaggle of superstars hits the stage at Radio City Music Hall for Kerry. Expect to see Bette Midler, John Mellencamp, Sheryl Crow, Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg among the many names at that show. (If the latter two are there, Billy Crystal can’t be far behind.)
(Interestingly, I’m told that both Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfeld have each turned down entreaties to host other Kerry fundraising shows this year. “They don’t do political material,” explained a source who tried to corral them.)
But back to Radio City: The New York show could turn out to be something even bigger than currently planned since it’s also the night of the annual Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner and show in Manhattan. This is the big deal show put together by Linda Moran, lyricist Hal David, and producer Phil Ramone, which has gone from small potatoes to big leagues in just three years. This year Stevie Wonder is one of the honorees, which means he could conceivably appear at both events.
Other inductees that night will be politically minded performers such as Al Green, Don McLean and Hall & Oates. Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty is getting the first-ever Starlight Award that night and other prizewinners include Motown’s Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, and Charles Fox (he wrote Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly” and Jim Croce’s “I Got A Name.”)
The organizers of these shows, by the way, are the same team that brought us The Concert for New York immediately after the World Trade Center tragedies. Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein, Infinity Broadcasting’s John Sykes, and Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner will put the New York show together, with Irving Azoff responsible for the west coast production as the trio’s L.A. man. Other concerts have been mentioned as possibilities, with the name of The Eagles coming up way too often.