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Rockers Kick Off Vote for Change Tour

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Before 3,000 fans Monday night, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Keb’ Mo’ headlined the initial Vote for Change concert in Seattle, kicking off a series of musical shows that later will spotlight Bruce Springsteen.

“A vote for change is a vote for a stronger, safer, healthier America,” Raitt, 54, said in a statement after her performance. “It is our duty to this beautiful land to let our voices be heard. That’s the reason for the tour.”

Attendees received pamphlets urging them to vote on Nov. 2 and to oppose President Bush’s bid for re-election. As for the concert there was more music than there were messages, with no speeches, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The paper referred to Browne, 55, as “resembling the ageless Dorian Gray,” and quoted him as telling the crowd, before launching into several romantic songs, as well as “Lives in the Balance” and “For America”: “It remains to be seen how many overtly political songs can be sung in a row.”

Keb’ Mo’, who opened the concert, joined Raitt and Browne for the finale, which included Stephen Stills’s “For What It’s Worth.” The Post-Intelligencer’s music writer Bill White lauded the number, saying “it remains the best song about an anti-war demonstration we are ever likely to hear.”

Springsteen and some 20 other acts – including REM, Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band and James Taylor – are due to perform in nearly 40 cities in nine so-called swing states, culminating in a huge Washington, D.C., concert Oct. 11.

Springsteen will make his first appearance Friday in Philadelphia.