GLT's Culture Commentator: Summer Rock Acts Protest President Trump | WGLT

GLT's Culture Commentator: Summer Rock Acts Protest President Trump

Sep 11, 2017

He had to teach and didn't have time for a summer vacation, so GLT's Culture Commentator spent some summer time catching up with rock heroes and icons. And he saw a thread in all of the concerts. 

Illinois State University English Professor and regular Sound Ideas guest Bill McBride caught Paul McCartney and The Dead and Company in June, George Thorogood at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts in August and Billy Joel, also in August.

McBride calls the protests "Trump nods." 

"No one called Trump out. You don't know who your audience is. You don't want to alienate someone," said McBride. "They (Dead and Company) ended with U.S. Blues, 'I have the Uncle Sam Blues.'"

McCartney performed a song about nuclear war and the song "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five," written in 1973. 

"It's an apocalyptic song: 'No one left alive in 19-hundred 85,'" said McBride. "The notion of a nuclear war that we're all contemplating a little more closely these days. I thought that was a potential nod, anyway."

George Thorogood's "Trump nod" came at the very beginning of his show in August at the BCPA.

"With the lights down, he played the entire 1964 Barry McGuire song 'Eve of Destruction,'" said McBride. "He gave over that 2 and a half minutes of his show and it just makes the audience wonder why? I think I have an answer."

Billy Joel performs at the Inaugural concert at SunTrust Park, new home of the Atlanta Braves on Friday, April 28, 2017, in Atlanta.
Credit Robb Cohen / Invision/AP

Billy Joel has received attention for wearing a Star of David at his concerts following white supremacist marches and counter protests in Charlottesville. McBride said he acknowledged Trump during his Aug. 11 Wrigley Field show.

"He did the 'West Side Story' song 'Maria,' but he redid the lyrics to 'Korea.' That's a clear indication of the businesses going on with North Korea and the rattling of nuclear sabres," said McBride.

McBride's next concert is Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys fame, on Oct. 8 in Peoria. Wilson is performing the entire "Pet Sounds" album. McBride thinks Wilson will stick closely to the album and avoid a Trump nod.

You can also listen to GLT's full interview with McBride:

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