As benefits go, "Children Under Siege," a program supporting the children of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was a first-rate production. With an unusual lineup of artists and a strikingly effective multimedia presentation of music, visual projections, dance and poetry, the performance Thursday at the Greek Theatre reached well beyond the more typically chaotic, benefit-style shuttling of acts.
Presented on a stage decorated in an impressionistic setting of torn banners and scattered construction materials, the program ranged from the rock of Alan Parsons (making his live U.S. concert debut), Kenny Loggins, Dave Mason, Jon Anderson and Ambrosia to some surprisingly powerful New Age sounds from Kitaro, Yanni and newcomer Hisham.
Among the highlights, Loggins was especially energetic with the familiar "This Is It" and a moving reading of "Conviction of the Heart." Mason was at his best with a low-keyed rendition of "We Just Disagree," and David Benoit provided exquisite piano accompaniment for a brief sequence by the Aman Folk ensemble.
Regrettably, the fully packed program allowed time for only one song from Roberta Flack, a rare performance by Buffy Sainte-Marie of her classic "Up Where We Belong," and a hasty medley by songwriter David Foster and super session vocalist Warren Wiebe. Far too much time, however, was allocated to three long numbers by Mick Fleetwood's Blue Whale, a noisy, pumped-up bar band.