Sadly, gun violence is part of our everyday lives, and the statistics are alarming: since 1970 more Americans have died from gun violence than from any war. With 33,000 lives lost to gun violence annually, we can talk about an epidemic, a civil right issue, or even a public health issue. All these terms and sentences were heavily mentioned yesterday night during the Concert Across America To End Gun Violence in Los Angeles. This was part of 350 other similar events happening nationwide on September 25th, showcasing more than 1,000 artists and performers.
Since it is LA, the event was happening in the most unusual and classy place, on the rooftop of the Standard hotel downtown LA, the type of location with a bar, a relaxing lounge next to a swimming pool, that makes you believe you are a star for a night. And I was a bit star-struck to be in such a cool place, getting so close to the artists who were performing… and the artists kept on coming!
Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier was the host of the evening, while, throughout the night, actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. mentioned a few thrilling facts about gun violence and different ways to change things. LA City Councilmember Paul Krekorian addressed the subject of the night, reminding us that music has always brought people together, followed by Anthony Coda Lopez (Gays Against Gun Violence), and the glorious Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, which stayed on stage to back up Alabama-native singer songwriter Sebastian Kole. All the performers were emotional considering the theme of the night, they were many people in the audience who had been touched by gun violence, who had lost love ones to gun violence, like egos woman who had lost her child, representing so many others across the country. Many artists had chosen poignant love songs and Sebastian Kole’s soulful melancholic pop, brought calm, peace and emotion, accentuated by a big-voiced rendition of America the Beautiful’ and a one of his songs addressing violence. Carnie Wilson took her high heels off – and it was so hot that I don’t blame her – and sang one of her dad’s songs, probably the most beautiful one (according to Paul McCartney) the Pet Sounds famous ‘God Only Knows’
X Ambassadors’ Sam Harris played an acoustic ‘Renegades’ and the emotional ‘Unsteady’, giving to the people the band’s greatest hits, what many of the other performers also did. Ryan Cabrera also played two of his poppy dynamic songs, literally putting the house on fire, then bringing a big hook with ‘On The Way Down’ – yes, the guy is good looking and a young pop sensation according to Kevin Frazier – then special secret guest Moby truly rocked the place surrounded by a group of 5 female choristers, ‘Extreme Ways’ was loud – he asked a few times if he wasn’t too loud, but I thought he was simply great – ‘Trouble so Hard’ was soulful and uplifting and sing-along ‘The Perfect Life’ had never fitted so well, at the top of this splendid location. He sounded good, with a few sincere words for people who had experienced loss due to gun violence, and I still don’t know why some people dislike Moby, up close an personal he sounded like the most honest and down-to-earth guy, and I still want to visit this new vegan place he has opened in my neighborhood.
And talking about coolness and un-coolness, ex-Eagles Don Felder was the headliner of this very special event, and very probably responsible for the absolutely no filming policy… if people were unrestrainedly shooting the show using their phones, the policy was strictly reinforced during Don Felder’s performance and a large sign reminded us filming was prohibited. Whatever, Don Felder still looks like a guitar god at almost 69, with a Californian tan and skinny white jeans and a killer smile. Very few people stayed indifferent to classics like ‘Take it Easy’ and especially ‘Hotel California’ played with a double neck guitar. No matter how many times you have heard this song, there was a special magic to hear it, played at the top of a Californian hotel with this Santa Ana warm breeze.
There is a website which archives all the deaths due to gun violence across the US each day and it is a very sad and horrific vision as there are victims every day, Concerts Across America to End Gun Violence are an attempt to put an end to this epidemic,… There is no doubt the congress has blood in its hands when it accepts NRA money, Ed Begley made a very good point when he told us we have better protections for the misuse of our phones than our guns,… how is this possible?
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