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Red, White and Boom

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Red, White and Boom remains a peculiar institution -- an annual all-day festival that groups spectacularly disparate acts -- but in the past two years it has evolved, offering more than a gawk-worthy freak lineup. Last year, the event delivered Melissa Etheridge, a revitalized Bon Jovi and poised-for-stardom attractions Destiny's Child and Pink. 2001's edition is basically a summer rerun. It also relies heavily on a recently MIA '80s icon, with Billy Idol coming out of relative hiding (soundtrack contributions and Wedding Singer cameo notwithstanding) to unleash his snarl on the Kansas City crowd. Filling Etheridge's spot as an artist who once charged $75 or more for a local headlining gig is Ricky Martin, who will shake his bon-bon for the benefit of anyone who still cares. Jewel, a genuine diva and sometime actress who seems spectacularly miscast in the role of a radio-show performer, will try gamely to hide her disdain about the circumstances (perhaps unloading her aggression with onstage readings of inscrutable impromptu poems), while Mya's choreography and crooning should solidify one of the day's more captivating sets. Eden's Crush (pictured), 3LW and Dream top the list of soon-to-be stars; Eve 6 keeps the has-been spot warm for future occupant Nine Days; Uncle Kracker might rumble with Evan and Jaron after stealing their wuss-rock shtick with "Follow Me"; and a curious Lionel Richie will emerge to ludicrously inquire of a crowd filled with oblivious teens, "Is it me you're looking for?"

Silly scenarios, indeed, but Red, White and Boom still deserves credit for being the only Sandstone festival this year that does anything but offer mono-genre groups that preach to the converted.

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