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"Musicians United..." planned no other activities except future adver-
A large group of musicians, including Bruce Springsteen , Neil Young, R.E.M. ,
Pearl Jam and the Dixie Chicks toured together in battleground states under the
banner of Vote for Change . The tour, in October of 2004, was meant to stimulate
voter turn-out in support of removing President Bush from office. Some have
theorized that the lack of momentum with these efforts is that while they were
firmly against a second term for President Bush, they failed to offer an alternative
vision that went much further than opposition to the President.
Despite this level involvement and the general backlash against any musician
or celebrity speaking their voice in opposition to the war, the response by musi-
cians was far more tepid than expected. Concerns over potential protests during
the Grammy Awards performances in 2003 led to rumors that CBS executives
warned those scheduled to perform that they should not, in any way, use the
Grammy stage as a soapbox for political expression. This rumor turned out to be
false, yet during the awards ceremony, there were no direct antiwar references
made by musicians at all.
The Aladdin Resort and Casino is an example of the "bigness" that typifies modern
day Las Vegas it is massive and huge on any and every scale. The complex
includes 2,567 guest rooms, a shopping mall with 140 stores, 75,000 square feet of
convention space, six restaurants, two pools, an in-house wedding chapel, and
more than 135,000 square feet of casino space; all occupying a total of 35 acres.
Aladdin also has three performance venues; the largest is the 7,000 capacity
Aladdin Theater (popular for sporting and concert events) which is one of the
highest grossing venues in all of Las Vegas. It has hosted such musical acts as
Sting, Lenny Kravitz , ZZ Top, Mary J. Blige, and Elton John .
On Saturday, July 17, 2004, the Aladdin had booked veteran songstress Linda
Ronstadt . The performance was billed as part of a "Greatest Hits Tour" with
Ronstadt accompanied by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
By the time Ronstadt took the stage that evening things were already on rocky
footing. She had been quoted in the Las Vegas Review-Journal making disparaging
comments about Las Vegas, prompting a few dozen concertgoers to request
refunds for their tickets. Additionally, Ronstadt herself was upset with the venue's