Inauguration Coverage: Weir and Hart Play for Franken
Bob Weir and Mickey Hart shared the stage at a high-priced benefit for Minnesota Senator-hopeful Al Franken Sunday afternoon. The longtime bandmates, who will perform with the reformed Dead at Barack Obamas Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball Tuesday, played a short, spirited set at Washington’s Willard Hotel for a group of Franken supporters who paid a reported $1,000-per-plate for the intimate brunch-time event. Weir and Harts brief acoustic set consisted of the Grateful Deads Friend of the Devil, the traditional Stealin’, Buddy Hollys Not Fade Away and the Grateful Deads Ripple.
According to Minnesotas Star Tribune, the event was a benefit for the Franken Recount Fund, which is currently soliciting contributions as high as $12,300, more than double the normal limit for federal campaign contributions. Franken took the contested Senate seat by only a few hundred votes in one of the most heated Senate races in recent memory. As of press time, Frankens primary opponent, incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, plans to challenge the former Saturday Light Live writers victory in court.
Franken, a longtime Deadhead, first saw the Grateful Dead after graduating from Harvard in 1973 and helped bring the band to Saturday Night Live in 1978. In 1986, Franken and his former writing partner Tom Davis paid further tribute to the group by titling their film One More Saturday Night, and, The Dead returned the favor by inviting the comedy team appear the bands Grateful Dead: Ticket to New Year’s Eve Concert film. In addition, the satirical commentator often used the bands music as the bumper for his Air America Radio talk show program.
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