August 19, 2011 - by Barry Walters, Rolling Stone Magazine
Tom Morello, Jason Mraz join all-star benefit in wake of Japan disaster
"I'm so happy to be here, my dimples are locked," a beaming Bonnie Raitt said during her set at the August 7th all-star concert benefiting MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), the activist group Raitt, Jackson Browne, Graham Nash and John Hall created in 1979 to promote alternatives to nuclear power.
Thirty-two years after they staged five legendary No Nukes shows at Madison Square Garden - with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, James Taylor and others - the foursome reunited at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View California, inspired by the nuclear disaster in Japan. "We saw the accident in Fukushima as an opportunity to reawaken the American people to the dangers of nuclear power," Nash said backstage during the seven-hour benefit. "The earthquake that caused Fukushima happened 100 kilometers offshore. A year ago they found an earthquake fault just a few hundred yards from the Diablo Canyon Power Plant."
The show, which was powered by renewable energy and streamed live online, had a joyfully collaborative vibe.Raitt, Browne, Nash and former Orleans guitarist Hall - who recently served two terms in Congress representing a New York District - were on and off the stage all day, singing and playing with their many guests.
Highlights abounded: The Doobie Brothers jammed on "Listen to the Music" with Raitt, Browne, Nash and David Crosby; Jason Mraz breezed through a medley of "I'm Yours" and Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds"; and Raitt shredded Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" before harmonizing with Crosby and Nash on a haunted version of "Angel From Montgomery."
Following an acoustic set of his folky Nightwatchman material, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello strapped on an electric for the night's heaviest moment, spitting Hendrix-y solos during a revved version of Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad" with Browne and Raitt. "The sort of disaster that happened in Fukushima is inevitable as long as those who make decisions about energy and the planet are doing it for profit," Morello pointed out backstage as No Nukes vets Sweet Honey in the Rock delivered a lovely a capella version of the blues standard "Midnight Special" with Raitt. "I look at an event like today as a little bit of the world that I want to see. It's people coming together in solidarity to get their hands on the wheel of history and turn it to the correct direction.
Crosby, Stills and Nash closed the night, with an energetic set capped by a sing-along on "Teach Your Children" featuring the entire ensemble. "There's a real emotional tug in singing to power and playing in each other's sets," Raitt told Rolling Stone earlier in the day. "Anytime you put your lives aside to come together for a bigger cause, it opens your heart."