SOUND BITES Paul McCartney used the occasion of the Super Bowl to announce his North American tour. McCartney, who performed his song ”Freedom” during the pre-game show, sat in with the Fox commentators before the second half, praised U2‘s patriotic halftime set (which featured the names of the Sept. 11 victims projected onto a giant scrim as the band played ”MLK” and ”Where the Streets Have No Name”), and mentioned his plan to hit the long and winding road for the first time in almost a decade. (Then he sang an impromptu duet of ”A Hard Day’s Night” with Fox’s Terry Bradshaw, whose ’70s heyday with the Pittsburgh Steelers McCartney recalled fondly.)
The ”Drivin’ USA” tour will cover 14 American cities from California to New York (and one Canadian city) in April. Then he’ll tour Europe in May. Hope he leaves Bradshaw at home….
Joining previously announced Grammy show performers U2, Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews Band, and the unlikely collaboration of ‘N Sync and Nelly, will be the good ol’ boys and gals from the ”O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack, including Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley, Gillian Welch and ”Soggy Bottom Boys” Dan Tyminski and Pat Enright. The roots-music album, a top seller in 2001 that crept back into the Billboard top 10 last week, is nominated for album of the year, and three of its tracks are up for other awards at the Feb. 27 ceremony. Krauss is up for five trophies this year, including one for her ”O Brother” work.
REEL DEALS If you’re a star with an activist agenda, the place to go these days is Berlin. Last week, Tom Cruise was there, meeting with U.S. Ambassador Dan Coats to lobby him to press the German government to ease restrictions on Scientology, which Cruise and many others follow as a religion but which German authorities consider a con and whose adherents are barred from some government jobs there. Now, Richard Gere is also planning to press German lawmakers on a human rights issue: the Chinese repression of Tibet. Gere, a Buddhist and friend of the Dalai Lama, will testify before the German Reichstag on April 17.