The Occupy movement is famous for welcoming anyone who wants to join. But you can’t help but wonder if, for campers who’ve endured taunts and snow and pepper spray, some musical guests are more welcome than others. Yes, it’s a thrill to see Philip Glass using the people’s mic at Lincoln Center, but too many of the celebrities who visit OWS seem (at the risk of being uncharitable) to be using its fame for their own good instead of vice-versa. One wonders, for instance, how many impassioned discussions of banking regulations and foreclosure statistics were ever interrupted by the comment, “You know who I’d love to hear right now? Third Eye Blind.”
With that in mind, we offer ten dream concerts for OWS — double bills of music that’s relevant and rousing, from artists (unlike these movement-friendly newcomers) with enough name recognition to draw both fans and media attention to Zuccotti Park, or anywhere else the 99 percent are trying to make themselves heard.
Bruce Springsteen, with opening act Arcade Fire
It’s been decades since deregulation-happy Reaganites proved they can’t parse a lyric by mistaking “Born in the USA” for a jingoistic anthem. But Springsteen kept an eye on the downtrodden even when politicians on both sides thought the world was a bed of rose-scented dollar bills: His Depression-inspired “Ghost of Tom Joad” came out just as tech stocks were creating a nation of ersatz millionaires. Bridging the gap between steelworker balladeer and youngsters who never had a union job to lose is Arcade Fire, whose affinity for the Boss has been often demonstrated.