The 2010 festival season was one of the quieter in recent memory, which is one of the reason Saturday afternoon's (October 30) "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington, D.C. was able to turn itself from a farcical three hour political gathering into one of the bigger musical events of the year. In addition to the great comedy bits care of hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, there were also top-shelf performances from the likes of the Roots (who served as the house band), Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, John Legend and Mavis Staples (the latter with an assist from Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy).
But the clear highlight of the afternoon was an elaborately choreographed sequence that featured a handful of musical legends all working toward a single payoff. At one point, Stewart welcomed Yusuf Islam (the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens) to the stage to perform his classic hit "Peace Train." But a few moments into the tune, Colbert interrupted and said he was uninterested in getting aboard any kind of "peace train" and that he preferred a different kind of train — a crazy train. With that, Ozzy Osbourne took the stage and busted into his definitive solo hit.
Not wanted to be outdone, Stewart returned to cut off Osbourne and let Islam resume his low-key protest anthem. They went back and forth like that for a few minutes until both Stewart and Colbert decided that there was one train that they could both agree on, and that was a "Love Train." Luckily, the O'Jays happened to be present as well, and they broke into "Love Train" for a segment topper that was both hilarious and musically satisfying.
What's more impressive? Just after he performed in Washington, D.C., Osbourne hopped on a plane and headed south to New Orleans, where he played a late set at the 2010 Voodoo Experience. Not a bad day's work for the metal legend — not bad at all.