Various Artists

Toronto Rocks

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By the spring of 2003, a mysterious, deadly disease dubbed SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) was scaring the world. Cases of this contagious, severe form of pneumonia had been diagnosed in more than two dozen countries worldwide. Fear of SARS started to cripple tourism, especially in Canada. A special benefit concert featuring the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush, the Guess Who, Justin Timberlake, the Isley Brothers, and the Flaming Lips was held on July 30, 2003, at Toronto's Downsview Park to show people that SARS hysteria was unfounded and that the city was still a safe place to visit. More than 490,000 fans attended, making this show the largest ticketed single-day event in history. The 2004 DVD Toronto Rocks collects highlights from this 11-hour concert. Actors Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi lead the Have Love Will Travel Revue in performing oldies between the major acts. The Flaming Lips are joined on-stage during "Race for the Prize" and "Do You Realize?" by a bevy of people in costumes, and some bandmembers are similarly attired. The Isley Brothers tear through "Who's That Lady" (with a fiery guitar solo from Ernie Isley) and "Shout." Timberlake's "Senorita" is borderline embarrassing. (Artistically speaking, he should not be on the same planet as the rest of the headliners, let alone share a stage with them.) The Guess Who turn in sturdy performances of "American Woman" and "No Time." Rush are represented by "Limelight," "Freewill," and an exceptional medley of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" and their own "The Spirit of Radio." AC/DC perform great versions of "Back in Black" and "Thunderstruck." Of course, the Rolling Stones steal the show. "Start Me Up," "Ruby Tuesday," "Miss You" (with Timberlake!), "Rock Me Baby" (with AC/DC guitarists Angus Young and Malcolm Young), "Satisfaction," and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" thrill the crowd of half a million. (People throw objects at Timberlake during "Miss You," much to the anger of guitarist Keith Richards, who visibly threatens the troublemakers.) DVD extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes and a montage of opening performances by Sam Roberts, Kathleen Edwards, La Chicane, the Tea Party, Sass Jordan with Jeff Healey, and Blue Rodeo.

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