Music at the Republican Convention

It was all Chris Christie could do to keep from using snippets of his hero Bruce Springsteen in his keynote address at the Republican National Convention Tuesday.

As it was, a signed guitar in his office (which he probably purchased) appeared in an introductory film and he dropped the title “Darkness at the End of Town” in his speech.

Music played a role at the convention, albeit an odd one (Christie’s entrance music, hilariously, was “I Want Candy”).

An obscure country artist, Lane Turner, sang something about blood, sweat and freedom. The returned to obscurity rock band 3 Doors Down topped Christie’s speech. “America’s Got Talent” winner Neal Boyd, an opera singer, did a terrible job on the inevitable Lee Greenwood “God Bless the U.S.A.” (lest you think “America’s Got Talent” winners can’t get jobs. But it might be killing two stones: Boyd’s a candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives).

C-SPAN viewers may know that the house band for the Republican convention is G.E. Smith, pictured above, the longtime band leader for “Saturday Night Live” who also played guitar in Bob Dylan’s band for more than a decade.

He mostly stuck to wedding band soul songs, with “Shout!” and the song that happens to be Michelle Obama’s stated favorite, “Signed, Sealed and Delivered.” “My Girl” played after Ann Romney read her speech and there were some selections that were ironically fitting: “Standing on Shakey Ground” to be sure, but also “I Want You to Want Me,” the Cheap Trick anthem that seemed to speak so shamelessly directly to independents and undecided: “I Want You to Want Me.”

Can’t fault Smith for taking a paying gig. But he hasn’t been sitting round, having finished a half dozen big shows in Roger Waters’ band doing “The Wall.” That, in face, may be where he got a taste for this kind of rhetoric. Hey teachers (unions), leave those kids alone!

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  1. John Wu
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Mr. Catlin has anything intelligent to say beyond these negative comments he so obviously pulled out of his nether regions. The music has a connection to the events at hand. His comments are only the embittered remarks of a prissy, narcissitic cynic and bear no connection to reality. I hope he’s not getting paid for this.

  2. Sally J
    Posted September 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Hey – Your music review is just a bit short. Not sure if you saw it all – most channels didn’t show all.
    The “house band” was excellent, as you said — and I thought that guy was from SNL! A lot of different styles – some really good jazz and blues.
    And performers like Danny Gokey (American Idol finalist) were fabulous.
    Thank you C-SPAN for showing everything.
    And of course, BeBe Winans singing America the Beautiful. Can’t get any better than that.