Folkies, Rockers Turn Out To Boost Bread & Roses

Organization that brings performers to hospitals and shelters turns 25 with star-studded benefit show.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Bread & Roses organization turns 25

this year. To celebrate its achievements, and raise capital for its

ongoing programs, a star-studded cast of folkies and rockers, including

Boz Scaggs, Joan

Baez, Bonnie Raitt,

Pete Seeger, Kris

Kristofferson and the Doobie

Brothers' Tom Johnston,

and comedians Robin Williams and Lily Tomlin, turned out for a showcase

at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House last week.

Bread & Roses, founded by folk singer Mimi Farina, Baez's sister, organizes concerts for people in a variety of institutions, such as convalescent homes, hospitals, AIDS facilities, shelters and prisons — "basically," as emcee Don "Father Guido Sarducci" Novello put it March 20, "anywhere they serve Jell-O."

(To view an image gallery of the event, click here.)

Highlights included Raitt's acoustic, finger-picked solo rendition of a song by Judy Roderick, Williams' ribald monologue and Scaggs' languid three-song set, including "Lowdown" (RealAudio excerpt), and ending with "My Funny Valentine," which he said he'd never done live before.

Other memorable moments included Baez's show-opener, the Phil Ochs song "There But for Fortune" (RealAudio excerpt), and, to open the second half, her hilarious imitation of Bob Dylan doing "Blowing in the Wind," complete with a floppy hat, shades and a scarf.

A 22-member vocal group, Vukani Mawethu, filled the stage for several numbers that led into an adaptation of "We Shall Overcome." At Seeger's invitation, they stayed onstage to back the incomparable folk legend and his grandson, Tao Rodriguez, in "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Well May Love Make the World Go Round," and "If I Had a Hammer" (RealAudio excerpt).

Seeger, now 80, led the crowd in a sing-along. His exhortations and inevitably contagious enthusiasm put a perfect cap on a night devoted to helping others. As the show's cast crowded on the stage, he led the ensemble through "Guantanamera."

Baez and Raitt shimmied at stage left, and as the song wound down, the performers hurled flowers into the audience. Raitt, in particular, showed off a pretty good pitching form.