First up is the Canadian problem. As a candidate, President Bush promised a “hands off” attitude when dealing with our frostbitten neighbors to the north. But even in the quietest moment the emergence of tours by Bryan Adams and Anne Murray, not to mention William Shatner starring in the westernization of The Iron Chef, has more than a few supporters rattled.

“UN inspection teams are for dreamers,” says one long-time Bush aide, “When you factor in the latest dates for acts like Barenaked Ladies and April Wine, you can see that many Americans are calling out for more than the usual sanctions against imported maple syrup and limits on off-shore hockey puck manufacturing. The country is demanding action, and the president is just going to have to give a little bit.”

But what kind of action? The traditional party line has always called for a free-market solution, but with Democrats insisting that new dates for Alicia Keys, Black 47 and Charlie Hunter be injected into the concert strata in order to prop up the U.S. concert economy, as well as 2002 dates for Jett Williams and Slightly Stoopid to ward off future inflation, many critics see the current administration’s lack of a live music agenda to be the crime of the century.

“Roadie tribunals and secret sound checks certainly have their merits,” says one leading Democrat. “But what about Social Security? Will our senior citizens be able to afford tickets for Britney Spears, Kurt Elling Quartet and John Scofield? And if so, will they have enough money left for parking fees, programs and $10 bottles of water? So much for the ‘locked box,’ concept, regardless of whatever logical song and dance the administration espouses.”

However, administration proponents cite the recent ticket service charge cut, as well as plans for amphitheatre vouchers and live music assistance from the private sector, as leading examples that George W. Bush is a “concert president,” and that the free market is strong enough to ensure tickets for Neil Diamond and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. In fact, some supporters even claim there will be enough cash left over for the morning after the show when the typical fan sits down to enjoy a traditional breakfast in America.

Is the country facing a concert recession? And if so, will the dates for Aerosmith and Creed be enough to placate both hawks and doves? While signals from the White House appear to be mixed, perhaps one should only look back upon the words of the political pundit known only as Supertramp, who wrote in the mid 1970s; “Crisis? What crisis?”