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Led by Don Henley, Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks, the newly formed Recording Artists Coalition made a big splash with four huge, sold-out "Concerts for Artist’s Rights" in the L.A. area on the eve of the Grammys.

RAC ON A ROLL

Four Recording Artist Coalition Shows In L.A. Take Spotlight Away from Grammy for the Night
On a week when their accomplishments are being celebrated, recording artists seized the opportunity to make some noise for themselves.

Led by Don Henley, Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks, the newly formed Recording Artists Coalition made a big splash with four huge, sold-out "Concerts for Artist’s Rights" in the L.A. area on the eve of the Grammys.

While politics were largely absent from the shows, the political agenda of the coalition was sell-served.

The Eagles headlined the Great Western Forum show, where a star-studded crowd, including Goldie Hawn, Anjelica Huston, Rita and Tom Hanks, paid up to $300 per seat, watched as Billy Joel, John Fogerty, Sheryl Crow, Steve Nicks and Tom Petty performed. Also in the audience, the RIAA’s Hilary Rosen as well as AOLTW’s Richard Parsons and Steve Case, as well as WMG’s Roger Ames on hand to make nice to the artists. The show reportedly put $1.5 in the RAC coffers.

At the Universal Amphitheatre, the Dixie Chicks top-billed a country-rock-flavored line-up which included Trisha Yearwood, Dwight Yoakam, Emmyulou Harris and Patty Griffith. Guests included legendary picker Earl Scruggs, who joined the Chicks for a rollicking version of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and Crow, who made her way across town after playing a set at the Forum. Yoakam thanked the crowd, who paid up to $250 a ticket, for "coming out and supporting the artists… We’re not trying to start a fire or nothin’, just trying to level the playing field."

Beck was the attraction at the Wiltern Theater show, described by one industry vet rapturously as "a once-in-a-lifetime experience," featuring performances by a movable line-up featuring Social D’s Mike Ness, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder (sporting a fresh new Travis Bickle-styled mohawk) and Mike McCready and Radiohead frontman Thom York. The highlight was apparently Beck, Ness and Vedder’s take on the Rolling Stones’ "Sweet Virginia." The top ticket was $50, gladly paid by Tom Cruise, among other celebs in the audience.

The Long Beach Arena show featured a punk all-star trio of Weezer, No Doubt and The Offspring, delighting a crowd who had paid up to $50 a ticket. The trio then announced they would donate all loose change collected from the mosh pit floor to the RAC fund.

The monies raised by the concerts will be used to support California State Senator Kevin Murray's Bill 1246, which strikes down the so-called "music industry exemption" to the California Labor Code Section 2855, otherwise known as the "seven-year statute," limiting employment contracts to no more than that length.

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