West, Lopez, Daughtry among Stars in Denver

DENVER - Never mind those stinging "celebrity" ads, or the rebuttal by Paris Hilton. Musicians, artists and Hollywood types are descending on Denver — and so what if Barack Obama doesn't need their star power?

He'll get it anyway.

Of course, many of the most high-profile parties and concerts planned for the four-day Democratic Convention are ostensibly set apart from Team Obama.

Even fellow Chicagoan Kanye West's performance Wednesday is for Bono's nonpartisan ONE Campaign, which plans another concert — though with Chris Daughtry instead of West — on the sidelines of the Republican gathering in St. Paul, Minn.

The key Democrat-sponsored concert was a welcoming event Sunday night at Denver's Red Rocks Amphitheatre, featuring Dave Matthews Band, Sugarland and Sheryl Crow.

On Saturday night, the Rock The Bells Tour brought hip-hop acts to Fiddler's Green south of town. In the lineup was Murs, who says in a song that he's "hoping that the world fall in love with Obama," and veteran rapper Nas, who in a new song with Young Jeezy lectures the Illinois senator.

"When thousands of peoples is riled up to see you, that could arouse your ego," Nas raps on "My President." "We got mouths to feed, though. Gotta stay true to who you are and where you came from. 'Cause at the top will be the same place you hang from."

The New York rapper closes his verse, though, with praise: "They gotta put your face on a $5,000 bill."

Here's the rundown of concerts and parties for the rest of the Denver convention.

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MONDAY

At the city's opera house, Rock The Vote hosts "Ballot Bash," the big party of the convention's first night. Performances were expected from Fall Out Boy, Jakob Dylan and Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo's rap-rock band NERD. Mr. Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon, will be DJing at the afterparty.

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TUESDAY

Grammy organizers set up a concert with rockers Everclear, Daughtry and the Denver band Flobots, who also performed at a Saturday night DNC party at the Elitch Gardens amusement park.

• Also downtown, the nonprofit Do Something hosts a party at a hotel-lounge with a set by Moby. Among planned attendees: Arianna Huffington, John Kerry and (random star alert!) Chevy Chase.

• "Etown," a long-running Boulder, Colo.-based radio variety show, will host performances from James Taylor, Ani DiFranco and David Crosby and Graham Nash.

• Singer Idina Menzel, best known as Elphaba from "Wicked," performs at another Rock The Vote party in Denver's LoDo district, with Ashanti in attendance.

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WEDNESDAY

By far the busiest day for performances and celebrities features Jennifer Lopez stopping by the Denver Art Museum to honor Marian Wright Edelman, Ben Affleck promoting "America's Second Harvest" at the Food Bank of the Rockies, and Rage Against the Machine raging against the machine at the Denver Coliseum.

• The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit group meant that engages the artist community in issues, sponsors a Black Eyed Peas concert at the Fillmore Auditorium, one of three performances Peas' frontman will.i.am will be doing in Denver.

• West's concert — sponsored by ONE and the Recording Industry Association of America — is at around the same time, and will attract at least as much attention, if only for the hip-hop star's unpredictability when it comes to politics.

• Also on tap: A Ralph Nader rally with Sean Penn and Val Kilmer set to speak. A separate indie rock lineup in support of Obama features the Silversun Pickups, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Nada Surf and the Cold War Kids.

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THURSDAY

The most prominent Obama celebrity backers — from Oprah to Kerry Washington — will be at Invesco Field for the candidate's big speech. Sideline events are minimal, though there's an afterparty sponsored by Google and Vanity Fair.


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