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less than a month after the controversy surrounding comments made by the Dixie
Chicks .
While this was happening, Rocky Mountain News music critic Mark Brown was
up in the press box finishing his review of the show, which was due back at the
paper before the concert was over. In his review, published the next day, he praised
the show (giving it a grade of "A-"); he even borrowed a quote from Led Zeppelin
vocalist Robert Plant: "a great voice and a great melody can still carry the day."
4
In his article, Brown acknowledged Vedder's drinking, noting that he was "in
good humor throughout." Brown did note Vedder's antiwar exchange preceding
"Do the Evolution," as well as similar antiwar comments made by Sleater-Kinney ,
noting that both were met with mixed reactions.
Brown included no mention of the "Bushleaguer " performance or any reaction
from the crowd.
"I really didn't see it very well," Brown said in a telephone interview for this
report. "I was up in the press box finishing my piece. I did hear `Bushleaguer ,' saw
the mask and jacket, saw him put it on the mic stand, and saw him dancing
around. I really didn't think anything of it."
5
After Brown filed his review, he headed back to his seat and was approached
by a fellow concertgoer.
6
"This guy said to me, `Did you see what happened?'" Brown remembered. "I
said I didn't that I'd seen the mask and the jacket but was too far away to tell
what was going on. Then the fan told me that Vedder had impaled the Bush mask.
He said he was offended and was leaving the concert as a result. He told me a
bunch of others were leaving for the same reason."
Brown said that he did some checking around, but still wasn't sure if there was
a story there.
"The next day my editor said to me, `When was the last time you saw people
leave a concert because of political statements?' I said, `Never.' So, we decided to
report it."
Two days following the review, Brown published a column, entitled "Concert-
goers Jam Exits After Anti-Bush Display," reporting on what he perceived to be a
significant number of attendees leaving the concert in protest of Vedder's routine
and its implied violence towards the President. In the article, Brown wrote that
"dozens" of "incensed fans" walked out of the concert after Vedder "impaled" the
mask on the mic stand.
Brown quoted Keith Zimmerman of Denver: "When he was sharing his politi-
cal views in a fairly benign manner supporting our troops, opposing policy
that's OK. When he takes what looks like the head of George Bush on a stick, then