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Fellow Travelers
by Aaron Presman
The Standard, Philadelphia, PA
Aug 2nd, 2000

PHILADELPHIA - Swaying to the tunes of the rock 'n' roll band Blues Traveler, hundreds of Republican convention attendees stayed up late Tuesday partying on the tab of upstart political portal Grassroots.com.

The convention's most eligible and ubiquitous bachelor, George P. Bush, the 24-year-old nephew of George W. Bush, introduced the band he said he first saw at an Austin concert almost 10 years ago.

As guests munched on fried chicken and downed free booze, the band ran through an hour-long set at the Electric Factory club in downtown Philly. Starting with a Hendrixesque, distortion-filled version of the national anthem played on harmonica, Blues Traveler kept the GOP crowd cheering with the old staples "Run Around" and "But Anyway."

Midway through the set, the mostly immobile Republican faithful began expressing themselves by chucking bumper stickers at Traveler lead man John Popper. The first, "No Internet taxes," prompted Popper to wonder how anyone could possibly conceive of taxing the Net. A second tossed sticker calling for the abolition of the IRS had Popper quipping, "This next song is about scrapping the IRS." It wasn't.

As the concert drew to a close, the group played a raucous cover of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," saying the tune was dedicated to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

VIPs, including George W.'s teenage daughters, watched from above in a cordoned balcony reserved for high rollers.

Earlier, while the warm-up band Hot Tomato was about to play, House Republican Whip Tom DeLay hopped up on stage and thanked the crowd for coming out. "This is how Republicans party," DeLay crowed, standing amid the band's three women lead singers outfitted in skimpy silver outfits, sunglasses and huge Afro wigs.