Sars-stock rocks gently in Toronto

AC/DC, Isley Brothers among benefit performers

TORONTO — It was bigger than Woodstock. And more polite.

Call it Sars-stock or Sarsapalooza, the Rolling Stones-headlined SARS benefit concert that drew close to half a million fans to an airport strip in North Toronto July 30 was the largest paid concert in North American history.

“I guess they want to show the world that if the Rolling Stones will play in Toronto, it can’t be all that bad,” said Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne.

The eclectic lineup included AC/DC, Rush, the Guess Who, the Isley Brothers and more than half a dozen others. The most incongruous moment of the evening was when Justin Timberlake joined Mick Jagger and the boys onstage for “Miss You.”

The show ran with the precision of a Swiss watch, with the majority of acts reeling off momentum-killing 15 minute sets. And lest anybody forget they were in Niceville, throughout the hot clear day fans repeatedly were exhorted to don sunscreen and a hat and to drink plenty of water.