Album Reviews

Various Artists – Released: The Human Rights Concerts (Shout! Factory)

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The Human Rights Concerts Amnesty InternationalSince 1961, Amnesty International has been a beacon in the struggle for human rights throughout the world. Twenty-five years later, Amnesty’s most righteous of injustice-trouncing crusaders, most of whom are incidentally also some of the biggest rock stars of the day, would come together in shaping two decades of musical awareness on the organization’s behalf. Now, this entire series of Human Rights Concerts is available on a six-DVD and accompanying two-CD set.

From the inaugural “A Conspiracy of Hope” tour in 1986, well-represented by standouts like Peter Gabriel’s thought-provoking stab at apartheid in “Biko,” and U2’s fist-raising rally of “Pride (In The Name of Love),” to the 1998 “The Struggle Continues” tour that features an understated-yet-anthemic war cry in Bruce Springsteen’s acoustic rendition of “No Surrender,” the expansive set succeeds in its message of unity against the most unspeakable of soul-shattering violations against civil liberties worldwide.

These concerts produced some of the most interesting one-off collaborations in live music history – check out Joan Baez duet with The Neville Brothers on a progressive, world-music-themed cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry,” or Bob Geldof and Steven Van Zandt’s passionately delicate reading of Marley’s “Redemption Song.” Each performance makes you feel something deeper than your own reality.

Net proceeds from this collection will go towards continuing Amnesty’s mission; support a great cause by digging into some groundbreaking musical dissension.

– Mark Uricheck

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