Despite a well-publicized campaign to protest Arizona’s hated SB-1070 immigration law through a musician’s boycott, Elton John not only played there last week, he also had a blunt message for those who refuse.
Find out what Elton John had to say, and see what other artists are passing on the opportunity to make a political statement by clicking MORE.
Addressing an audience of 8,800 during his sold-out concert at the Tucson Arena on July 22, the 63-year old said:
“We are all very pleased to be playing in Arizona. I have read that some of the artists won’t come here. They are ****wits! Let’s face it: I still play in California, and as a gay man I have no legal rights whatsoever. So what’s the **** with these people?”
Elton is not exactly famous for toeing the line or responding to outside coercion – Last month he played a concert in Israel despite calls for a boycott after aid shipments did not reach its people.
“Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That’s what we do,” he told the crowd at the time. “We don’t cherry-pick our conscience.”
As for Arizona, the boycott – known as ‘The Sound Strike’ – has so far cost the state lucrative events by The Lilith Fair, Los Lobos, Hall and Oates and Pitbull, while Nine Inch Nails, Maroon 5, Kanye West, Sonic Youth, and Chris Rock all refuse to do work there.
But other artists are not so involved – Robert Plant has just played the Dodge Theater in Phoenix. Lady Gaga has a show at the US Airways Center on Saturday, and John Mayer is booked for the Valley in August.
In response to an injunction by lawyers representing the Federal government, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton gutted the widely despised law yesterday, just before it went into effect at midnight. But Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vowed to appeal, so this argument is not over yet.
But whose side are you on – Was Elton right to perform, or should Arizona go silent?